Local Food Hero: Bringing home the bacon
PUBLISHED: 10:59 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:05 20 February 2013
Graham Adams and his wife Caroline own and run Lockey Farm Shop and Butchery at Arborfield, near Wokingham...
How long have you had the farm shop and butchery?
Caroline and I set up Lockey Farm around ten years ago, starting with 300 free-range egg laying chickens and about 50 pedigree Texel sheep. We have gradually built our business up to the present day where we have around 6,000 free-range egg laying chickens, around 180 commercial ewes and a small herd of Saddleback pigs. We continued to grow the direct farm sales progressing from the car boot to a brand new farm shop incorporating our own butcher's shop which opened in November 2007. We've never looked back.
How long have you had the farm shop and butchery?
What first made you go into business?
We where constantly being asked when, and if, we could open our own butcher's. We'd grown the farm shop and were selling eggs, potatoes, local jams and honey etc., but had not gone that next step into producing meat for sale, so opening the butchery seemed the next
Building the shop has really been a lifesaver for our sheep enterprise and, instead of getting rid of them, we are now investing in them again, increasing numbers and getting better stock.
The same can be said for our pig enterprise.
People are more informed about where their food comes from and how it is produced and more people are choosing to shop at independents like ourselves instead of the big multiples.
Tell us about your product.
We offer the full range of butchery over the counter employing Phil Scully, our master butcher, and Simon Newman. Lamb is all grass reared and offered in the traditional way, from joints for roasts to rack and crowns of lamb for something special. Beef is produced locally for us and again we can supply all joints as well as steaks. The beef is hung for a minimum of 21 days to ensure tenderness and a great tasting product. Pork is all from traditional Saddleback pigs known for slow maturing giving a great tasting product. We make all our own sausages, producing a differen flavours of each week, including our very own Lockey Farm Sausage whose recipe is a closely guarded secret and is believed to date back over 60 years. In the summer we offer a great line of BBQ foods including our own burgers and lamb kebabs.
As well as the butchery we have a large farm shop stocking fresh local bread, fruit and veg, local cheeses and milk, jams, pickles, honey produced from bees kept here on the farm, locally made ice-cream and lots more.
What's the philosophy behind it?
Quality, without doubt. We are only interested in offering a good quality product but at an affordable price.
What makes you different?
We are a family unit, not part of some big chain. We have friendly, helpful staff who are as enthusiastic as we are. We try to make shopping enjoyable again. A customer once told me how much she enjoyed the experience, trying new things. She said it didn't feel like a chore anymore.
Who are your customers?
Anyone who has an interest in good food.
Have you won any awards?
We have been nominated for the past
two years as a 'local food hero' on the UKTV Food Channel. We also won the 'Best Small Farm' competition under
200 acres from the Royal Forest Agricultural Association.
Do you have any plans to expand?
We hope to sell some local wines and beers and to start cooking our own range of ready meals using our own ingredients. Lastly, we plan to open a farm park where you will be able to come and spend time with different animals, such as pygmy goats and alpacas, as well as somewhere for children to play and perhaps somewhere to have a cup of tea.
Can you give us a recipe?
Beef with Stout. This is ideal for a slow cooker
Beef in Stout
- 1.5kg Chuck Steak or Shin of Beef, Cubed
- 250g Good quality home cured Bacon, small cubes
- 50g Butter
- 500g baby onions whole or sliced onion
- 50g plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 litre stout or if you prefer half stout and half good beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- sprig of thyme and few stalks of parsley
- 250g button mushrooms
- 250g flat Mushrooms sliced
- Salt and Pepper
Heat the butter in a frying pan and brown the bacon. Transfer to a casserole dish, in the same frying pan fry the onions till they are browned then put them in casserole dish. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour and again brown in the frying pan then transfer to the casserole dish. Use some of the stout to de glaze the frying pan using a wooden spatula to scrape any residue of and tip it all into the casserole dish. Pour in the rest of the stout adding some water if necessary to cover the meat. Add the herbs tied into a bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently.
Cook for about 2 ½ hours if using chuck steak or around 3 for shin of beef, basically until the meat is nice and tender. You can do this on the hob a slow cooker or in the oven. If it starts to get a little dry and the meat exposed add a little water to cover again. Fry off the mushrooms in a little butter until the juices start to run then add them and the juices to the casserole. Do this about an hour before the end of cooking.
Serve with a good helping of creamy mashed potato. Enjoy!