Butcher backs Shop Local

BEING a butcher is in Alan Thurlow's blood.Born and bred in Colchester, he grew up in a house at the bottom of North Hill which also served as a butcher's shop.

BEING a butcher is in Alan Thurlow's blood.

Born and bred in Colchester, he grew up in a house at the bottom of North Hill which also served as a butcher's shop.

Nowadays, aged a sprightly 70, he is the manager of Frank Wright and Son butchers in Colchester.

The company has been running since the 1920s after being sent up by Mr Wright senior, before passing it on to his son who retired three years ago, selling it to Adrian Blake.

So with Mr Thurlow's lifetime's experience in the trade, it is hardly surprising customers get expert advice when they visit the Crouch Street shop.

With eight butchers and two more in training, there is plenty of knowledge about cooking meat in the right way and exactly the right cuts required for particular dishes.

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“We get a lot of younger people asking advice about what to cook and how to do it and we will help them in any way we can, with things like portion size, whereas in the supermarkets they can be selling tinned beans one day, then be on the meat counter the next.”

But, according to Mr Thurlow, the days of supermarkets being able to undercut the local butchers are a thing of the past.

He said: “Supermarkets are not cheap anymore. You get the odd leg of New Zealand lamb on offer but the days of everything being cheap are gone.”

“Over the years, the shop has built up a loyal customer base and it is now the granddaughters of the original customers who are coming in.

But, even with the loyal support, the message is clear.

“Use it, or lose it, it is that straight forward,” said Mr Thurlow, who says he is still learning the trade, even now.

Frank Wright and Son sources all its products locally and all the meat is slaughtered at nearby Great Leighs before it is hung on the premises.

Hams are cooked and cured on the premises and the shop also provides game birds during the shooting season.

Mr Thurlow collects the birds directly from the shoots, meaning they cannot be any fresher.

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