As the demand to buy meat online grows, these Devon companies are raising the bar with meat boxes delivered full of the finest produce, writes Su Carroll
Local food businesses need all the support they can get at the moment, and everyone can do their bit by ordering their meat from local farmers, butchers and producers.
There are plenty of benefits to buying meat online from a local producer. You know exactly where your food is coming from and you also know it’s sustainable. You’re cutting down on food miles, keeping the money in the local economy and supporting businesses that are vital to the wellbeing of everyone who lives in Devon.
The answer lies in the soil here – with fruit and veg, meat and dairy products all benefiting from the natural advantages of life in this part of the world. Farming is an important part of life in the county – contributing £271 million to the local economy and creating around 12,600 jobs. It’s also part of the appeal for visitors who want to holiday here. A thriving agricultural sector supports the leisure and hospitality industry too.
In Devon, we have lots of hard-working farmers rearing beef cattle, sheep, chicken and pigs.
Here are some of the companies in Devon offering meat box delivery.
This family-run business has a farm shop in the South Hams, between Loddiswell and Kingsbridge, where the team has carried out its own butchering for more than 30 years. Meat comes from local farms with full traceability. It makes award-winning sausages and burgers (and an old-school beef dripping). Free delivery within 15 miles is available for orders over £50. You can also buy vegetables and pantry items.
Mark Bury and his family run Eversfield Organic from their farm at Bratton Clovelly near Okehampton. Their native herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle are fed on a 100% pasture diet and there are grass-fed sheep and organic pigs wandering in the farm’s woodland. Try pork’s answer to the ribeye – the collar steak – or some wild game. Free delivery is available in most of Devon (on orders over £40). Check the website for postcodes. You can also buy larder items, fruit and vegetables, and sustainable wild fish.
On the northern fringe of Dartmoor, Lovaton Farm is another family affair producing quality meat boxes with high standards of livestock and managed in a sustainable way. Native breeds such as Dexter crossed with Devon Ruby Red, Gloucester Old Spot and Lleyn sheep produce award-winning beef, pork and lamb.
Mixed meat boxes are available including a fortnightly box, plus there’s a delicious breakfast box with sausages, bacon, preserves, granola and coffee, along with apple juice from the farm.
The people behind the award-winning Veg in a Box company used their local knowledge and contacts to set up the Devon Meat Box Company in Clyst St Mary, near Exeter. It sells beef, pork and lamb supplied by local farmers, plus locally made sausages and pies from Chunk of Devon. One of the popular lines is the Pensioners Box containing a variety of meat and vegetables.
Gribble’s offers a click and collect service at its shops in South Devon and from Tordean Farm near Buckfastleigh. You can also order locally reared meat online, with a £12 delivery charge on a minimum order of £50.
The beef comes from cattle grazed on the edges of Dartmoor and is 28-day aged. The pork comes from a couple of pig farmers on the Kitley Estate near Yealmpton and the lamb is from the borders of Dartmoor. Mixed meat boxes include a selection suitable for slow cooking.
Tim and Jo Budden live in North Devon, between Dartmoor and Exmoor, where they sell meat boxes of their own cattle and sheep which are “born, bred and fed” on their organic farm. Permanent pasture offers native grasses and wild plants, and the family grow barley and peas which they also use as feed.
There’s a variety of mixed meat boxes including a BBQ box with burgers, sausages and kebabs, and there’s a range of organic ready meals online too. All the meat is butchered on the farm.
Peter and Henri Greig set up their business 30 years ago rearing properly free-range chicken, which would be good enough to feed their family. The business expanded to include other meat including their award-winning, grass-fed Ruby Red beef, free-roaming Saddleback pork, grass-fed lamb and duck.
For foodies ordering meat online, there’s a lovely section called ‘weird bits’ where you can order items such as beef or lamb stock bones, pigs' trotters and ears, chicken feet and all manner of offal. You can also buy items for the pantry and dairy products.
Orders are delivered by courier, with a £30 minimum spend.
More than five generations of the Carter family have farmed in the East Devon countryside. They treat their animals with respect and provide their pigs, beef cattle, sheep and chickens with a low-stress lifestyle and a natural diet, meeting the standards set down by the RSPCA Freedom Food and the Red Tractor Food Assurance schemes.
There’s a wide variety of meat boxes available, including marinated pork, and a brunch taster box with black pudding, sausages and bacon. Greendale beef, pork and lamb are all butchered on the farm in Farringdon near Exeter, and it produces bacon and sausages by traditional methods.
You can also order fish (from their own fleet), fruit and vegetables, and cheese. Free delivery on any orders over £75. Doorstep delivery (£4.95) for some EX postcodes (check the website).