Butcher Simon Barker has rebranded the catering and wholesale business he runs from the fully EC-registered state-of-the-art meat production unit at Skipton Auction Mart.
It is now operating as Barkers Yorkshire Butchers after Mr Barker recently disposed of his retail interests when selling long-established Stanforth’s Butchers on Mill Bridge, Skipton, to long-time staff member Paul Shearer.
Mr Barker says the business is now firmly focussed on providing a bespoke butchery service to the trade, a journey that began some time ago and is now rapidly gaining momentum.
The lifelong butcher took over 100% control of Stanforths’ at the beginning of 2015 and reckons the rebranding provides a solid platform for further growth and diversification, notably for Barkers’ keynote pork supply arm.
“This has been the real success story. We source all our porkers from Yorkshire, producing all our own sausages, bacon and gammon in-house, both wet and dry-cured. Demand from our trade and catering customers has been phenomenal – and is growing all the time,” he said.
A good indication of soaring demand is illustrated by the fact that not too long ago the business was sourcing up to 60 pigs per week through long-time local supplier Ashford Brothers, who run a Red Tractor-assured farm in Bedale, supplemented by others from Wharfedale Farmers Auction Mart in Otley.
Simon commented: “We are now getting up to 90 pigs every week. We supply pre-packed Yorkshire bacon and gammon to pubs, restaurants, cafes and other catering businesses, along with farm shops and, increasingly, other retail butchers across the region.”
Like its pork, Barkers Yorkshire Butchers sources all its prime beef and lamb locally - right on the doorstep, in fact, through a long-standing relationship with Skipton Auction Mart. Many primestock acquisitions are also show prize winners.
Simon, who lives in Hampsthwaite, near Harrogate, explained: “Local supply and provenance remain key to our ethos. As well as helping to keep food miles to a minimum we are also supporting local farmers and, in turn, the local agricultural economy.”
He added: “While our trading heartlands are centred around Craven, the Yorkshire Dales, Wharfedale, Harrogate and over the border into north-east Lancashire, we would be prepared to spread the net further afield should demand warrant.
“We pack and label products to customers’ own specifications ready for retail sale. All deliveries are made in temperature-controlled vehicles and we also offer a bespoke butchery service for butchers, farm shops and farmers who have their own livestock or full carcasses, but don’t have the time to prepare them.”
The newly renamed business has now launched its own dedicated website - www.barkersyorkshirebutchers.co.uk
Meanwhile, Paul Shearer and his team will continue to run Stanforth’s as a traditional family butchers. A lifelong Skiptonian, he has a deep-rooted connection with the business, way back to when he was still a pupil at the town’s Aireville School in the 1980s when first undertaking work experience at the shop.
He then became Stanforth’s Saturday boy, taking up a full-time position at the shop when he left school and spending the next two-and-half years making pork pies – ever since 1930 the Mill Bridge shop has been held in high renown as The Celebrated Pork Pie Establishment.
A change of direction took Paul into the injection moulding industry with the former Plastic Spools in Skipton and while still working in the industry sector in Blackburn he returned part-time to Stanforths 13 years ago and has pursued this dual role ever since.
“You could say I have been making pork pies on and off all my life!” said Paul. The business will continue to source all its meat locally through Barkers Yorkshire Butchers.