Lancashire Life - - Places To Visit -

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

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