Hi, I’m Alice, I am 20 years old living in Norfolk and here is my day to day life working as a butcher. If you had asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing I would certainly not be saying studying agriculture and working as a butcher.
Due to lockdown and being sent home from college I was determined to get a job as I wanted to help out and have a roll within the pandemic. I was lucky enough to get a job just through asking my local butcher if I could help out as I noticed they were getting rather busy due to lockdown. Working one day a week turned into two, turned into three and before I knew it I was working full time five days a week as both myself and my boss realised I was pretty good at the job and the demand to buy local meat boomed.
Two years later and I’m pleased to say I’m still working at the same butcher’s and I can’t get over how much I’ve learnt. Between the seasons and the holidays, work varies. Christmas is crazy but so enjoyable making sausages, chipolatas, pigs in blankets and sausage rolls etc. Come to summer and I’m busy making skewers, kebabs, koftas, and a million and one different flavours of sausages and burgers.
Before any of that can be made the meat is needed, we are lucky enough to be able to purchase the majority of the carcasses from a local abattoir meaning most the meat we butcher and sell comes from Norfolk, reducing food miles to a minimum. Once ordered, the lambs come in whole, pigs in halves and beef in quarters. Then they are split and cut into their different joints such as legs, shoulders, steaks, chops etc and anything left goes into trim to make sausages and burgers. Absolutely, nothing goes to waste not even the offal which is minced into dog food.
My biggest achievement and enjoyment out of being a butcher is seeing the whole process of field to fork. During lockdown to keep myself occupied alongside working I decided for the first time ever with no agricultural background to buy some lambs to rear, butcher and sell. Every day I cared for my lambs ensuring they were getting the correct feed and nutrition to promote a positive daily live weight gain in order to produce a beautiful carcass at the end. At nine months old it was time to take them to the local abattoir, as sad as it was to see them go, I couldn’t wait to see if my hard work had paid off. Two days later they were delivered to the butchers for me to process, and I was over the moon with them both being scored R3H.
I was able to butcher the legs, shoulders, ribs, Barnsley chops, single chops, and ribs. Within a few days I had managed to sell all my lamb with so much positive support from so many people loving being able to see and understand the whole field to fork process as I was able to explain it all to them to help spread awareness of British agriculture and farming and the importance of buying local. A family Sunday roast couldn’t be any better than the amazing feeling of enjoying my own reared lamb.
Butchery hasn’t just shown me the art of cutting meat but the whole process that goes into providing customers with high quality and welfare meat from rearing, finishing, and processing livestock and the hard work that goes into it by the farmers, processors, and butchers. Let’s speak out more about the incredible work of farmers and butchers and let’s promote buying British. We live in an incredible country that truly can support itself with the highest quality and welfare produce. Let’s not lose that.
Please BACK BRITISH FOOD.