Showcasing Local Produce: Buckwells of Southsea

At our Sky Dining events this summer, we are proud to be showcasing top local produce and in this new blog series, we’ll be speaking to a selection of the suppliers who have made this possible. First up is John Buckwell, co-founder of Buckwell’s butchers in Southsea.

How did Buckwells begin? Why did you decide to start your own business?

My background is in retail butchering in London up to management level then as a salesman in a national meat wholesale company supplying fresh and frozen meat to butchers throughout the south of England. At the age of 41, I decided to use all my previous experience and knowledge to start up on my own and had the opportunity to purchase the shop that we are still in now. After 30 years of trading, we are recognised as one of the best butchers in the country and our name has become recognised as a symbol of quality and innovation in Portsmouth and further afield.

How do you ensure your meat is top quality?

My experience and only using reputable suppliers that I can rely on to select the quality that I require.

Steph has chosen to use your South Downs lamb in her Sky Dining menu – what makes it so special?

Our lambs all come from the South of England benefitting from an outdoor life naturally grazing on the lowland pastures of both the North and South Downs. Many of these fields have mixtures of traditional herbs and grasses all of which improve meat flavour. Non-intensive sheep farming allows these species to persist whilst encouraging the diversity of wildlife and wild flowers that we all enjoy.

When you cook a roast dinner, what meat would you recommend people use? What’s your favourite?

If we have friends or family round for a Sunday roast we would always have an aged Rib-Eye of beef or for a dinner party it would be Racks of Lamb, French Trimmed.

What has been your greatest achievement at Buckwells?

Thriving as an independent business in a very competitive market with all major supermarkets in our local vicinity and also our numerous awards :- overall Supreme Champion at the Smithfield Awards, 2 Diamond Awards for best Christmas Product and best Kitchen Ready product, Diamond Award from Good Housekeeping Magazine and also Hampshire Sausage Champion amongst others.