F E Richards of Crickhowell is a high class butchers offering quality local meats. Established for 55 years, Lee Naylor and his partner Charlene bought the thriving business three years ago in June 2014.
Lee, can you tell us about your passion for butchery and great meat?
That’s down to my grandfather, Les Davies, known locally as ‘Bacon’ – he was a slaughter man and I was raised surrounded by this industry from a very young age. At 16 I was offered an apprenticeship by Neil Powell, of H J Edwards, Abergavenny.
My vision of owning my own butchers shop came to reality with the help of family and friends. Our team comprises of me, with 24 years of experience, Paul with 30 years of experience, and Gareth with 10 years of experience; all of who were also fortunate to learn their trade with Neil Powell, and our young apprentice Ieuan Hughes.
The newest member of our team is Mark. He has previously been a chef in very high-standard restaurants, working under Michelin starred Chefs such as Marco Pierre White.
Mark works front of house and is a huge asset to us in offering advice on the best cuts of meat and cooking advice.
Where does your meat come from, and how important is this to you?
All our products are sourced locally. We buy our beef from a local farmer, John Jenkins of Talybont Farm who is another acquaintance of my grandfather.
Being brought up in a small community, buying locally and supporting small, local businesses is very important to me. In this day and age it’s very much ‘use or lose it’.
Can you tell us about your dry aging process?
Dry aging is a traditional way of aging beef, exposing naked beef to a carefully controlled environment of optimum temperature and humidity.
Our dry aging unit uses both traditional methods with modern technology using Himalayan rock salt to draw any moisture during the aging process to produce extraordinarily tender beef with an intense avour.
We pride ourselves on using locally sourced native breeds; mainly Welsh Black with some British White and Hereford. All are proudly displayed in our dry aging unit for our customers to see the aging process for themselves.
What cuts of meat are the most flavoursome?
My personal favourite cut is a sirloin steak from the rib end. You’ve got the best of both worlds with the meat of sirloin steak and the avoursome fat of ribeye.
Any cut of meat with a fatty content to it, such as a rib of beef or shoulder of lamb or pork, will all produce a delicious avour.
Do you have any specialities?
We make all our own sausages and burgers. All our sausages are made using orchard free-range pork, and our burgers are all made using PGI approved Welsh beef and Welsh lamb. We also offer home-cured bacon from orchard free-range pork, and our faggots are homemade.
We recently won awards in the Meat of Excellence Awards for our home-cured bacon, steak burgers, lamb & mint burgers and faggots along with a couple of our ready prepared meals we have on offer.
Since launching our range of ready prepared meals in January 2015 it has continued to thrive. We offer a wide selection of innovative products such as our award winning Smokin’ Dragon Breast, Pork Tenderloin Twist and one of our best sellers, Chilli Bomb.
They sound delicious; we’re hoping for a long hot summer – what meats would you recommend for the BBQ?
Sausages and burgers are always a must on the BBQ. We offer a wide range of avoured sausages, burgers and kebabs. We also offer a vast range of marinades and sauces that can be added to any meat on request.
For a change on the BBQ, steaks on the bone such as Tomahawk (rib-eye on the bone) and Porterhouse (sirloin on the bone) are rising in popularity.
Do you have any tips on preparing meat for cooking?
The main rule of meat preparation is to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. However, each cut of meat has its own techniques for the best results. Our team are always happy to advise on preparation and cooking when purchasing your meat.
That’s great to know, and lastly – what does the future hold for your business?
We currently stock a small range of delicatessen foods; Welsh cheeses & pâtés. In the future we’d love to expand and introduce a deli and charcuterie with the majority being our own produce.
FE Richards of Crickhowell
55 High Street, Crickhowell, Powys NP8 1BH
01873 810 459