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.




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Frequent Free Rangers, markets and recipe ideas


Markets again this weekend in Rockhampton and Yeppoon - 15/16th July. We will have beef, goat, pork, ham and bacon available. We will also be supplying our Frequent Free Rangers with some great value meat. If you haven't heard of our CSA style subscription, then please read through to the end for more information on it. If you want to be involved, please email me with the required information and we will include you in the next market delivery. We have a three week break before the next market - 5/6th August.

If you live in South East Queensland, Maitland our son will be visiting the area on the last weekend of July. If you would like some of our great tasting tender meat, please email me for more information. dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

Bacon Chops
This weekend we will have some bacon chops. We had some last night - ours were loin bacon chops from a sow we processed some time ago, where as the ones this weekend will be shoulder bacon chops. I just fried them and served with onion and parsley white sauce and vegetables. They were really good and a nice change. Why not give them a go?




Sausage Rolls
This is not my recipe, but an idea from one of That Wholefood Place's customers. Leanne bought some of our paleo sausages and made a quick dinner for her kids. Lucky them! What a great idea.

Frequent Free Ranger Group
This is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) inspired group, where subscribers pledge to purchase between 4-6 kg of meat on a regular basis, at the fixed price of $15/kg. The meat will be randomly chosen by Lucy House and will be roughly based on the following approximate amounts:
  • ·       1 pack Prime cuts of steak or chops (beef or pork)
  • ·       1 Roast Type (Beef, Pork or Goat) – this could include pickled pork or cornbeef
  • ·       1 Stewing cuts –  could include diced, osso bucco, chops, stewing steak, diced goat or bones etc
  • ·       1 Mince or sausages
  • ·       1kg Bacon and Ham
  • ·       or whatever else I have a lot of at the time

I will try to swap this around each week so that you don’t get the same cut, but if we have a lot of subscribers this may prove to be too difficult. Please let me know if you aren’t getting enough variety or if you really like one particular cut.  The main purpose of this is to clear some of the items of meat that don’t sell as readily, or that I have an abundance of one week. It is also a way to reward regular customers and to try to reduce the cost for those regulars.
  • ·       Nominate whether Fortnightly or Monthly
  • ·       Nominate if you don’t want goat
  • ·       Nominate preference for Nitrate Free or Conventional
  • ·       Nominate number of people to feed (eg, don’t include babies or toddlers that don’t eat any or much)
  • ·       If you are unable to collect – please arrange for someone else to, and failing that, you can drop out for that weekend, but please let me know by Friday night.
  • ·       Cancelation – if you find that you are not happy with the selection you get and want to opt out of the subscription, you can cancel at any time. Please give me as much warning as possible, but at least by the Friday night before the market.


If you would like to join the group, please email me on: dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How can we Meat your needs?

Pigs are our main business and we sell free range pigs directly to a couple of butchers (Sunshine Coast Organic Meats and Sherwood Road Organic Meats in Brisbane). However when it comes to our local markets, we aren't just a free range pork business. Most of you are aware by now, that we also sell beef and goat. And Lambs are coming! We like the idea of being a one stop shop for our customers meat needs, although it may be a little while before we start doing chicken and fish!! We already have a few customers that buy most of their meat from us and we really appreciate this. Thankyou.....

I've been trying to work out a way that we can offer mixed packs of meat, a bit like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you would get an order every fortnight that may include cuts that you wouldn't normally try, as well as the regular cuts. I've been worrying about how that would work, especially as I don't have a lot of control over the butchering and therefore packing at the butchers. But the idea of a CSA interests me as we could better manage our stock control and I would think that we could then offer that cheaper. One of the problems at the moment is having meat left over - which is why we've put meat in That Wholefood Place, to try and move some of the left over stuff. I'm open to suggestions, but the following is an idea that I would like to trial.

Customers would subscribe to a regular meat pack, that I will put together each market weekend. I'm thinking that it will be around 5kg's and $15/kg, which would be guaranteed to have a roast/corn meat, some steaks/chops, mince/stewing meat, ham and bacon. The fresh meat would be either beef, goat or pork.  I would package it up so it would be a bit of a surprise in the fact that one week it could be Roast Pork, Beef steaks, pork osso bucco, ham and bacon (which I'd try to keep around the 1kg combined) and the next it could be Beef Brisket, pork chops, pork mince etc. Ideally this would be a subscription type setup and you would get it each fortnight. I would keep a list of what you had each week so that it was different the following week. I may also include some other random cut if I had more of something than something else, sausages instead of mince or whatever......

You could also add to your order when you collected it, if you wanted something special or extra.

If this is something that would interest you, please send me an email and tell me your preference of nitrate free or conventional, and if you would prefer NOT to have goat included. Also let me know how many in your family - e.g. adults and kids, so that I can make sure the packs are big enough. After the first week, you can nominate whether you would like it fortnightly or monthly, or if you would prefer more meat than the approximate 5kg's. I can also send out recipes if you get something that you are unsure about cooking.
Pork Spare Ribs, marinated and then roasted in the oven

Paleo Pork Sausages, we also do beef, and you can choose fat ones (pictured) or skinny ones.

Corned Beef - we also do Pickled Pork and while this one is conventional, if you prefer Nitrate Free, we do that too.

