The Handbook
The Handbook

I’ve become a virtual vegetarian during lockdown. It’s not that I don’t crave flesh with a Hannibal Lector-like lust, but with only a local minimart style shop within walking distance and an uninspiring choice of meats, most of which appear to be cling-film wrapped offal, I’ve decided to double down on the daal. Unless…

In these lockdown days it seems that anything half-decent has suddenly turned itself into a delivery item, from coffee to flowers to bread, and of course fresh meat is no exception to the rule. From field to fork via van, fresh meat delivery was never simpler. Lick your chops for these meat deliverers…

Coombe Farm Organic

Not just your standard meats and cuts, but everything the experienced cook might want to have on hand. Add organic bone broth and frozen goats hearts to your shopping basket and you quickly realise that Sainsbury’s has got nothing on Coombe Farm Organic.

The Somerset farm turned to delivering meat in 2015, boosting sustainability by effectively recycling their dairy herd as beef. And they’re incredibly successful at it.

Delivery: Minimum order £40, delivery £5

Farmison & Co

Farmison & Co take the same approach to meat as sommeliers do to wine, placing maximum emphasis on great taste. Specialising in heritage breeds, the meats are sourced from ancient herds and the result is sumptuous meats.

They ship their boxes (Essentials, Large Essentials or Family sizes) weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Alternatively, go a la carte and choose from their wide array.

Delivery: Next day, prices from £36.50 for a meat box (Essentials)

The Dorset Meat Company

Offering 100% grass-fed meat delivery from, you guessed it, Dorset (and, um, Wiltshire), the Dorset Meat Company brings together produce from around 20 farms, all specialising in ethically reared animals.

Choose from lamb, beef, goat, chicken, game and pork as well as cheeses in pre-assembled meat boxes or pick from a wide selection online.

Delivery: Free on orders over £75 and meat boxes start at £29.95

Primal Meats

Working across three farms, Primal Meats are passionate about animal welfare and sustainability. Their meats, beef, lamb, mutton and hogget, are 100% grass fed and organically reared. They’re also tasty.

Still shipping throughout COVID-19, though with a slightly limited stock, their meats all carry the “Pasture for life” logo, which offers reassurance as you browse their selection or choose a subscription box.

Delivery: Boxes start at £20 a month

Buy A

Ever fancied owning a cow? The common complaint among many is that meat is tricky to trace. A single McDonalds hamburger patty is estimated to contain over 100 different cows! At Buy A you invest in a share of one particular cow. Once the cow is 100% sold it’s sent to be non-halal slaughtered, aged for three weeks then packaged and delivered. You’ll know the cow’s number, the farmer and farm.

Choose a meat box and receive a selection of mince and steaks. A £99 box provides 28 meals for two people, meaning that the value is maximised as well.

Delivery: Free, a small premium box £59.95 (enough for 14 meals for two)

Donald Russell

When The Queen fires up the barby she’s not popping down to the local Spar for her burgers and sausages. The man she calls in is Donald Russell. Self-billed as ‘Scotland’s Finest Butcher’, the royal warrant holder also ships frozen meat to commoners throughout the country.

Taking bookings from mid-May, put an order in now for your post-lockdown barbecue.

Delivery: Free on orders over £40

Mac & Wild

A Handbook favourite in restaurant form has transmoggified into an online butcher in lockdown form. If you’re missing your venison haggis and all the hearty Scottish menu of Mac & Wild, then worry not.

Delivering straight from Scotland to the whole UK, Mac & Wild have got us covered. Whether you’re just buying a couple of steaks or family meat box we’re all over this as an interim, before we rush back to Mac & Wild to experience it cooked properly just as soon as we’re able.

Delivery: UK-wide, meat from £8.48 (meat boxes from £28.89)

Field & Flower

Field & Flower provide meat boxes of fresh meat and ethically caught fish. It’s been ten years in the making, founded by farmers James Flower and James Mansfield.

As well as meat they also provide a sous-vide range, prepared by chefs in Somerset before being slow-cooked in the sous-vide to lock in the flavour and moisture.

Delivery: £2.95

Piper’s Farm

A fifty acre Devon farm was the start of Piper’s Farm. Now extended to a cooperative of 25 farming families, the service offers customers next-day contactless delivery of some of the best meats the West Country has to offer.

Excitingly we hear they have just started taking bookings once more, so jump the queue and get involved now!

Delivery: Via DPD, minimum order of £30

And those currently not taking new customers, watch this space…

The Horned Beef Company

It’s nice at least when something’s sold out not because of COVID-19 but down to the fact that it’s just incredibly popular. The Horned Beef Company takes an en primeur approach to meat, following the lead of fine wine producers who give fine-wine customers the chance to buy before it’s bottled, the Horned Beef Company lets you buy its beef before it’s whatever the meat version of bottled is.

With limited releases just six times a year, sign up to their mailing list and watch this space intently!

Delivery: Sign up online for updates (six times a year)