Meat Sourcing & Farming Systems

Beef

All our beef is supplied from local beef suckler herds, the cattle are typically Limousin crosses, bred specifically for the quality of the beef (some supermarkets sell dairy bred beef which is inferior quality).  The cattle we buy are 18 months to 24 months old, mainly Heifers (females).  We prefer the heifers as they tend to be slower grown resulting in superior flavour and tenderness.

Cranstons Master Butcher and Beef Buyer Alan Brown works closely with a handful of passionate local beef farmers, buying cattle direct from the farm, the farmers deliver the cattle direct to the abbattoir using their own transport so stress on the animals is reduced .

All of our five main beef suppliers have worked with Cranstons for more than 10 years, these long term relationships mean we have complete control over the quality and we can personally vouch for the high welfare standards as we visit the farms regularly.

These five beef farmers supply Cranstons direct week in week out:

Mr M Dodgson, Spital Farm, Kendal

Mr D Dickinson, Brockwoodlees Farm, Canonbie

Mr R & Mrs G Dickinson, High Knipe Farm, Askham

Mr G & C Bell, Long Marton, Penrith

Mr F Robson, Hexham

Our beef is ‘Grass fed’ (but not 100% grass fed) as our cattle spend the majority of their lives outdoors on grass pasture. Calves initially suckle their mothers, then graze pasture alongside their mothers. Typically the cattle are brought inside spacious well ventilated sheds for the last few weeks of their lives to be ‘finished’ on a cereal and straw diet. The whole herd are also brought in during the deep winter months for their own comfort- northern winters can be cold, wet and harsh!

Cranstons butchers handle the whole beef carcass, hindquarters are matured for a minimum of 21 days guaranteeing tender beef with excellent flavour.

Lamb

We buy our lambs through three local auction marts (Penrith, Wigton and Hexham) which allows us to support scores of family farms local to each of our shops.

Typically the lambs we purchase are outdoor reared in the Cumbrian and Northumberland (for our Hexham shop) countryside, suckling their mothers initially, then weaning onto grass before being sold at auction typically at six months old.

Depending on the time of year, some of the lambs will be fed cereal  in the last few weeks of their lives to supplement their grass diet.

 

Pork

The vast majority of our Pork is bought from Orchard House Farm at Newbiggin four miles from Penrith. Father & Son Martin and Bill Hunter have worked with Cranstons since 1976 providing us with high quality pork.  The pigs are housed inside but have significantly more space than the legal welfare requirement.

The food miles are low as they take their own animals to Blackbrow Abattoir 22 miles away at Wigton, and back to Penrith.

We buy the females or Gilts exclusively as we find the meat to be more tender.

The pigs are fed on cereal (including soya). The Hunters only use antibiotics when medically necessary. (In the lowest 10% of antibiotic usage in the UK)

 

Chicken

We buy our standard chicken through Frank Bird Poultry of Langwathby, near our HQ in Penrith.

Frank Birds guarantee that our supply if from their Cumbrian farms.

The birds are indoor reared and fed on soya-based feed.

“Soya purchased for Frank Bird’s requirements is all responsibly sourced under the FEMAS scheme.   Responsible sourcing schemes require growers
to conform to criteria to protect the environment, use good agricultural practices, maintain good community relations, treat workers fairly and comply with local laws and land rights.’’ – Frank Bird Poultry

The company complies with the following red tractors assurance standards:

Poultry catching and transport standards version 4.1.

Meat processing scheme version 3.1.

Chicken standards broilers and poussin version 4.1

In addition to our standard chicken our Food Hall’s also stock free range chicken from Yorkshire farmers Soanes, their welfare policies can be found here https://soanespoultry.co.uk/we-care/animal-welfare 

 

How are the animals slaughtered? Is your meat halal?

Our beef, lamb and pork are slaughtered using non-halal methods. We use reputable local abattoirs which are strictly regulated to ensure high welfare standards.

Our main abattoir, Black Brow, at Wigton is family-run and we have a relationship with them spanning 25 years. We also use Jewitt’s in the North East for the animals raised by our Hexham farmers

Our supplier of poultry, Frank Bird, uses the industry standard slaughter technique, which is similar to the methods used in halal slaughter (without the ritualistic associations). The chickens are first stunned with electricity then decapitated. This is done in a dark environment as to not cause panic to the birds. This is the preferred method of around 80% of the poultry industry and we believe that this method is humane.

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