What is an ‘ethical butcher’?
At the heart of everything we do is the belief that food production can, and should, be done in harmony with and for the benefit of our natural environment. Our farmers are custodians of our landscape and our farming heritage. The best of them are working to conserve, preserve and better their environment at the same time as producing the best quality and highest welfare food they possibly can.
Industrial scale factory farmed meat is simply not a viable option for our food future. We believe that is ethically unjustifiable, environmentally damaging and potentially detrimental to the health of our population. Our mission is to encourage people to think about what they’re eating, where and how it was farmed, and to appreciate the process that has accompanied its journey from field to plate. The offhand statement that we should all ‘eat less meat’ has become a cliché, but one that is nonetheless based in truth. At Garlic Wood we believe that meat can be produced in way that is ethical whilst continuing to support our crucially important local farming communities. We passionately believe in supporting farmers who share our beliefs and in helping to put ethical, high welfare farming at the heart of thriving local rural economies.
We can make a change to our food future if food retailers and consumers work together. As a butcher we promise to source and make available the best quality ethically produced meat so that our customers can buy from us in confidence; knowing that they are getting a high welfare product that has been produced to benefit the livestock, the farmer, the local rural economy, and our farmed environment.
Environmentally sensitive production
Our butchery and many of our partner farms are based in the South Downs. This beautiful landscape relies on a delicate balance between farming, tourism and conservation in order to remain sustainable. We want to be a part of the process of maintaining this balance by committing to support farmers who work for the benefit of the environment they farm. Responsible farming can be done with respect for livestock and in harmony with the landscape and its ecology whilst delivering crucial income and employment in local rural economies.
Small scale local production and direct relationships
We have direct relationships with the farmers we buy our meat from. We visit the farms and we talk with the farmers in order to understand the principles that underpin their approach to food production. We agree quantities, prices and delivery details directly with the farmer. We believe that a small-scale network of direct relationships allows us to keep the supply chain as short and transparent as possible. It allows us to be confident in the quality and sustainability of the meat we are selling.
Traditional and native breeds
In many cases our traditional breeds of livestock were bred specifically to make the most of the environment in which they were being farmed. Breeds developed in order to maximize grazing and overcome deficiencies in the terrain on which they were reared. They were slower growing and lower yielding than many of the modern breeds but they represent a sustainable harmony between landscape and livestock that we believe is important. We always aim to support farmers who work with our traditional breeds.
How it works
Our online shop is simple and convenient to use. Browse by category or if you're looking for inspiration try our range of filter suggestions - from 'low & slow' to 'roast' to 'everyday'. We offer national home-delivery or a convenient 'click & collect' service for our customers in Sussex...
We started Garlic Wood with our own free-range rare-breed pigs, and a small herd of conservation grazed cattle. We believe that meat can be produced ethically and in harmony with the needs of our environment. This fundamental commitment to quality, welfare and environmental balance informs how we select all the meat we sell at Garlic Wood...
Garlic Wood Butchery was started by our family in response to our passionate belief that food could, and should, be produced with the welfare of livestock and the environment at its heart. It's been a long, but rewarding, journey from the commuting treadmill to now working at the butcher's block...
Toby and his team at Garlic Wood Events serve award-winning food made from the best local produce for people to enjoy at weddings, parties, festivals and any other celebration you care to name. His shiny new website is coming soon so in the meantime email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your event...
Click & Collect or Free Delivery
All our produce is freshly prepared and packaged by our team of skilled butchers. After placing your order you can choose to have it delivered direct to your door or to 'click and collect' from one of our partner retailers. Both options are easy, convenient and make use of environmentally friendly woolcool packaging technology...
Please feel free to drop us a line if you'd like to ask any questions about what we do or if you'd like to order something extra special not listed on our website. We love to hear from our customers and we'll happily chat about farming, food and butchery all day.. so be warned!
This principle is at the core of our beliefs. Our fundamental belief is that a farming system where livestock cannot live their lives as free-range is not ethical and not sustainable. For us this is at the heart of everything. Our beef, lamb, pork, poultry and all game will have lived an outdoor life with freedom to move, feed and socialise naturally. In many cases this will mean year-round outdoor living – and in some cases it will mean outdoor living with day-to-day access to indoor shelter or access to dry winter shelter. At the pinnacle of this belief is our relationship with the pioneering Knepp Castle rewilding project where cattle, pigs and deer roam free across the estate year-round in natural family groups. This unique ‘wild range’ and ‘pasture-fed’ approach is the gold standard and we see it as a benchmark against which to measure all our producer relationships.
Grass-fed and pasture-fed
Our beef, lamb, mutton and venison will always be predominantly grass-fed. In many cases the systems are 100% grass-fed or 100% pasture-fed and this is the model to which we want to move as time progresses. Where farmers are supplementing grass in order to best care for livestock (e.g. our lamb farmer supplementary feeds ewes expecting twins and triplets in the last few weeks of pregnancy) we see this as acceptable within a sustainable system.
Tradition, heritage and quality
We want to promote and support the traditional art of ‘full carcass butchery’. Not only does this preserve the techniques and skills of the traditional artisan butcher it also promotes sustainability by allowing us to trace the produce we sell from field to fork. Nose to tail butchery reduces wastage and promotes a better understanding of the food we are buying and eating.
Underlying all of our ethical commitments is the belief that, ultimately, we should be selling the best quality food possible. We control all aspects of production – from butchery to sausage-making, bacon and gammon-curing right through to packaging and labelling. We want our customers to buy from Garlic Wood butchery with absolute confidence that they are getting the highest welfare and highest quality meat.