Free ranger

The oraganic argument.

"Despite the fact that sales of organic food in the UK have trebled over the past five years, I have never felt an urge, or rather a need, to tap into what some consider a volatile market. My loyalties lie with free-range produce.

Our ethos has always been to promote a product that has had sun on its back, the chance to use its natural outdoor instincts and can be medically treated without after affects - in other words, it is free-range.

Raising animals in a free-range environment tends to favour British rare breeds. They follow the cycle of the land. And aren't traditionally reared products what consumers now want? There is nothing that satisfies me more than rearing my own saddleback pigs and selling their meat to enthusiastic customers - our free-range sausages are our best seller.

My customers seem to be satisfied with a product that I can tell them is free-range and, whether it is lamb, beef, chicken or our own reared pork, the question of organic is rarely raised.

It is common knowledge that organic produce is subject to strict rules and regulations, but it is not common knowledge that some 70% of it sold in supermarkets is imported. So if people are concerned with buying British, organic may not be the answer.

It seems some consumers see organic as a status label - like Gucci groceries. And with numerous statutory organic bodies involved in the process, there is a designer price tag attached.

Stuart Higginson

Higginson's Butchers

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