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Farming is in our blood here at Hinchliffe’s – after all, we’ve been doing it for almost a century now – and from a small idea, we’ve hatched a great business.
Since Allen Hinchliffe set up a butchers shop In Huddersfield in 1929, four generations of the same family have been committed to field-to-fork food, sustainability and animal welfare.
"Our business was established in the 1920s by Allen Hinchliffe, the father of Charles Robert Hinchliffe who still helps around the Netherton farm today. And we're proud to be a strong family business, known by many people in the area and further afield as purveyors of top quality meat."
Allen Hinchliffe was actually a plumber by trade at Hopkinson's in Huddersfield. He met a nurse, Betsy, they married and he bought a farm at Pole Moor. Allen and Betsy would deliver eggs locally in a horse and cart.
The couple later sold the farm and bought our first butcher's shop at Upperhead Row, Huddersfield, and lived in the flat above. Sadly Allen died in 1941, in his 40s, leaving Betsy and four children. She continued to run the shop during the war years with a huge help from her son Charles.
The business grew and at one time there were two shops in the town as well as a 'travelling shop' and a factory where the family packed meat and sold it to local shops in the Huddersfield area.
Our egg business – started as hobby by Allen’s son Charles Hinchliffe in Netherton in 1950 – has grown to sell every size egg and produce up to one million hens a year on 12 farms, supplying everyone from commercial egg producers to families looking for half a dozen chickens for the back garden.
The 1950s and 1960s
"We're famous for our eggs at Hinchliffe's and the egg-producing side of the business was started as a hobby by Charles Hinchliffe in Netherton in 1950, largely to supply the village butcher's shop with the freshest eggs possible."
The hobby went from strength to strength and developed into a huge business with the help of Charles' two sons Robert and Sam and sonin- law Leslie Hirst. So much so, that in the early 1960s Hinchliffe's egg production became the first independently controlled rearing unit in Great Britain.
What an achievement! Today, they sell every size of egg, from jumbo to small, as well as duck eggs. They produce up to one million hens a year on 12 farms, supplying everyone from commercial egg producers to families looking for half a dozen chickens to rear in their back garden.
In the early 70s, Charles made a momentous decision that helped make Hinchliffe's what it is today.
He decided to breed, rear and produce his own high quality cattle to supply the demand from his butchers shops. The shops were amalgamated and established as one on our current site at Netherton Moor Road.
And in 1974, Britain's first ever Farm Shop was born!
Today, as then, their customers go to them for award-winning top quality meat, sausages and pork pies coupled with a good local service from friendly staff. Hinchliffe's customers know and are reassured that their beef is reared and grazed in the area surrounding the site and that the eggs are always farm-fresh.
Over the decades, we've been proud to provide our customers with the very best products from free range cattle.
All our cattle are fed on grass when out on pasture and then on natural silage during winter months. We love and care for our animals for up to three years and we go to great lengths to ensure they are looked after properly.
Our cows don't go to market – it really is from our fields to your fork.
This approach to animal welfare combined with modern, responsible farming techniques shows in the quality of our meat. We produce wonderful meat from our pedigree herd of South Devons and other carefully selected breeds. And our traditional farming values extend to our own butchery where our team is honed in butchery skills that can only mean one thing: our customers will always get the very best.
The Great Fire
On July 5th 2010, Hinchliffe's Farm Shop, Butchery, Restaurant, Greenhouse and Offices were all destroyed when a fire ripped through the farm.
Six fire crews were initially called to the scene and this later increased to ten crews – around 100 firefighters – who tackled the height of the blaze.
It was a devastating fire which started in the shop and quickly spread to the restaurant. Luckily, they managed to save most of the animals on the site.
Back in Business
Hinchliffe Family were quick to get back to what they do best, and began selling fresh local groceries and eggs from a cattle box on the Netherton Farm site.
Determined to quickly serve all their loyal customers again, Hinchliffe's 'rose from the ashes' with a temporary marquee, which resurrected the Restaurant, Farm Shop and Butchers Counter.
Today they are trading from a much bigger temporary structure on the Netherton Farm site. But they don't expect to be there for too long, as plans move forward to build a permanent, purpose-built new home for the business. All in all, they are keen to continue with the growth of their family business and to support their local producers and the fantastic local community.
The Future's Bright
Thanks to all of our loyal customers we have some very exciting times ahead of us here at Hinchliffe's. With plans in place, for what promises to be a fantastic new build, we are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new Hinchliffe's, to experience our exciting new premises.
But it's not all change; we will continue to provide our customers with great local produce, fantastic Yorkshire Hospitality, and food prepared with a focus on great taste.
We have come a long way since 1929, but one thing's for sure, the continuing support and loyalty from our brilliant team of 'local' staff, and all our customers has seen Hinchliffe's grow from strength to strength.
So as we reflect on the last 83 memorable years, we look forward to what promises to be a very bright future.
Hinchliffe's Green Initiative
Did you know that we have our own artesian well water on the farm at Hinchliffe's?
It's pumped out of the ground used to water all our livestock and plants on the farm and for general cleaning purposes and to flush the toilets. This saves precious water - a resource which requires a lot of energy and effort to purify. Although drinkable it's actually quite hard water, which is unusual in an area noted for it's very soft water.
Therefore, we use good old tap water in the Farm Shop, Butcher's and Restaurant to ensure that our customers get Yorkshire's finest.
All our cardboard boxes (and there are a lot!) are flattened into bales for recycling, as is all our plastic.
Green (or Orange?) Cattle Food -
Our Zummo orange machine freshly squeezes oranges on the premises which we bottle and sell in our shop (and the The Old Farmhouse Restaurant). But a lot of oranges are needed to make a litre of juice so there's a lot of waste oranges left over at the end of the day. So we feed them to our cattle - and they love them.
There's a new brewery in the Holme Valley called "Summer Wine Brewery" (www.summerwinebrewery.co.uk) based in Honley, brewing some wonderful new beers. We will be selling them very soon, but in the meantime we have been able to help them out by taking away all their spent Malt and Hops (up to 800kg) and feeding it to our cattle. It's got excellent nutritional value and as all the alcohol gets left behind in the beer - they don't get squiffy! I don't think we'd cope with a herd of drunk cattle. It also saves the brewery having to pay to dispose of it and for the processing of it by waste management companies.
Carrot Boxes to Turkey Boxes
All year round we save our wholesale carrot boxes in preparation for Christmas. Then, rather than use a carrier bag to take home your Turkey in, we pop the bird in the box instead. Just another way we can try to save on packaging.
Bills into bedding?
Well most people would recycle, which we do with our cardboard boxes, but we have found another great use for waste office paper. After shredding the documents, we use the shredded paper as bedding for our chickens. Barn hens like somewhere comfortable to lay their eggs and what better than load of old bills and invoices as a green alternative to bedding.