Squisito Butchers & Provisions are pleased to be voted Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards
'Local Food Hero of the Year 2014/15' Award Runner-Up!
Away from the hustle and bustle of town life Squisito have been quietly working
on our new shop in rural Northamptonshire just off the M6 near Rugby.
Coming from a village that lost all it's shops Squisito want to recreate
the community feeling of a farmers market with genuine artisan
produce from small producers where food is not a 'commodity'
or, in other words, a celebration of taste and an alternative to
For those of you who distrust supermarket claims about
you about Squisito's own accreditation system for our shop
and farmers market stall to answer the question many of you
have asked, "What's the speed limit sign on your labels for?"
Firstly, Squisito believe that
There are many food 'accreditation' systems out there like Red Tractor,
Organic and FARMA but ultimately what is better than being able to talk
to the person who made your lunch and know's what is in it because
they made it and chose the ingredients?
Locality is a much trumpeted feature of many farm shops and even
supermarket claims but the truth is that there is no substitute for
making your own produce. If you are a farmer who rears cattle or
poultry or has cows for dairy the facts are that you are not allowed to
slaughter your own beasts or sell your own milk at the farm gate except
in rare circumstances.
This means your lunch has to be 'processed' or 'made' by a 'secondary producer'
which is why Squisito decided to source our ingredients from people we know,
butcher our own meat and teach amateurs, smallholders and chefs like
Tom Croxford (now Northamptonshire 'Young Chef of the Year') how to
'produce' their own food from field to plate.
So, when Squisito choose our suppliers and other people's products for our
shop not only do Sara and Alex know the producer by first name, we
display the origin of the producer with their county flag and their mileage to
our shop. With non-UK produce we label with their country flag so in either
case you can see where it was made at a glance and read a bit of that product's
So, when we mean 'producer' or 'supplier', we don't mean a brand name or
'Mr T*%$co' but the name of the people who actually made the product you buy
from Squisito. Even Sara's homemade 'Lamborgini' sausage rolls or Alex's sausages
display the '32' food miles from our shop to Farmers Market in Birmingham since
they are made at our shop in Yelvertoft where the food miles are '0'.
Squisito apply the same ethic to 'foreign' produce like tea, coffee, olives and the
flour in our pasta so our labels show the country and speak of it's authenticity
since small producers the world over are just as threatened by big business as in
the Midlands. An alternative market with ethical 'retailers' is oxygen to these
artisans survival just as much as ours.
We think our 'speed limit symbol' or 'real food miles' sign is simple and clear statement and not one that can be applied to most 'branded' products where the name is the same in every language which often disguises an international system of unsavoury practices where food is reduced to a commodity and your health the lowest common denominator. In other words we see provenance as not just about locality but also quality, sustainability and artisan skill or tradition.
All of our produce is labelled for the 14 common allergens - celery, cereals
containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupins, milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts,
peanuts, sesame seeds, soya and sulphur dioxide. More importantly, what you
will find very little 'processed food' or what we call 'denatured food' - that is
food-just-for-profit where the ingredients are the lowest common denominator.
It is not for nothing that genuinely fresh ingredients need little labelling apart
from what variety it is and where it came from!
However, out in the commercial world of food-just-for-profit those evil
Confused? Politician speak? Neuro linguistic doublespeak (err, wossat?) Well, we'll explain because it wasn't clear to us until we read an article by Joanna Blythman in The Guardian magazine recently. It's a problem we are familiar with as food producers and 'retailers' since we buy ingredients and resell other producer's products.
Ultimately, Squisito believe that whether you want to make change happen in food and in farming or just your health and your waistband, you have to put your money where your mouth is and buy food that is just as good for your body as your community and the environment since
So, if you don't want your hard earned money to go into offshore accounts, tax dodges and marketing budgets we say don't eat food from who know's where and producers who support supermarket practices but visit Squisito and buy local produce or grow your own (which is why you also see seed packets for sale in our shop).
To read how a young couple with a toddler cut their food bill by £895 a year and improved their food quality and choice by using independent butchers and farmers markets near Oxford instead of Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Aldi click here.