Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid November Markets

We are having the most delightful Spring! There's been a few hot and muggy days, but on the whole the weather has been quite pleasant. Usually it is so hot and muggy that it's hard to focus on anything work related. The days are fairly nice and the nights can even get too cool! It bodes well for a good summer ahead. We've had good amounts of rain - not too much, but enough to fill our dams and keep the grass growing madly. It does help that we look after our country - some areas of Queensland that we drive through have very short grass, so while it's green when it rains, there's no body in it for it to last and because it's short, most of the rain would run off. We would have good feed even if it didn't rain again for a month or so.

This weekend finds us once again at the Yeppoon and Rockhampton Markets, as well as Gladstone. We will have beef, pork, lamb and goat again this time. What did you all think of the lamb last time? Previously we were selling mutton and then lamb/hogget. For those that don't know, hogget is lamb that is approx 1 year old, but has started to get adult teeth. When they still have their milk teeth, they are called lamb. Last market it was proper lamb - Spring lamb we are calling it. They are only about 6 months old. This is what we'll be selling for the next little while, and if we sell any mutton we will let you know at the time.

This years goats are almost finished - I think we only have one more left after this market, and we'll only be bringing one in this time, so Yeppoon will get first crack at it. Last market we held it over for Rocky.

We are once again looking for a farm hand to work with us. If you know of anyone that would like to learn about food farming and regenerative agriculture, please tell them to get in touch with me. It could be a good job for someone over the school holidays too - any year 12 students looking for some work before they start Uni? The position is live in and the food is pretty good! Resumes can be sent to this email address - dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

The Frequent Free Rangers Subscription is going very well with a few more people joining each time. If you've thought about joining but want to know more, just catch up with me at the markets or send me an email. If you are a FFR subscriber and would like to leave a testimonial in the comments, that would be fantastic.

Cheers,
Lucy


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Rain, Grass and Markets

Last post I asked for a bit more rain......well we got it. We have had some really lovely rain - not as much as some, but plenty for us! The place is looking so green and the grass is just growing so well in this heat.
This is some of the new development and has only had pigs in it for a while. It was originally fairly lightly grassed, but has come back a richer green colour.

Leauceana looking very lush - this is what makes our beef tasty and tender.

Our original pig farm was on approximately 18 hectares and surrounded our house. It comprised 21 separate paddocks with some smaller paddocks that we used as farrowing paddocks. The external fencing is ring lock and the internal fencing is electric.

Last year we underwent a significant development program and set up a whole new area for pigs. Pigs are very harsh on the land, mainly around their watering points and wallows. They also deposit an incredible about of poo. This is fantastic fertiliser and to make the best use of this, we need to give the paddocks a spell and the graze other animals in them.

One particular section has had goats and sheep in for the last few weeks before it rained. We were running very low on grass and were madly trying to finish a new section of ring lock fencing to move these animals into, so we had them in here as there was timber that we could cut down to feed them on.  The internal electric fence had been turned off and the goats soon knocked the wires off the insulators etc, so we decided to pull out the internal fencing - we've called it un-fencing.

We may stick rake this paddock as it looks a little untidy, and then plant some sort of forage crop. This will use up some of the fertility that has built up over the years, and also even out some of the bare areas.  We'll gradually do this with all the old pig paddocks.

Pigs are quite harsh on country - they need to have a wallow and they take a long time to recover.


We will leave strainer posts in, just take out the steel posts and wire and if we decide to run pigs back in there in about 4 or 5 years, we can just redo the electric fencing.

Some fences yet to be pulled out. You can see why we need to renovate the paddocks - there's a few bare areas.

Some new wearers just put into a new paddock. We keep them in a large pen for about 1-2 weeks and then let them out into the paddock proper. They were very excited to see this grass!

Before I finish up this post, I must remind you that we have the markets this weekend in:
  • Yeppoon - Community Markets at the Showgrounds 
  • Rockhampton - Kern Arcade Carpark Markets 
We will have Pastured Pork, Lovely free range Lamb, Gorgeous grassfed (and finished) Goat (Rocky only) and Bush Friendly Beef.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rain...."but please sir may I have some more?"

The sheep were very happy to get some rain recently. We have been rotating them around some of our paddocks, but because they require different fencing, we were running out of grass and had to feed them (and the goats) hay. They've now got a nice green pick, which is just as well as we have also been doing more fencing to give them some more space, but haven't finished it yet!




We ended up with about 70mm. All of it soaked in, there was very little run off. One of the advantages of regenerative farming is that because you try and maintain a good ground cover of pasture, the rain tends to soak in rather than run off. This means that you get to hold onto the moisture and it also means that there is less run off/soil loss. This is also a benefit for the reef. So our kind of farming is also Reef Friendly, as well as Bush Friendly.

