R.J. Balson & Son Blog

Read what others are saying about our award-winning English & Irish bangers and bacon, and other news about our specialty meat products. You can also subscribe to this news feed to stay up to date on our latest news and product promotions in the store.

VA schoolchildren learn about Bangers!

Posted by Oliver Balson on January 02 2012

We at Balson's love receiving positive responses from our customers -- this recent letter from a 7th grade literary teacher in Va especially lifted our spirits and "Mrs. P" gave us permission to share it....enjoy! The Balsons


Hello,

My carton of sausages was delivered to my classroom yesterday morning,
and my students (7th graders) swarmed around it.  How many questions
can twenty-four kids ask?? After they studied the picture on the
carton, pointed out that there was a discount code on one corner, and
guessed what the sausage looked like, they *begged* me to open it.
(That translates to kids getting my scissors and opening it for me!)
You should have been in the room.  Such surgeons!  Removing the
carton's protective shrink-wrap skin took almost three minutes--not a
scissor poke on the carton!  They peeled the epidermis away, slit one
piece of tape, and lifted the lid.

"They are white!  Is it chicken?"
"My daddy makes sausage, but his ain't that color.  How'd they do that Mrs. P?"
"Food City has bratwurst that color.  Does it taste the same as them?"
"Does this taste different from our sausage, Mrs. P?" Students are
passing the packages around at this point.
"Of course it's different," the surgeon answered for me, "or she
wouldn't have ordered this stuff."  In his most uncanny, beseeching
voice, he added, "I can call my granny and have her bring some
skillets and a hot plate--if you want me to."
"This is Mrs. P's Christmas," the mother hen girl points out. "Maybe
she wants to take them home and eat them all by herself.  She could
make these last a couple of months if she hides them in the freezer."
"If she give me some, my dad can figure out how to make them for her."

Well, the scrapbooks of my summer trip to England and Cornwall came
off the classroom bookshelf, the pictures of Tintagel and Launceston
were scrutinized.  Finally, they found pictures of various shops.
They found the picture of the butcher shop with the sausages
displayed.  Mr. Balson, school was a half-day because of the Christmas
holiday break, and I didn't get my wrap-up lesson on a book chapter
done because we were doing something much more important--talking
about the world and how everything not being the same is a good thing.

Apart from now having my wonderful bangers in my home freezer--with
exception of the three that are in an airtight container in the
fridge, I have to say it was pretty much a perfect day.  Yesterday
evening, I had a late tea of two traditional bangers, mashed potatoes,
and scrambled eggs.  For a short while, I was in Reading with my
friends enjoying the Balson sausages we got in Bridgport before
leaving England's southwest tip. (I had hiked to Merlin's Cave and the
Tintagel ruins using the coastal footpaths to get material for the
purpose of making Merlin and Arthur legends come alive in Southwest
Virginia.)  I'm off to the shops today to buy some mushrooms and
yellow finger potatoes.  We will be having what my family calls
Brinner (breakfast for dinner).  I'll give one package of traditional
bangers to my mother, who grew up in Bottisham/Cambridge before
meeting and marrying my father and moving to America.  One package
will be held in reserve for those illustrious students of
mine...because while I was eating my two bangers, I realized that
there is no way to describe how bangers taste...they have to be
experienced, savored.  And there is only one way to do that...fix a
full English breakfast for twenty-five kids (doing that in January).

I am so happy with my bangers...

Mr. Balson, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.


Thanks again,
Liz



Still time for New Years Deliveries!

Posted by Oliver Balson on December 26 2011

We hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas and Boxing Day!  Just a reminder, there is still time for New Years weekend deliveries!  ORDER DEADLINE FOR DELIVERY BY NEW YEARS weekend IS 9:00am ET TUESDAY, DEC. 27 -- All orders will deliver by FRIDAY, DEC. 30th.  Choose Balsons for your New Years Celebrations!  We would be honored to bring in 2012 with you!

Best,

The Balsons


Happy Christmas!

