By Chandos Elletson, Editor
Online butcher Farmison takes the provenance of its meat, poultry and game very seriously. Game birds come from selected local shoots and the venison, or deer, come from a close relationship with The National Trust at Fountains Abbey and Studley Park, both nearby to the Farmison HQ in Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Development chef Jeff Baker, who has a star-studded chef background, revels in his role as head developer for Farmison.
“It’s a new world,” he told me on a recent visit to the site. “When I first joined the business in 2012 my job was to help source restaurant grade meat for the home cook. But the business has grown and changed since then. Nowadays I’m working on adding “saucepan ready” meals for the website as well as working on new cuts and new ideas for the butchery.
“Game is a big part of what we do and we take it as seriously. Venison has just gone live and we’re excited with our partnership with The National Trust. We are sourcing Fallow, Seka and Red Deer. We can’t skin on site here so one of our guys goes up to Studley or Fountains and does the skinning on-site there and then we get the carcasses to work on here.
“I do a 14 day age on the bone and then we break it down in a similar way to beef and use off-cuts and forequarter to make a venison and juniper sausage and a venison and bone marrow burger that is wonderfully juicy and comes out really well. Then there’s loins and steaks as well depending what you want to cook.”
It’s very easy to be impressed with the whole Farmison model and to see how the business is growing. The day I went to visit their new butchers shop on site in Ripon, North Yorkshire – called Cut by Farmison & Co – had been open for a couple of weeks. It was shiny and new with its cabinets filled with everything you could want and a butchery kitchen behind glass.
Front and centre was a glass case with whole partridge and a sign saying game was back on the menu.
“We would have loved to have had grouse on display and for sale but it’s been a poor season and there’s not enough about. So, we’ve now got partridge and are looking forward to the pheasant coming on stream in Mid-October as well as mallard and wood pigeon.
“The other thing we do is sell wild rabbits. I love this. We sell it as a whole rabbit though it is broken down into individual pieces but you buy it as a whole. I’m always keen to know what our customers are going to make with it! Are they going to make a blanquette? Or serve it with mustard like they eat it in France? It’s very popular and fairly consistent although the weather can dampen the availability especially up here.”