October has 5 weekends - the 1st of October was a Sunday, so that was a market weekend. This weekend coming - the 14th and 15th is the third weekend, so once again a market weekend. It does mean that there will be a two weekend break before the next market (4th and 5th November), so you may want to stock up! We will have pork, beef, lamb and goat.

A reminder too, that we will head down to Gladstone this weekend. We will park up under the trees near the nursery at the Benaraby Turnoff. We'll be there from 2.30 to 3.30. Thank you to those fantastic Gladstone Area customers that make the effort to come out and also for your referrals. It's always great to increase our customer base there.

I haven't had much of a response to my Oktoberfest Competition, so please have a think about cooking something and posting it on the Facebook Page.

The Rules:
  • The meat used must be Dawson Valley Free Range Pork. 
  • A photo and brief description of main ingredients and the connection to "German Style" to be posted on the DVFR Facebook Page between the 1st and 31st October. If you don't do Facebook, please email it to me and I will post it on your behalf.
  • Open to Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone Area customers only, as the vouchers and discount is only available to the regular market customers. If you are prepared to travel to a market to purchase our meat, then you can enter and be in the chance to win.
  • You can enter as many times as you like, as long as it's a different dish each time.
The prize winners will be chosen before the first market in November. 

Prizes:
  1. $50 Meat Voucher
  2. $20 Meat Voucher
  3. $10 Meat Voucher
Every entry will earn 10% off their next purchase - all meats are included in this offer.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Oktoberfest

It's almost October and that means Oktoberfest in some places.  I've done a quick google on the origins and apparently it started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of one of the Princes. It did change to be celebrated in September because the weather in Germany is better in September than October, however the name remained. I've decided that at Dawson Valley Free Range we are going to celebrate for the entire month of October - Starting on the 1st of October, as we will be at the markets that weekend.



To celebrate, we will start a competition for the month. I think that pork is synonymous with Oktoberfest, especially pork sausages and pork shanks/knuckles/hocks. To enter this competition, all you need to do is post a photo of your best German Style Pork dish on the Dawson Valley Free Range Facebook Page.  It is going to be hard to judge just by a photo, so a little description of the dish will be needed, as well as what makes it "German Style".

The Rules:
  • The meat used must be Dawson Valley Free Range Pork. 
  • A photo and brief description of main ingredients and the connection to "German Style" to be posted on the DVFR Facebook Page between the 1st and 31st October. If you don't do Facebook, please email it to me and I will post it on your behalf.
  • Open to Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone Area customers only, as the vouchers and discount is only available to the regular market customers. If you are prepared to travel to a market to purchase our meat, then you can enter and be in the chance to win.
  • You can enter as many times as you like, as long as it's a different dish each time.
The prize winners will be chosen before the first market in November. 

Prizes:
  1. $50 Meat Voucher
  2. $20 Meat Voucher
  3. $10 Meat Voucher
Every entry will earn 10% off their next purchase - all meats are included in this offer.

The meat doesn't need to be sausages or shanks, however I have reduced the price of shanks for the month. They are now $10/kg. 


Next Markets:
Yeppoon - 30th September
Rockhampton - 1st October
No Gladstone this time, but we will be there on the 14th October.

Disclaimer: These are not my photos, I didn't have any german style ones.......Just wanted to give you an idea or two.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Markets - Mid August

Since last post, we've had just over an inch of rain so the place has greened up a little. Hopefully that bodes well for a nice early start to Spring rain. The weather is still quite warm, so it's also good grass growing weather. Our sheep have finished lambing I think and the goats are almost finished. We have as many baby goats as we do adults now and we've got 3 poddy goats that we are hand feeding. We did have a fourth one, but we gave it away. Baby pigs, baby goats and baby sheep and out in the Bush Friendly Beef herd we've got calves starting to drop. Spring is Sprung (early).

The newest piglets on the farm. Bacon Seeds.

We've just had a visit from the owners of the Sunshine Coast Organic Meats butcher shop. The shop has recently changed hands (well about 3 months ago) and so we hadn't actually met these guys and they also wanted to see where the pigs come from that taste so incredibly good! We've been supplying this shop for quite a few years - it's the one in Forest Glen, next to Kunara.

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk to show them the pigs and after fighting their way past the 3 pet lambs and one pet pig inside the house yard, they had to give the other pets outside a pat as well - the three musketeers, Charlie (pigs) and then Misty and Shifty the sheep and of course Patch the dog as well. Then Misty joined us for the paddock walk - I'm sure she thinks she is a dog. I've never met a pet like her. She will often follow us around the farm, running along behind or beside the quad bike.

You can't walk anywhere without pets crawling around your legs! Tripping Hazard!!!!