Our steaks are becoming popular - they are tasty and tender. We do all the regular cuts. This one is Rump, but we also do Rib Fillet (Scotch Fillet), Porterhouse (Sirloin), Eye Fillet and Topside, which is a more economical cut of steak.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TV stars

A busy month for all of us at Dawson Valley Free Range, as per usual! We have had a small taste of Autumn - cool nights and the sting has gone out of the days, although they still get pretty warm. As I write this post, it's cool and a little drizzly outside. Hopefully we may get a shower to settle the dust.

We had an interesting morning last week when ABC Capricornia came out to interview us for a segment to be aired on Landline. The main purpose was to discuss our thoughts on using backpackers to help us and their (voluntary) time being allowed to be put towards their second year visa application. Backpackers visit Australia on a working holiday visa and if they work on a farm for 88 days, they can then apply to stay for a second year in Australia. There were quite a few cases of mistreatment of foreign workers - usually by unscrupulous contractors in the fruit and vegetable picking industry. Because of this, farms like ours would attract people - we wouldn't pay full (or any, in our case) wages, but the backpackers would in most cases have an enjoyable cultural exchange. We made many long lasting friendships - which happens when you live in close proximity for 3 months.

This all came to an abrupt end in 2015. The rules changed and the workers had to show a payslip or group certificate proving that they had been paid a full wage for work preformed. We still get backpacker helpers, but they don't stay as long - two to three weeks is the norm these days.

There's a couple of reasons why we would like to see the volunteer labour still being acceptable to count towards the second year visa. Also I think it can be controlled and workers not getting abused. My thoughts below:


  1. All volunteers to be registered with Workaway, Helpx or Woof Australia - these are organisations already established to match helpers with hosts. They are monitored to ensure helpers don't get abused.
  2. It should be treated as a cultural exchange and work should be limited to what the helper is happy to do - e.g. crawling around on hands and knees picking zuchinis all day should not be something a volunteer should be doing day in day out. It's volunteering, so helpers can leave if they are not happy and they have the ability to lodge a complaint with the organisation.
  3.  Helpers should be fed well and have clean and suitable accomodation. 
  4. It's difficult to pay a full wage to a foreign worker that has not had any experience with farm life, or who may not have a good command of english. In fact many of them come to us to learn english so that they can get a job elsewhere. 

Anyway..... the filming was an interesting experience and several hours of filming will result in about 10 minutes on TV. I will let everyone know when it's going to be aired, but it will be a few months.

Some photos of the filming below.


Cat (our current backpacker) and Lucy talking about important stuff while being filmed

Lucy and Mick checking over the gilts as they feed

Farmer Mick fixing up the wallow for the sows

Farmer Mick trying to impress Amy from ABC Capricornia

Cat being interviewed whilst trying to keep Ruby the dog under control

Amy trying to take a selfie with Misty the pet lamb

MARKET REMINDER!

Markets are this coming weekend in Yeppoon on Saturday and Rockhampton on Sunday. If you want me to put anything aside, please email me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May Market Update

We have had some lovely rain in the last little while and because it has stayed warm, the grass has continued to grow. We are expecting more rain this coming weekend, and I think it'll come in cold after that. I hope so, I'm looking forward to lighting the fire and just enjoying being cool rather than hot!

The way we farm is called Regenerative Farming. We believe that this term is better than being called sustainable farming. We want to leave the land in a better state than how we found it. In 2003 we put cells in (small paddocks) and starting moving our cattle around the paddocks, resting them for a couple of months to enable the grass to recover fully before grazing again. This has so many benefits, but the two major benefits are that our cattle are eating the grass at it's most nutritious AND we are doing our bit towards an environmental improvement through increasing soil carbon sequestration, encouraging plant diversity and improving the ecosystem for our native animals. I like to think of it as the ultimate ethical farming - looking after the environment as well as the welfare of animals.




In recent years we have focussed  on our core business of free range pigs and have allowed our children to take over the cattle side of the business. They own the cattle and sell them to us for the markets. They will be branding their beef - Bush Friendly Beef. Our property is certified organic and the cattle, goats and sheep are managed organically. The pigs are free range and it has been a challenge to manage their grazing as it's not as easy as the cattle.  Cattle are kept in one big mob, with different aged animals, a mix of steers and heifers, cows and calves. Pigs on the other hand are kept in mobs of 30-50 for the weavers to growers. The sows are usually in mob sizes of 12 to 20 until they farrow, when they are separated from the mob to have their babies, and then we need to keep the boars in separate paddocks where we take the sows when they need to have a visit! It takes quite a bit of planning and labour to keep everything operating the way it needs to be.



This is why free range pork is so much more expensive than commercial pork. It's also why it tastes so much better! So not only are you supporting a local farmer by purchasing our products, but you are helping to improve the environment for all Australians, you are improving your health by eating products that are more nutrient dense and because they are ethically farmed, you are doing your bit to ensure animals are better cared for.  A win/win for everyone!

This post is also a reminder that we have markets in Yeppoon and Rockhampton this weekend coming - 20/21 May. We will also deliver to Gladstone on Saturday afternoon. Please email me if you would like more information or would like me to put something aside for you to collect.

dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

Cheers,
Lucy