Barnard Castle butcher awarded national Q Guild membership
A County Durham butcher`s shop whose roots stretch back well over 100 years has been awarded membership of the national Butchers Q Guild.
William Peat Butchers in Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, joins an exclusive group of 120 award-winning independent butchers across the UK. The Q Guild brand is held aloft as a seal of excellence, with some of the highest quality butchers in the country figuring among its growing ranks.
Jim Higginson opened his first shop in Castle Bank, Tow Law, in 1978 and in the ensuing years expanded the company to the six outlets that today form Castle Bank Butchers.
Teesdale`s oldest butchers; the Peat family, were selling local meat as long ago as the late 19th Century. The Higginson family bought William Peat Butchers, as well as Marden Farm Shop in Barnard Castle, from Roger Peat in 1993, before moving the business to new premises closer to the town`s historic market place a few years later.
At the same time, they converted the farm shop to a delicatessen, selling pies, bread and cakes from their own bakery, along with both local and continental meats, and cheeses.
The Barnard Castle shop – it has nine employees, with 36 in total across all outlets – supplies award-winning meat and associated products to all other branches, as well as supplying some of the region`s best restaurants and pubs via its fleet of refrigerated delivery vans.
David Higginson, who rejoined his father`s business four years and helps run the Barnard Castle Shop, explained: `All the beef sold in our shops is sourced from local auction marts, which we attend in person and from where we buy only the very best young heifers from trusted farms.
`Our prime lambs come from Darlington and Northallerton Auction Marts and are again sourced from local farms, predominantly in County Durham and North Yorkshire, from where we also source the majority of our pork and poultry.
`Full traceability right back to the farm on all our meat is guaranteed and we take great pride in the fact that all of our meats are responsibly sourced and, wherever possible, from the areas surrounding our stores.`
William Peat Butchers has won multiple awards over the years for its products, including its bacon and ham, traditionally cured and air-dried in-house, burgers and grill sticks, home-made pies, sausages, black pudding and haggis.
Recent accolades include top-rated gold awards for its Ravenstonedale Reds Sausage at the English Winter Fair Butchers Product Competition and for Merguez Sausage – a Pork, Apple & Cider Sausage – in the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders` National Meat Product Competition.
The shop also achieved a BPEX gold awards windfall for Pork & Black Pudding Sausage, Farmhouse Sausage, Pork Pate, Pork Pie, Confit Pig Cheek Terrine and Dry Cured Middle Bacon. In addition, it was a dual winner in Great Taste 2013, described as the world`s most coveted blind-tasted food accreditation scheme, with Chef`s Special Black Pudding and Chicken Liver Pate.
David Higginson said: `We wanted to join the Q Guild not only to help us stand out from the competition, but also to further improve ourselves by drawing on the wealth of knowledge, ideas and inspiration within this elite group of butchers nationwide.
`We have a number of shops that would benefit from being in the Q Guild, so we are likely to consider more membership applications in the near future.`