Green’s of Pangbourne has scooped the ultimate accolade – Butcher’s Shop of The Year 2009. After a demanding assessment by a panel of independent judges, the family firm was presented with the accolade at a London reception attended by England rugby legend Gareth Chilcott.

The annual Shop of the Year competition is widely regarded as the Oscars of the butchery business. Only the best of the best reach the finals, and to win the title is greatly coveted. Green’s – run by three generations of the same family – is now officially the best butcher’s shop in the south of England.

Judges considered a wide range of criteria in reaching their decision, including evidence on the quality and traceability of fresh meat – much of which comes from local farms with the highest standards of animal husbandry – staff training, hygiene, and levels of customer service. They visited the shop in Whitchurch Road to study the displays of meat and Green’s extensive range of award-winning hand-made pies and pasties, 18 varieties of sausage, quiches and hams. They saw how Green’s bacon is dry-cured using a secret recipe. All in all the analysis took several months.

Green’s is run by master butcher Royston Hine and his son-in-law Philip Cripps, an experienced chef who worked with the famous French cookery maestro Paul Bocuse. Philip’s wife Caroline (nee Hine) is active in the business as are Royston’s siblings Susan and Robert Hine. Royston’s grandsons Christopher – already a champion sausage maker – and Michael are the latest to join the team.

Said Royston: “This award is the ultimate, we are bowled over to have won. The skill and dedication of our team, combined with the support and enthusiasm of many loyal customers, encouraged us to enter – now we are delighted to have fulfilled their confidence”.

Green’s is no stranger to competition success. Since Royston and Philip joined forces in 1990, regional, national and international trophies have rolled in for Green’s meat and meat products. So what is their secret? Said Philip: “Our meat and poultry comes from nearby farms which we have known for many years, where quality stock is naturally fed on grass and not on reprocessed animal feeds or hormones. We then prepare everything by hand the traditional way, ensuring that only the best meat reaches our customers whether they are buying a joint for Sunday, a turkey for Christmas, or a pie for a snack lunch”. With increased public concern over animal welfare and food-miles, Green’s local free-range pork has proved a real winner.

In recent months, Green’s have expanded their range of kitchen-ready dishes, which make a cost-effective alternative to eating out without the hassle of spending hours preparing something special.

Pictured: Royston (left) and Philip with their trophies.

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