Pork, Cheese & Apples!
Stuart Minick of “Minick Butchers” is nothing if not an innovator, and in light of the theme for this year, and this quarter, I am starting with a blog post about him.
Our food elements for July, August and September are; cheese and pork or butchers in general, then sneaking in at the start of the season in September are apples, all of these foods of course go together so well. In Lancashire they have an expression “ apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze” or is it a hug? Anyway it links apples and cheese and of course pork with apple sauce… What more need I say.
Anyway back to Stuart Minick who fits in with all three categories – Innovation, Architecture and Design – his butchers shops are innovative and the design shows his brand. When I was a child growing up in St Andrews there were at least 4 butchers, but then suddenly, with the closure of Murray Mitchell’s shop, the last remaining butcher in St Andrews vanished. There were a combination of reasons at the time, two of which were the convenience of the supermarket and price.
But today, Stuart Minick has bucked that trend by just opening his fifth independent butchers shop in Anstruther in a premises which was formerly a deli “La petite epicerie” ( now opened in St. Andrews) and before that it was a butchers shop as well. When I was in there recently locals were coming in and reminiscing about Andersons as it was called. Stuart proudly showed me the original 1934 walk in chill from those days! Still going strong in all its wooden magnificence!
So why, when family owned butchers are closing, can Stuart open 5 shops in rural locations St. Andrews, Newport, Ladybank, Cupar and now Anstruther? His philosophy is simple. He give his butcher on site complete control of their shop, so that they can get to know their customers and can order accordingly and not just have to sell what a head office insists on. Then he also has close relationships with farmers so he can choose what he wants. Since the closure of the St. Andrews abattoir he has built a good relationship with the new small premises at Dowanfield farm, where farmer Bob Prentice can now slaughter sheep, and sends them to Stuart’s main shop in Ladybank all of three miles away for carcass preparation. Small scale, but large enough with 5 shops for purchasing economies. So he is supporting local skilled butchers providing a training for young apprentices and providing a local market for farmers and helping to make the Dowanfield premises viable.
So support your local butcher and if you are visiting Fife, Know that the man behind the counter is local, knows his meat and where it came from.
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