We, as a nation, are all familiar with the local butcher. The phrase conjures up images of people in striped aprons wielding fearsome-looking utensils and adeptly cutting sections of meat.
Butchers started forming guilds in England as far back as 1272, and were a vital part of every community, and though recent years have seen a decrease in the prevalence of independent butchers due to the popularity of large chain supermarkets, there are communities who still put a high value on having a local butcher’s shop.
One such community can be found in Yoxall, Staffordshire. Yoxall is a village on the banks of the River Swarbourn, in between Burton on Trent and Lichfield, and boasted a population of 1,895 in 2011.
When A. Johnson & Son Butchers closed its doors in 2018, there was much consternation throughout the village, as the local business had been a staple of the area for many years. With its loss, it seemed as though Yoxall was going to lose a business that had made the village such a community-oriented place to live.
Enter Paul Shum.
A local Yoxall man, Paul had worked at Johnson’s Butchers for 20 years, and when they announced that they were closing, he took the opportunity to realise his dream of opening his own local business. He now runs it based on the tenets of providing service to the community, supporting other local businesses, and offering reasonably-priced, high quality food.
Paul understands the importance of family; not just his own, but of those in the community he lives in, and as such tries to keep his prices sensible in the interests of being able to cater to families who want to eat well at the same time as getting their value for money.
Paul Shum Family Butchers offers a Family Pack, which changes monthly, and includes cuts of meet and poultry, along with corresponding recipe cards on their website, which takes some of the effort out of the weekly meal planning, as well as making it more intuitive and affordable.
In addition to the meat that Paul offers, which is all locally sourced from companies such as Packington Pork and Packington Chickens, the Butchers also stocks vegetables, snacks, sauces and jams, all of which come from other local businesses in Needwood, Hamstall Ridware, Kings Bromley and Abbotts Bromley.
So, while it seems as though many local butchers are closing their doors due to the proliferation of large supermarket chains, we believe that the support of the local people and the high standards that they keep will ensure that Paul Shum Family Butchers will be a pillar of the community for many years to come.
Full Steam Pictures would like to say how much we enjoyed working with Paul and his team. We wish you every success for the future!
Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.