This morning they came back out to help us feed the pigs and to learn a bit more about how we farm. It's been great to meet them and for them to gain a better understanding of what it takes to provide them and the Sunshine Coast customers with our pork. It's all about building relationships and gaining an understanding from both points of view.


Markets are on this weekend in Yeppoon and Rockhampton. We will have Pasture Raised Pork, Bush Friendly Beef and Melt in the Mouth Mutton! Who enjoyed the mutton last time? I certainly did and in fact we are having a mutton roast for dinner tonight!

Looking forward to seeing you over the coming weekend.......

Lucy


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Already!

Well, last month of Winter and we haven't even really had one! It's been a little cool at nights, but the days warm up nicely. It's also gotten very dry here, so a little rain wouldn't go astray.....ah.....us farmers are never happy!!

Markets are this coming weekend and it will also be a Gladstone delivery.

Yeppoon Community Markets at the Yeppoon Showgrounds - Saturday 6 - 9.30am
Gladstone - Benaraby Turnoff under the shady trees - Saturday 2 to 3pm
Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark Markets - Sunday 6 -12.

We will have Pork, Bacon, Ham, Beef and Mutton available.  If you have been thinking about joining our Frequent Free Rangers Group (read more here) it's not to late - just send me an email with the necessary details (as per the link)

Pork - we should have plenty of paleo sausages (we do these in thick and thin), and I've asked for more diced pork and pork mince, as these two are proving very popular lately. Also should have heaps of chops, roasts and all the rest!

Bacon and Ham - Nitrate Free and Conventional - remember our conventional cure is simply the old style quick cure-it, no nasties like you would find in the supermarket or even the butchers bacon. If in doubt, ask the butcher for an ingredient list. So if you prefer the conventional bacon, you don't need to feel too guilty as there is very little nitrate left once it's been smoked and cooked.

Beef - there should be plenty of the usual cuts available - have you tried the beef ribs? I love these!

Mutton - we have had some mutton ordered already, but should have plenty left for on the day! I'm not sure what it will be like and I'm hoping to try it before Saturday. But I would imagine it will make the most delicious stews, casseroles or just roasted.

Just a final note that if you are sending in any orders or any other enquiries after Wednesday lunch time, I may be slow to respond. I am going into Rocky tomorrow afternoon for a family matter and won't really be doing any work until Friday the 4th August. Seeyou all on the weekend.....

Cheers,
Lucy






Monday, July 17, 2017

Goat Meat

You either love goat or hate it! I certainly love it! We are developing quite a following for the goat meat that we supply, but I've noticed that the most popular by far is the diced goat, closely followed by the goat roasts and shanks. Neck chops, ribs and loin chops are not so popular. One of the reasons we do the little loin roasts are to do something other than chops. They are very good too and quite popular.

A lot of the traditional goat curries that you find in the restaurants are made with a bone in cut of meat. My butcher and I can't quite work out how to cut it like that, so the closest thing we do is offer the loin chop and just the bones. Some of our Frequent Free Rangers received goat loin chops in their order last week, so I thought I'd cook some last night just to confirm what I did suggest to a couple of people. It worked quite well.....

Chops or Ribs - oven baked with vegetables

Slice up some veg as you would if you were doing a potato bake and layer them in a baking dish. I used the following, because I wanted to clean out my fridge of old vegetables before I put in my new lot.

  • Potato - normal and sweet
  • pumpkin
  • zucchini 
  • squash
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • garlic
  • onion
I sprinkled the layers with some salt, poured over about 1/2 cup of bone broth and then placed the chops and ribs on top. I baked them for 1.5 hours, turning the meat over half way, and then sprinkled with a mix of coriander, parsley and mint. Or you could layer the herbs in with the veg.

The chops were perfectly cooked and tender, but the ribs could've done with another 1/2 hour.





.........

One thing to remember with our goat is that it will always need to be slow cooked in some form - either in the oven, crockpot/slowcooker or even just braised on top of the stove. I'm sure it would also work okay in a pressure cooker, I just haven't done it. Even the little loin roasts would need a good hour in the oven to ensure that they are tender and tasty. If you would like to have goat chops that look more like grilled chops, they can be oven roasted on their own, just toss them in something nice * and place on a tray on the oven and cook for a an hour and a half, turning half way. * I really like garlic, rosemary or parsley and lime juice as a marinade.

Goat is really flexible, so don't be scared to try it. If you have a favourite lamb shank recipe, try it with goat shanks. Cook the neck chops like you would cook beef osso bucco. Marinate and oven cook the ribs like you would beef or pork ribs. Slow cook the goat roast and pull it like pulled pork, and serve on tortillas with salsa, yoghurt and avocado. 

If you do something nice with Goat or even any of our meat, please feel free to post it on our Facebook page. It might help to give inspiration to someone else to give it a try.