Why George Payne is a rare breeds champion
When it comes to serving up speciality and rare breeds meats, many in the industry could learn a lesson or two from butcher George Payne, who runs a small, but thriving shop on Tyneside.
For George is a true champion in his field, providing his customers with meat from locally and naturally reared traditional British and native breed cattle, sheep and pigs – and through field-tofork partnerships developed and cemented with local farmers over many years.
Organic premium beef from pedigree Dexters is particularly popular at the moment. “It has outstanding quality and tastes as beef used to taste. It comes in smaller family sized joints and cuts and cooks superbly because of the excellent marbling, and eats like a dream,” enthuses George.
Other prime beef cuts regularly available over the counter include British Shorthorn, Highlanders, Aberdeen Angus, Galloway and Luing beef from Scotland.
Organic lamb and pork comes is also regularly on the menu. Prime lamb offerings include a mix of both recognised and lesser known sheep breeds, among them Wensleydales, Herdwicks and Zwartbles, while porkers regularly on parade include Tamworth, British Lop, Saddleback, Gloucester Old Spot, British Lop and Middle Whites.
“We are always looking to provide something different, notably meat that cannot be bought in supermarkets. You really can taste the difference. How do we know? Our customers often comment on the quality and superb flavour of these traditional and native breeds,” says George.
In earlier years, George was closely involved with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and to this day shares its ethos to conserve and protect the UK’s rare and native breeds of farm animals from extinction. “The very fact that we sell their meat to an increasing band of customers helps ensure their survival,” he notes.
A traditional family butcher for almost four decades, George is this year celebrating his landmark 30th anniversary at his “village shop within a city” at Brunton Park, Gosforth, just north of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Over the years, the business has won countless industry awards and accolades for its products. George remains one of celebrity chef Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes,’ an honour gained because of his continuing commitment to sourcing and supplying rare and native breed meats. He is also a founder member and former regional and national chairman of the Butchers Q Guild.