An enterprising young couple have broken into an Appleby Bank and are plotting to establish a Butcher and Delicatessen.
Jennie and Steve Allison from Milburn have signed the lease on the redundant HSBC Bank in the middle of Appleby so they can expand their existing Low Howgill butchery business. Breaking into the bank, the Low Howgill duo are busy creating a modern retail premises that will showcase meat from the family farm, pies baked by Jenny and a larder of local provisions.
‘Low Howgill Traditional Meats’ was first established as a butchery five years ago by Jennie’s parents John and Jane Taylor who farm traditional British breeds at Low Howgill, Milburn. Initially they cut up farm reared meat for family and friends, but word of mouth spread and the business rapidly grew as customers demanded more of the traditional Shorthorn beef, pork and lamb they reared.
In 2012 the family started attending farmers markets and in 2013 Jennie’s husband Steve Allison became the full time butcher, making a stamp on the Low Howgill brand, creating their own range of meats, dry cured bacon and speciality sausages. His reputation for creating meat with a seasonal twist led to winning three awards at the 2014 British Sausage Week competition and they have also been voted North West Butcher of the Year as part of the Countryside Alliance ‘Rural Oscars’. Steve’s father - John Allison has been a huge support to the business, running his own butchers for 30 years he has passed down years of knowledge and is now working part time alongside his son.
Jennie is the creative cook in the family and set to developing the range of Low Howgill pies. Now the official Low Howgill Baker, she works with Steve to create pies for all seasons, brushing them with a touch of humour when they are named. As well as the Milburn Pasty, there’s the Howgill Hothead (named after Dad) and Badger Pie – a succulent blend of pork and Black Pudding – with no badgers harmed in the making!
Marrying the provenance of quality home reared meat with a range of home produced pies and a passion for the best in customer service has already proved to be a real recipe for success, so much so that ‘Low Howgill’ needed more manufacturing space and a permanent shop window.
In prime position, the Bank in Appleby is the perfect location and was the number one choice for Low Howgill’s first foray into retail. It has plenty of room at the back for a bakery, meat preparation and cold storage, allowing the family the luxury of leaving the beef to hang and mature at the farm’s existing facilities.
Work on the building is already underway, with the sills of the double window front already dropped over 30cm allowing Appleby shoppers to see what’s on offer inside. The plan is to retain much of the character and heritage of the building, whilst creating a modern interior that’s understated and welcoming. It will reflect the quality of the food on offer and a hint of the Low Howgill personality.
2015 is set to be an epic year for the ‘Low Howgill' family, brother Joe gets married just before the shop opens and Jennie has promised a giant Meat Pie Wedding Cake, then Mum and Dad are taking a step back, leaving the retail development to the next generation - Steve and Jennie, the family Butcher and Baker .
Eager to demonstrate their commitment to the local community Steve and Jennie Allison said “It’s forty years since my Dad started farming near Appleby and the family farm is core to our success, so too is the support we’ve had from our customers. There’s been a Low Howgill market stall every Saturday in Appleby for the past 4 years and each year our business has grown. It’s exciting to think we’ll have a permanent presence and are keen to ensure we work with as many local suppliers as possible right from day one. That’s why we’re using local designers and contractors to create the shop and will be working with as many local producers as possible to fill our larder.
“We know our customers want quality and provenance so now we can offer that six days a week. Hopefully we can introduce a new style of butchery to Appleby, one that offers a modern range of products that will get people excited about what they eat and where it comes from.
“As well as our own traditional meats and seasonal sausages, we’ll source local chicken too, making sure we can offer the best range of fresh meat possible. On the Deli we’ll have hot pies made fresh in the morning, plenty of cooked meats, pates, cheeses, olives, breads and cakes. Catering for lunch trade there’ll be sandwiches and hot drinks and for suppers we plan to have a range of kitchen ready products home grown in Cumbria.”
Aiming to become a destination food shop for visitors, Jennie is also sourcing other products like local jams and chutneys, fudge, chocolates and of course, Kendal Mint Cake.
Local Interior Designer Jane Sanderson is helping create the retail look and managing the progress of the project. Work on the shop is anticipated to take around eight weeks, with plans for opening later in August. Anyone wanting to find out more about the shop or range of products on offer can contact Jennie on 07761 794292 or Steve on 07799 668833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org