Spring has finally sprung which means Easter is not far away for all of us! This is really the 'first event of the year' from the quieter times of January through to February, after all the festivities in December!
So, what does spring mean to a Butcher and the cuts of meat you find in the display. Firstly, spring lambs reach our counter and shelves, that's when you know the weather is starting to improve and the days get longer. Our spring lambs are sourced from Wantisden, from a gentleman named Tim Pratt, and along with the luscious green acres for them to roam and graze, they are also involved within the crop rotation. All the shrubbery left from harvesting is a great part to their diet! Another benefit of their involvement in the crop rotation is the fantastic natural fertilisation they create, aiding in the next round of planting and sowing of crops.
Spring also means our customers meal plans are changing, so inspiration is what they are looking for along with their dinner. After the months of 'hibernation foods' of casseroles, pot roasts and long and slow cooks, springtime leads to an opportunity to explore new flavours, cuts and products that are on display. So it's down to us to create some exciting, fresh products along with being able to supply the constant favourites customers crave. Continuing with lamb, customers always love to see the joints that still go to roast, along with some cutlets and leg steaks that can be marinated or dry rubbed to fire up those taste buds!
Another meat I tend to find that has an influx in spring in chicken, whether that is the base layer to a family favourite curry recipe, or those that dare to have a "salad" before the summer. I wouldn't class chicken as seasonal, as it's one of only a few products that is not seasonal in its supply and demand, another is steak, which everyone loves to take home no matter what is going on outside, also the only way I will join you with you a salad.
The longer slower roasting joints of beef are not a priority anymore, so the breakdown of beef and the cutting and processing adapts to the season too. The ever favourites of Topside and Silverside remain, along with cuts like the brisket which can be cooked nice and flat instead of being rolled and roasted. But the chuck, being one of those long and slow cuts becomes a vital part of creating some of the burgers, mince and meatballs you can enjoy!
In the springtime, pork is preparing, some classics like a chunky loin chop or pork belly strips are lovely things to have thie time of year, but it will be the summer when pork belly thrives, being such a great focal point towards some of the most magical flavoursthat are invented to support original flavours and textures in the pork, ones that only work with pork. Springtime is a new start to a lot of things, this can also be the case when visiting your butcher, allowing them the opportunit to showcase an array of cuts, joints and products that can fuel the new beginnings that awaits you, you might aswell do that on a full stomach too!