Meat Sourcing & Farming Systems


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.

Our Master Butchers work closely with a handful of passionate local beef farmers, buying cattle direct from the farm, the farmers deliver the cattle direct to the abattoir using their own transport so stress on the animals is reduced .

All of our six 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 six 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 L Skelton, Low House Farm, Dearham

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.


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.



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

Frank Birds guarantee that our supply is 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 Halls stock Free Range chicken and ducks  from Creedy Craver their welfare policies can be found here:


Our pigs are classed as ‘high welfare indoor’, and are sourced from three farms in North Yorkshire.  They live in groups, allowing them to socialise and move around freely, with one side of the barn being open to allow natural airflow and heaters to increase the temperature during the winter months.

Straw and other enrichment materials are used, ensuring they have comfortable bedding and encouraging rooting and foraging; natural pig behaviours. The pigs are also provided with wooden chews and toys, making sure that they are entertained, active and engaged.

Zero growth hormones are used in any of the pigs and antibiotic use is kept to an absolute minimum.


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 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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