Norfolk butcher saved from closure by local farming family

PUBLISHED: 16:30 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 15 April 2019

Sarah and Gerald Barnes with some of their red poll cows. Picture: M.Robinson

Sarah and Gerald Barnes with some of their red poll cows. Picture: M.Robinson

(c) M.Robinson Photography - 2014

An independent butchers shop near Norwich has been saved after being taken on by a local cattle farming family.

Paddocks Butchers will now be Farmer Barnes' Butchers. Picture: ArchantPaddocks Butchers will now be Farmer Barnes' Butchers. Picture: Archant

Paddocks Butchers in Hethersett closed a week ago, but less than a fortnight later will reopen as Farmer Barnes' Butchers.

The shop, formerly owned by Keith Charlish, will now be run by Sarah and Gerald Barnes, who farm a heard of red polls at Hall Farm in Long Stratton.

The Barnes family started their business 11 years ago with just two animals. They have now grown the heard to around 70 cows, and previously sold the aged meat at the gate of their premises.

Sarah Barnes said: “We set our original business up because we couldn't find good beef ourselves. We'd sourced pork and lamb, but couldn't find great tasting beef.

“We believe that beef has to be kept like a good red wine, so all of our meat is dry-aged from about 21 days to 28 days.”

“I love my red polls. They're looked after extensively and we make sure they have the best of everything,” she continued.

Mr Charlish will stay on as the butcher at the shop, having worked with the cattle farmers for a decade.

Mrs Barnes said: “We heard that this was coming up and it was getting harder to keep our customers satisfied because we were selling out very quickly. This just seemed to be the next logical step.”

Having been farmers themselves, the Barnes' are determined to treat their suppliers fairly.

Mrs Barnes said: “We want to keep it all really local and buy from the farm, giving the farmer a good price because we all know the farmers can get a bit hammered on price.”

She added: “The fact is it's about giving back. People think I'm bonkers because we could make more money by buying on the open market, but that's not the way I want to do it.”

The shop will also be stocked with lamb from Mrs Barnes's cousin Ruth Barnes, with talks taking place to bring in a Norfolk pork producer.

The shop will have a soft opening on Thursday, and will have a full launch day in the future.

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