THE MEAT-ING PLACE
Ask Tom Wood what he expects from Christmas in Blackburn Market and he answers with one word: ‘Bedlam.’
He means it in a good way. ‘Every year, it just gets busier and busier.’ Not surprising really as he runs the Tom Wood Artisan Butcher business in The Mall. The ground floor food market has a busy vibe most of the year, but footfall during the festival season goes off the scale.
Many head to his store for the top quality meat often from heritage breeds produced on the family farm. They are attracted by an eclectic mix of traditional joints and unusual and inventive cuts, including some from a special dry-ageing unit.
Tom’s profile as the former captain of the Team GB Butchery Team, competing around the world, means he has more than 40,000 followers on social media and a customer base for deliveries stretching from London and Scotland as well as across the North West.
Setting up his business in Blackburn means a return to his roots. Although he is originally from Whalley, his grandad has a business in the old Blackburn Market.
His father is also prominent in the meat, farming and livestock business.
‘I’m really happy to be in Blackburn,’ said the 40-year-old father of three daughters. ‘It’s a much bigger town that people think and there’s a lot going on. But when it comes to meat, people are very traditional although we often get people to try dishes that some think are new but are actually making a comeback – things like short ribs and osso bucco.’
Much of the business is done on line but Tom, who is also a skilled cook, loves being in the shop interacting with people. ‘I hope they can see the passion and insight I bring.’
So will there be some major new trends for Christmas feasts this year. ‘No,’ said Tom. ‘It’s going to be turkey!’
Artizan butcher Tom Wood