From a Suffolk farm to our restaurant
6th October 2017
Jeremy Thickitt supplies The Westleton Crown with the delicious steak and other beef dishes that you indulge in when dining with us. Jeremy had been brought up around a farming background, his Father kept cattle and brought a butchery in the village of Peasenhall. At the age of 15, Jeremy began butchering and from there on has continued to develop the business that his father began. Jeremy says “I enjoy looking after livestock and have such a passion for it. I became involved in farming through my family, many opportunities arose for me and I took them, now I have a farm and 4 butcheries”.
Together with Head Chef, James Finch, we visited Jeremy’s farm and Emmerdale farm shop in Darsham, to discover more about the local produce that he supplies to The Westleton Crown.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?
I have 40 years experience in the butchery profession and I am passionate about teaching our customers about the different cuts and joints we sell, especially the under-rated, economical cuts. I supply beef which has been slowly reared, grazed and raised at our farm to local consumers as well as selling it in 4 of my own butcher shops.
Is farming and butchery something you’ve always wanted to do?
I was brought up into a farming background, my father had a passion for it and so did I. I have also enjoyed looking after livestock. My father brought the butcher shop that I now run in Peasenhall and when I was 15 I started butchering. Since then I have continued to grow the business and love doing so.
Jeremy on his farm with the cattle
Can you tell us a bit about your farm and your livestock?
Our farm is in Darsham and is 190 acres, when I brought this farm I also brought our Emmerdale Farm Shop. We raise cattle on the farm and we have around 100-150 cattle at one time. We do not breed the cattle ourselves, I buy them when they are young age and raise them until they are ready. The cattle that we raise graze on the meadows by the river. On the farm, we also feel it is important to help with natural habitat, we grow a hectare crop of wild bird mix which provides feed for many small birds as well as a 1.5 hectare of pollen and nectar mix for bees.
Crop of wild bird mix
What beef breeds do you raise?
We have both traditional cattle breeds and continental cross cattle. The traditional cattle breeds that we have are Red Poll, Angus, Beef Short Horn and Hereford. The continual cross cattle that we have are mainly Limousin.
Do you grow the food yourself for the cattle?
Yes, we grow as much food as possible for the cattle on the farm, some of which is wheat barley and maize. I would say that 20% of the feed for the cattle comes from locally sourced places, while the rest is grown right here on the farm. I do of course ensure that the cattle are also getting all the minerals and supplements that they need.
Where are your butcher shops located, and can you tell us a bit about them?
Our first shop was J R Creasey in Peasenhall, this is the one that my Father brought 1967. In 1989, I purchased KW Clarke in Bramfield. I continued to grow my business and open Emmerdale Farm Shop and farm in Darsham in 2003. The most recent butcher shop, which I opened in 2010 is Rolfe in Stradbroke. Our butcheries, specialise in our own home-produced beef which has been slowly reared, grazing on our fields and marshes. We also stock locally reared pork, lamb, poultry and game.
Jeremy’s son, Richard, checking the gammon they smoke in their butcher shops
How long have you been supplying meat to The Westleton Crown?
I used to supply meat for The Westleton Crown when I first started butchering, which was a long time ago, much before The Westleton Crown was a part of Agellus Hotels. Overtime we stopped supplying their meat but soon after your current Head Chef, James returned to The Crown we started supplying him with our local produce.
Do you only supply you produce to local consumers?
Yes, we supply meat to a number of butchers in the area as well as other establishments.
Do you think you will continue to build your business?
I never expected my business to grow the way that it has, opportunities arose and I took them. I think if the right opportunity came along again I would probably take it, I always want to keep going forward.