In 2012 the European Commission finally accorded Protected Geographical Indication status to grass-fed beef and lamb from the South West of England after a lengthy campaign by livestock farmers.
PGI status recognises that such meat is in a class of its own: a product that is unique to the West Country where the climate, soil types and quality of grassland all contribute to its succulence, flavour and overall quality.
On the other hand, anyone who’s been brought up in the West Country – or lived here for any length of time – will already be well aware how special local beef is.
And we’re proud to say that we consider ours to be some of the finest you will find anywhere in the region. One hundred per cent of the beef sold through our shop is sourced locally, so there are no lengthy journeys to abattoirs – which can stress animals and affect the ultimate eating quality of the meat – and we always go for traditional native breeds such as Devon, Hereford, Galloway, Welsh Black and Aberdeen Angus. All our beef is traditionally hung to allow it to develop fuller flavours and to improve its eating quality.
There has been a trend towards eating more beef from continental breeds in recent years but meat from such animals tends to have coarser fibres and never comes up to the quality of native British breeds which have been improved by generations of experts and thus are perfectly matched to the nature of the land where they graze.
Local farmer Bob Hall is one of our main suppliers and has been for three decades. His cattle are raised down on the Somerset Levels and as well as grass are, like most cattle, fed dietary supplements. But even here we don’t rely on off-the-shelf products. Bob’s cattle get their own blend from Crediton Mill, produced to a precise formula which Bob and Malcolm’s father, Phil, have spent several years adjusting and perfecting. The results, we believe, speak for themselves.
Of course at busy times of the year we have to buy in extra supplies but here at Junction 24 we are exceptionally lucky in that the largest and most modern livestock market in southern England is right on our doorstep.
Originally designed and opened – in 2008 – to replace the outdated and overcrowded markets in Taunton and Highbridge Sedgemoor Auction Centre has proved hugely successful, trading not far short of 10,000 animals a week at the busiest times.
And the annual Sedgemoor Winter Fair held in December regularly surpasses itself in the standard of animals exhibited – many of which we are able to secure to ensure a really happy Christmas for our customers.
As always our aim is to provide exactly what our customers want, whether it’s prime cuts or stewing beef, or perhaps something a little more unusual. So if you don’t see what you are looking for on show in the display unit just ask – we can almost certainly provide it.