Meat your maker: Life at the sharp end with the 120-year-old Lancashire butchers who are a cut above

Everything started with Sydney Green some 120 years ago.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:55 am
(From left) Local farmer Robert Critchley, David Green, and Skipton Auction Mart’s auctioneer Jeremy Eaton
(From left) Local farmer Robert Critchley, David Green, and Skipton Auction Mart’s auctioneer Jeremy Eaton

The founder of K&J Green Butchers, Sydney’s family business has certainly survived the test of time - four generations later, his great-grandson David is now at the helm of one of the North West most beloved local butcher’s.

“I started working in the shop when I was about 10 years old, really,” says David, now 41. “I was helping out from a really early age but I started working here properly as soon as I left school; it was just one of those things, really - I was always going to work in the family business just because I’d grown up with it all my life and, on top of that, I was always keen.

“From the very start, I really loved the work,” David adds. “It’s always different and it’s been great to get to know customers I’ve basically grown up with. We’ve got a great loyal base of customers and it’s getting to the point now where we’re getting second and third generations of people who have all come to us.

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Butcher David Green with the supreme champion beef carcase.

“We’ve had grandparents come along, mums and dads come along, and now their sons and daughters are coming along.”

With their original shop in Heskin, Chorley having been in the family from the very beginning, these days K&J Green Butchers is nevertheless very much a modern business which still keeps their tried-and-tested methods old-school.

Still dry-ageing their beef so as to ensure the highest quality possible, the company also makes a point of sourcing all their produce from local farmers with whom they have built up strong relationships over the decades.

“I think people appreciate the history and the fact that they can come in for advice when they’re cooking something,” explains David, who grew up barely a stone’s throw from the butcher’s original shop. “I always say, when someone doesn’t know how much of something they want, they can have a handful, a bagful, a pound, a kilo, or anything else they want.

David Green (right) with manager Jeanette Chadwick, left, and Louise Saile

“We can tailor things to people’s needs as opposed to them going to a big shop and getting pre-packaged,” he adds, with the store having stayed open during Covid to serve their local community. “That personal touch is really valuable and everything’s been really busy during Covid because we were classed as essential and managed to maintain supply chains.

“I literally know all my farmers, so I could see them personally and ask for bespoke spec,” continues David, with the company employing five people across its two branches. “They’d then go straight to the abattoir and then to me.

“There were no issues like what the supermarkets experienced. We also did twice-weekly deliveries for our more elderly customers.

“We tried to keep the majority of people coming into the shop socially distanced two at a time so that we could deliver to those who really needed it,” David explains. “I had to vet things - one woman rang up asking if we could deliver and said ‘I’ve got to go to Tesco, but I’ll be in after three’, so I said that if she could go to Tesco, she could come and queue here!

David with pictures of his family and receipts from customers in 1912

“We had to be a bit harsh, but it was all fair and it all worked really well. We were looking after the people who needed it.”

Keen to have the best product possible for his customers over Christmas, David bagged a title-winning Limousin-cross heifer from the Critchley family at Mercer Farm in Hutton prior to the festive period, paying £3,252 for the privilege of being able to sell championship-winning prime beef procured from Skipton Auction Mart. But the investment paid off.

“Buying locally means we can closely monitor quality, as well as ensuring full traceability and reduce food miles,” David says. “We’re also great believers in supporting our local agricultural communities and, in turn, the local economy.

“It’s a recipe for success that continues to prove extremely popular with our customers,” he adds.