Posted by Oliver Balson on December 19 2011

 


From our family to yours, we truly hope you have a wonderful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

God bless, The Balsons 


"England's Oldest on NPR!"

Posted by Oliver Balson on December 08 2011

 With RJ Balson recently being honored as  "England's Oldest Family Business", a number of  Canadian and U.K. media sources have been so kind as to  cover the news with writeups and photos of the shop, etc.  Its all been exciting and a little surreal.  We at Balsons USA are especially proud of the mention on NPR's "Morning Edition" here in the USA.  If you missed it, you can listen here...

 http://www.npr.org/2011/11/04/142011728/englands-oldest-family-run-business-still-selling

We at Balsons thank you for your continued support and patronage-- each of our customers has contributed to our success for the past 25 generations...Cheers!



Not Just "England's Oldest"!

Posted by Oliver Balson on October 25 2011

As the Balson family has been continuously practicing the craft of butchery from at least the year 1535, for some time we have been known as "England's Oldest Family Butchers."  With new research from the Institute of Family Business, it has now been determined that RJ Balson & Son is now "England's Oldest family Business"!  We are honored with this distinction, and we're excited about the new research underway that could determine that we are the Oldest Butchers in all of Europe!   Here's the new articles from IFB:

http://www.campdenfb.com/article/uk-s-oldest-family-businesses-history-longevity

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/a-family-business-with-a-succession-plan-476-years/article2209163/

We're proud of being "England's Oldest" because longevity implies quality, and we take pride in all of the specialty meats that we produce, from our full shop in Bridport, Dorset with over thirty sausage varieties, puddings, gammon steaks, loins, pies,  etc. , to our expanding production in the U.S., where we are making Traditional pork bangers, back bacon, chipolatas, and soon-to-be Traditional beef bangers and black pudding!  We're the oldest, and we also produce some of the best British food in England and America!


In Loving Memory

Posted by Oliver Balson on October 17 2011

Friends of RJ Balson;

Just a few weeks ago, our beloved grandad and father and "patriarch" of RJ Balson & Son,  Don Balson, lost his battle with lung cancer and peacefully passed away while sleeping at age 88.  While Don was the face of RJ Balson's Butcher Shop in Bridport for many years and was a Master Butcher in his own right, for those close to him, he is best remembered for his warmth, his joy, his laughter and his love.  For those that had the pleasure to meet him in the shop, it was inevitable that they would leave with a smile on their face.   

Many of the current RJ Balson recipes are ones that Don learned when he was just a boy, having been passed down from his father, and we at Balsons USA were glad to that Don was able to be a part of the success of our U.S. endeavors.  We are indebted to him and hope that we can also continue the legacy that he continued.

Below you will find a wonderful article from the Bridport View with more about his beautiful life.  Thank you for reading. 

Best, Oliver (grandson) & Michael Balson (son), CO-Founders, RJBalson USA, Inc.

http://www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk/news_view/12968/7/1/bridport-tributes-paid-to-bridport-butcher )



24th August 2011

BRIDPORT: Tributes paid to Bridport Butcher

DON BALSON: April 9th 1923 – July 23rd 2011 - Died aged 88

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-loved Bridport Butcher who passed away last month.

For many years Don Balson has been the face of England’s oldest family butchers, R.J. Balson and Sons, who have been operating in Bridport since 1535. 

The popular master butcher lost his battle with lung cancer in July and family members this week said they had been overwhelmed by the support they have received since his death.

Don’s widow Joan has filled up three rooms of her house with cards, flowers and gifts she has received from well-wishers.

Don’s youngest child, Jane Boulay, said: “We’ve had piles and piles of cards, all with messages inside saying what an amazing man he was. He was a bit of a cheeky chappy, he used to speak to everybody and I think he’s a bit of a Bridport legend.” 

Having begun work for the family business as a child Don recalled that his first job of the day was always to catch the horse out in the field to start delivery.

The business has evolved since those early days but Don stayed involved right up until his death, struggling to keep away from the shop at times.

Don’s only break from behind the counter came during World War Two when he was called up to join the Navy.

