Cheshire lad named best farm shop butcher

A nationwide competition has crowned its 2016 Farm Butcher of the Year champion. 

The contest, hosted by the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association (Farma), in partnership with AHDB Beef & Lamb, named Gareth Wood from Cheerbrook Farm Shop in Cheshire as its winner.

“I’m really proud to have won, especially considering how talented the other competitors were,” commented Wood. “My thanks to Andrew Shufflebotham and Simon Roberts, who have taught and guided me.”

Sarah Shufflebotham, of Cheerbrook Food, commended Wood on his success. “We are extremely proud of Gareth. He started with us as a Saturday boy when he was 14 and joined the Cheerbrook team full-time when he left school. We’ve watched him develop into an excellent butcher and it’s lovely to see his hard work rewarded – a well-deserved award.”

In order to win the title, Wood had one hour to take a lamb carcase, butcher it, and set up a full shop window under the watchful eye of the judges.

“This competition is designed to both celebrate the skills of the people behind the farm retail businesses and to provide those new to farm retailing with a chance to learn a few tricks of the trade,” commented Michael Mack of Savills, managing agent for Farma.

“Farm Shops spend a lot of time training and supporting their staff, and to have a winner of the competition coming up through the business from a boy highlights what can be achieved by believing in your team.”

Michael Richardson, from AHDB Beef & Lamb, praised Wood on his range of skills and innovation. “It is a time of great opportunity for independent butchers, but new ideas to keep customers happy are essential to make the most of this opportunity. That’s what won it for Gareth.”

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