Quality meat produce has stood the test of time

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By Western Morning News | Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 08:01

For more than two decades, he has retained the same quality, the same staff members and many of the same customers.

And Richard Dunning of Oinkers Farm Shop has no reason to change anything – while many butchers have come and gone, he has stood the test of time.

Mr Dunning is one of many business owners backing the Western Morning News Buy Local initiative to encourage people to purchase their food from local businesses.

His business at Longdown, near Exeter, established in 1992 as one of the first original farm shops in the area.

Now 21 years later, it has grown into a "full-blown" butchery selling a whole range of beef, lamb, pork, poultry, preserves and cheeses.

"Everything is locally-sourced from places such as Tiverton and Crediton. Over the years we've kept our original suppliers, and still use the same one today that we used when we opened. You can't compete with Westcountry produce," Mr Dunning said.

As the horsemeat scandal continues, disillusioned supermarket customers are fast-returning to local suppliers of meat.

Mr Dunning said: "Recently we've had quite a few new customers. Sometimes they are surprised we are cheaper than the supermarkets.

"Despite that, we have never reduced our quality and standards to meet industry prices. The industry has become more and more cut-throat. But we've been able to stand the test of time."

Mr Dunning wasn't particularly surprised when the horsemeat was discovered in beef products.

"The supermarkets have consistently pushed down prices for 'value' products and in the end something had to give," he said.

"A lot of people in the trade aren't surprised by the horsemeat scandal. It could possibly have been around a lot longer than most people think."

Throughout the years he has retained total control of the products he sells. His beef is mainly from Devon Cross Charolais cattle, hung in a cold store for a minimum of two weeks before cutting. This technique enhances the flavour and tenderness of the meat.

"In 21 years we've kept the same members of staff and many of the same customers. Our shop manager has been a butcher since he was aged 15. You just can't buy that level of experience. Some of our customers have been with us since the very first day we opened," he added.



  • Profile image for chrishighton

    I totally agree with this article, I am a Manager for this countries leading retailer and have worked in retail in that role for many years. I have used Hicks butchers in Exeter for many years and have never had a bad experience in all that time, they are friendly, knowledgable,helpul and above all damn good fun. They also find it quite amusing when the shop is full and a Manager from a large retailer calls in for his weekly meat order on his way home from work, invariabely still donning his name badge, he reckons i'm good for business. Joking aside though supporting the local businnesses and the economy has to be a way forward, it is only the conveinience of supermarkets that have dragged this away. It is sad that it takes a serious issue such as the horsemeat scandal for people to once again think outside the box and realise that it is actually more economical to use your butcher, baker and other businesses in your area to help maintain the economy and the status quo. Always meant to pop into oinkers but old habits die hard, as Keith Hicks and the boys look after me and my family very well.

    By chrishighton at 07:53 on 28/02/13

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