Don served on H.M.S. Petard, the only ship to sink submarines from German, Italian and Japanese Navy’s and a vessel that played a vital role in recovering materials to help decode the German Enigma machine.

Don later put his naval experience to good use by becoming a scoutmaster at 1st West Bay Sea Scouts.

Don could also be regularly found in the seas of West Bay without a boat, either playing water polo, taking part in the Blackbuoy Cup race or having a refreshing Boxing Day swim.

His competitive streak also extends to dry land where he enjoyed a game of skittles with friends at the Boot Inn and turning out to play for the Bridport Thursday football team.

Don met his wife Joan shortly after the war at a drill hall dance, and in 1947 they were married. 

Joan said: “He’ll be remembered alright, he used to have a joke with the customers. Someone said she came in once and told Donald it was her grandfather’s birthday and the next minute Donald had gone inside and come out with a party popper, that’s what he was like.  

“We’ve had so much support since his death, we filled up one room with flowers and cards, we then went into the next room and now we’ve got three rooms full. I think he’d be amazed.”

Don is survived by his wife and their four children, Michael, Richard, Chris and Jane. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Richard Balson worked with his father in the family business for more than 40 years and will continue his father’s legacy as the face of Balson’s butchers. Speaking at his father’s funeral Richard said: “Thank you for everything, from bringing us into the world to the legacy you have left behind.” 





Balson's Shipping Upgraded!

Posted by Oliver Balson on October 10 2011

 We are pleased to announce that we've just contracted with UPS for all our online order shipping.  Starting Oct. 17, all of Balson's bangers and bacon shipments will be entrusted to UPS 2nd day Air.  Even better, this upgrade comes at no cost to our customer -- shipping to the continental 48 states will remain free of charge!  Our customers pay a small handling fee to cover shipping materials, but there is no tax or shipping charges.  For more info, visit our online store ( http://www.balsonbutchers.com/collections/store ) or our FAQ link ( http://www.balsonbutchers.com/pages/faqs ). 

Also, please visit and become a fan of our growing Facebook page -- "British Bangers and Bacon", where you can receive more updates and interact with other Balson Butchers fans.  ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/British-Bangers-and-Bacon/135839983268 ).  Rumor has it, we'll have to change the name of that in the future with our expanding offerings -- more to come soon!

Cheers, The Balsons


New Balsons Back Bacon Label – Sneak Peak!

Posted by Oliver Balson on October 04 2011

 

Here it is, our revamped back bacon label….  



Oliver Balson, President and Co-Founder of “Balsons USA”, says…”We are very pleased with the new back bacon label.  We hoped to design an attractive label while capturing the combined English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh traditions that our back bacon has come to symbolize for Ex-Pats here in the U.S., and we feel we’ve done so!”  Balson’s bacon will continue to be packed in the same 8oz retail packaging with the new label design being implemented mid-October 2011.

Follow our blog to catch the latest news from the Balsons...Cheers!


Bacon, Bangers, and Blogs!

Posted by Oliver Balson on October 04 2011

We’re pleased  to announce the launch of our “Balson Blog”, where you will now be able to access the latest news on products, pub and retail placements, upcoming promotionals, and everything else “Balson”!  This 2011 summer brought quite a few changes for the Balsons – for starters, we’ve relocated our U.S. offices to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.  We feel this will provide an excellent platform in the future for distribution to the many fine pubs and restaurants in the Carolinas and into the Southeast U.S.  Be sure to tell your favorite pubs down south about Balsons bangers and bacon. 

We’ve also revamped much of our website ( http://www.balsonbutchers.com )!  Be sure to check out our new “About Us” link ( http://www.balsonbutchers.com/pages/about ) which covers our history, recent regional awards from the U.K., a “mission statement” explaining why we do what we do, and select media articles and videos.  For pub and shop owners, we have also added a “Wholesale” link ( http://www.balsonbutchers.com/blogs/pub-retail-locations ), where you can find more information on purchasing bulk items to suit your needs.  Enjoy the pages, and remember, BUY BETTER, BUY BALSONS!