The Butcher’s Tale
How many food miles do you want your meat to have travelled before it reaches your plate? Support your local butcher, says David Lloyd, or you'll find this week's scare stories are just the beginning...
When Irish meat traders take meat from Polish suppliers to deliver to Northern Irish meat processors, to deliver to English readymeal makers, to sell on to British supermarkets to stock in your local Tesco Metro it, truly, is the end of days.
No wonder they’re using horse. The meat’s travelled so far I’m surprised they don’t use migrating swifts.
Of course, the easy answer is: use your local butcher. But where is he? He’s probably shut up shop long ago, to be replaced by a Tesco Metro. And so it goes on. Where is Liverpool’s commitment to food? Real, honest, local food? Our city centre is a food store desert: and now, with North Liverpool’s Project Jennifer, the blight is spreading.
Danny Trampnow’s family butchers has been serving the community for over 40 years from his landmark corner store on Scotland Road (and before that on Great Homer Street). He’s even served sausages to Cilla.
But, for the past ten years, project Jennifer’s £150 million regeneration of the neighbourhood has been looming over his shop.
The project, trumpeted by Mayor Anderson, will definitely bring life back to the Everton and Kirkdale communities. But at what cost? This year, after years of protracted delays and false-starts, the scheme will see the demolition of Danny’s family business. The last shop standing.
And Project Jennifer’s hub? A giant Sainsburys. Selling meat from Poland (cow, we’re assuming, optimistically).
“When a butchers closes down, they don’t relocate, they close,” he tells SevenStreets, confirming that, when the wrecking ball comes calling, Trampnow and Sons, one of Liverpool’s last family butchers, will be gone for good. “Schemes like this are just not built for local traders like me. Our days are up,” he says.
And what else will be in this 90,000sq foot of retail space, when it opens, sometime?
In a recent interview, developer St Modwen’s regional director Michelle Taylor told the Echo “We are looking to the likes of Boots, Argos, and WH Smith. It’s very much about convenience. People will look to this centre for their everyday needs.”
But not, apparently, local traders.
For Danny Trampnow, the project signals the inevitable endgame of a phenomenon that’s been played out, across the city, for the past 20 years.
“There used to be four butchers within sight of my shop,”he tells us, “no more. We’re the last trader on this side of the street.”
“I get my meat, as we always have done, from the Stanley Meat Market, on Prescot Road, but even that’s dead these days. Young shoppers have just got out of the habit of going to butchers. This week, I was the only butcher buying meat at the market,” he adds.
Not all shoppers, though, have given up on buying their meat from a local supplier.
Liverpool’s Polish community are still heading to Stanley Road – Liverpool’s only surviving meat market – and, as a result, the traders have adapted from selling to butchers, to selling direct.
“My supplier used to buy in 139 sides of pig a week, now he gets 29. But he gets most of his sales from his Polish customers,” Danny says.
And the Polish palette likes nothing better to a slowly boiled pig’s trotter, a casserole of pigs’ tails and a side of ear. Every last porcine corner is hungrily devoured. Why aren’t we doing as the Polish do, and buying local? How’s that for irony?
“The funny thing is that the meat market can make more on the bits they used to leave behind than the stuff they sell to us,” Dannny adds.
And where will Danny buy his meat from, when he closes his shop for good, sometime this spring?
“Anywhere but Sainsburys. It’s their drive for ever cheaper meat that’s led to the horse scandal. The only way you can be sure of what you eat is to eat local. But, around here, that’s getting harder every day.”
Liverpool needs to get serious about its support for real food, produced from our fertile local soils. Reared on our grass. And sold by independent traders. Why should we have to ‘make do’ with an 11th Tesco Metro (opening on Dale Street)? We deserve better. If just one of Liverpool’s huge empty buildings was given over to a Borough Market style space, the city would bounce back to health. But we need to play our part too…
Support your local butcher: 7 Great Local Butchers
208 Smithdown Road
A real, welcoming family butchers, with free home delivery, great Christmas hamper schemes and delicious English chili sausages.
The Crescent, West Kirby
Set in the heart of West Kirby’s town centre, minutes from the beach, A.I Roberts has been serving the busy riverside town since 1890. It’s the town’s oldest small business, and despite competition from massive supermarkets, has held its own for over a century. There’s friendly service and fresh produce (we recommend the delicious sausages), with a loyal local fanbase.
B Clarke & Family Butchers
136 Allerton Road, Allerton
Replete with the traditional aproned butcher outside (and, ironically, getting ticked off from the council for cluttering the pavement. Sigh), B Clarke is a great local butcher serving the south Liverpool meat-eating massive with locally sourced cuts of beef, and a great line in pork and mustard sausages, and marinated chops. Yum.
Adams and Sons
Fancy a bit of game? Oxton’s Adams and Sons is the place to go for a well hung pheasant, a loin of venison or a tightly packed haggis. Beef from small family run farms in Cheshire. At 110 years old, this is a family butchers as community cornerstone.
Edge and Sons,
New Chester Road
RSPCA Award winners for their ethical business standards, New Ferry’s indomitable Edge and Sons (main pic) is worth the trip through the tunnel. Locally (Barnston) raised long horn cattle, Belted Galloway and matured, grass-fed beef from all Wirral and Cheshire farms. Beef rarely tastes this good – and never does from a supermarket. Read all about their philosophy here
Liverpool city centre’s only independent butchers outside of St John’s Market, Richmond’s been serving city shoppers for generations, and continues to offer great value cuts of beef, pork, chicken.
And, of course, Danny Trampnow, 362 Scotland Road, Liverpool