Some of the best pork in southern England is being produced by a prize-winning butchers right on our doorstep.
Glovers’ Quality Meats won seven awards at the British Pig Executive South of England Roadshow, a contest for producers of pork products in southern England.
Apprentice Craig Davies, won a gold award in the Young Sausage Maker category for his old English sausage.
Mr Davies, 24, said: “It’s nice for my first time doing it. It boosts the old confidence.”
He has been working on the farm since he was 15, but was given the chance to try butchery after helping in the shop over Christmas.
“I wanted to know a different side to the animal,” he said, “I work with them from lambing, to making it grow and I pick the lambs for slaughter. It’s nice to finally see where it goes.”
The butcher’s opened at Hartley Bottom Farm, Longfield, in December 1998 when the butcher shop in the nearby village of New Ash Green closed.
Farmer Roy Glover said: “We are delighted with these awards which reward the skill and dedication of our butcher Dave Costin who has been with us for almost nine years now.
“They are also testament to the high quality of the pork raised on our farms under the Red Tractor assurance scheme.
“We are very proud that our apprentice butcher, Craig, also won gold with his entry into the Young Sausage Maker category.
“We are delighted to have a young person taking such an interest in learning the butchery trade alongside our experienced butchers who are happy to pass on their skills to him.”
Mr Costin, 51, has been working at the butcher’s for nearly 10 years and is proud of their homegrown produce, which is “made with care”.
The beef, lamb and pork all comes from the farm and the chickens are all locally sourced.
“It’s all a constant flow, from farm to fork,” he said, “Our customers are very appreciative of what we do. It’s nice to produce a good product.
“We stick to a recipe. It’s like when you get a good sponge, you stick to that recipe week in, week out and then the flavour and consistency stays the same week in and week out.”
Mr Glover said that times had come full circle, and people and supermarkets were becoming more aware of the traceability of their food. The butcher supplies 20 primary schools with fresh meats.
He said: “That’s why people want to get close to where the animals are reared.
“The mince especially, they like to come in the shop, they like to see the mince being minced.”
The Glovers moved to the farm in Hartley Bottom Road in Longfield in 1913 and mainly bred dairy cattle. Mr Glover made the decision to stop dairy farming in 2003 and focus on butchery.
The farm now has 200 cattle, 300 ewes and 30 sows. Three local farmers supply the Glovers with the calves.