I had a little chat yesterday with affable Joe Mews, the butcher now running Allendale Butchers, in Kirton House next to the Allendale Co-op.
Joe kicked off the New Year in fine fettle by keeping Allendale Butchers open, and he’s ably helped by assistant John Brown. The butcher shop has been open, with a few interludes, consistently over the past thirty years, so there’s clearly a demand, but just how much custom can a little village like Allendale offer? Enough to pay the staff and make a reasonable profit?
It all depends on the support, in a rural area. Joe tells me that the meat is still all locally sourced: lamb, pork and beef, and the pies for sale are all home-made. Lunches might include pulled pork or beef, alternating.
More than that, he’s quite proud, and fairly so, about the hours he’s open. Every working day at 6:30am the shop is ready to sell to the early-rising workers thinking of their bait-box for the day ahead, as they get ready to head off to jobs throughout the valleys. And each working day the shop is open until 4:00pm, except for Saturday when it closes at noon. Sundays it’s closed.
I began to reminisce with Joe about my father, and his father before him, in their own butcher trade back in Welland, Ontario, Canada, and their 4:30am starts in the weekly Farmers’ Market, but I stopped as soon as I saw his eyes glaze over and besides, a useful customer had just walked in [whew!]
Folks I’ve talked with are delighted that the butcher is open as usual, serving lunch-type things and keeping local people happy. And that delight translates into another component of a vibrant village — long may it continue, even if the shades of Vegan-uary are making inroads on people’s diets for the time being.