Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The last day of the Year

Today is the last day of 2013. It has been so hot every where - we are constantly filling up wallows so that the pigs can keep cool! The heat just evaporates the water as quick as we top up!

A couple of things.

I've just had to change the settings for people that want to comment. I'm getting too much spam, so hopefully what I've done will fix it. If you try and comment and can't, please send me an email to anabank@bigpond.com

I will be posting the market dates and delivery dates over the next couple of days. Just a heads up though, we will be going to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast early February. And then out to the Central Highlands late February. We are also going to be going to the 1770 Markets every second Sunday of the Month. Calliope Markets are out until mid year, because they clash with our Rocky dates. So Gladstone people can order and I'll deliver when I go to 1770.

Yeppoon Markets this coming weekend!

Stay cool and drink plenty of water!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

ABC News

We've made the news (well, not front page) a bit lately. First we were in the Sunday Mail and now we've been on the ABC radio. This link will take you to this ABC story and some pictures.

Will be posting the market dates over the next few days!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Doings

We have the last market in Rocky/Yeppoon this weekend. Please come along and stock up for Christmas. At this stage we won’t be back at these Markets until 19/20 of January. None of our pork, ham or bacon has been frozen and because it is cryvacced, it keeps really well in the freezer if you want to get a bit more than usual to get you through.

Yeppoon Community Markets at the Showgrounds on Saturday
Kern Arcade Markets, Rockhampton on Sunday

Thursday the 19th December will see us delivering our last orders and Christmas Hams to the Gladstone Region. We then head off on Saturday to Southern Qld. Sunday 22nd December we'll drive down to Brisbane and the Gold Coast and then back to Buderim, where we plan to stop for a few days and have Christmas with Lucy's family.
It will be great to have a break from the farm. The sad part is that we have to leave one of our boys behind to look after the farm and the pigs. Unfortunately that's what is involved when you have farm like ours - someone needs to be here all the time. One of our sons said that he would stay so that Kim and I can have a break away!
Look forward to seeing you at one of our markets or on the delivery runs over the next week, however if we don’t catchup, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas, filled with peace and love and laughter. And a healthy and happy 2014!

Thank you all for your support of our business. We love what we are doing and are really grateful for the support all our customers give us, as we couldn’t do it without you!

I'll be posting our market dates and deliveries for 2014 over the Christmas break.
Take care and happy holiday season!

From all the House Family

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Markets and Goat meat available

Market time again!

Dawson Valley Free Range will be at the following Markets this coming weekend:

Saturday the 30th November:

Yeppoon Community Markets – from 6 until 8 am – we have to leave early

Handmade Expo – Rockhampton Show grounds – 9 am to 2pm.

Sunday the 1st December:

Kern Arcade, Rockhampton.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Central Highlands

We will be delivering to the Central Highlands on the weekend of the 9th November. If you live in the region or know someone who does, please pass this information on. We would love to be able to make it a regular delivery in 2014, so we need the support of people in Emerald, Moranbah and Middlemount and all towns in between Rocky and there!

We have just come back from Brisbane - thankyou to all our customers down that way!

A reminder to order whenever you think of it and we will fit it in with the next available delivery.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Christmas Hams

We would like to start taking orders for hams for Christmas. At this stage I will just keep a list of who wants what but closer to Christmas we will be putting together other packs for delivery just before Christmas. We aren’t sure yet whether we will close down the markets for a couple of weeks from Christmas through to the end of January.

Hams will be $18/kg
Either a half or whole ham
Bone in or bone out
Conventional or Nitrate Free
A whole ham would weigh somewhere between 5 and 6 kg’s.

Please email and just say whether you want a whole or a half and whether you would like it bone in or bone out and Nitrate Free or Conventional.

If you have any suggestions for some packs we could offer at Christmas time please let me know.

Delivery will be – Local, Yeppoon and Rocky areas – 14th/15th December

Gladstone and Brisbane/Sunshine Coast will be the weekend of the 21st December. If you are in Gladstone and would like it sooner, let me know and we can probably organise a different delivery option.

Hams will be based on a first in first served basis, so please give me an expression of interest as soon as possible.

Christmas is getting closer and closer each day!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Markets this weekend

We can be found at the Yeppoon community markets at the show grounds Saturday the 6th and then kern arcade markets on Sunday morning. We have plenty of great tasting pork, ham and bacon, as well as Scott's chickens. So if you come along that would be great.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Capricorn Food and Wine Festival

The Capricorn Food and Wine Festival is on this weekend coming - 21st and 22nd of September. Dawson Valley Free Range is going to be there!!! We are getting very excited about it all. There will be samples for people to try our pork and we will be selling pork as well. So PLEASE bring along your esky if you plan on buying some pork to take home. We will have some ice bricks and eskies available as well.

Matt Golinski is going to be cooking some of our pork on the main stage.

Hansen's Catering are cooking our pork on a spit for selling in gourmet pork rolls.

So come along and support the inaugural Capricorn Food and Wine Festival. Support is needed this year, so that it's bigger and better for next year! It's really exciting to see Local Food being showcased in our region!

Mercure Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon
Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd September 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Southern Qld Deliveries

We are going to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast on the weekend of the 12th and 13th October. I do have a different order form than the one on this site which is to cater for those customers that don’t have a lot of fridge space - please email me for it. You can also order extra cuts and they will be priced according to a price list that I can also email you. The form on the blog has bigger packs, but will also attract a freight charge of $5/pack for delivery, which is not listed. . Please just let me know in your email or on the comments section on the online order form if you require extra cuts. Please email me if you have any questions or other requests – eg whole pigs. I’m not sure exactly what day delivery will be, but most likely Saturday morning on the Sunshine Coast and Saturday afternoon in Brisbane. Delivery spots to be arranged yet, but for the Brisbane people, the train station worked well. If someone would like to suggest one on the south side and one on the north side, that would be great. Please keep in mind that I’m not the best traffic driver! Sunshine Coast will be either Peters place or Annes Place. Please get your orders in by Friday 27th September. Tell all your friends and family about our pork - the more people we can deliver to, the more often we can come down. We are also hoping to deliver to these two areas just before Christmas, as we are going to Buderim for Christmas this year. Stay tuned for details regarding Christmas Ham orders.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Almost Spring

Well, it's almost Spring - a time of new beginnings, and I'm about to start one myself. For the last four years I've been working full time off farm. That will all change at the end of this week. Read more about life after full time work here. During this time I have often been time challenged, which has meant that I have not been as efficient as I would have liked in running this business of ours. I am hoping to spend more time working on the business to make sure that it runs a bit smoother. The ordering and invoicing process has been less than ideal and so I am grateful for your patience and understanding.

I will be doing invoices this week for orders for Theodore, Baralaba, Woorabinda, Rocky and Gladstone. If you don't receive one by Wednesday and you've ordered, please let me know. I still haven't fixed the online order form so please confirm via email if you used it.

I want to say a huge thankyou to all our market customers. You are making my life a joy and giving me hope for the future of our business. We are ultimately a paddock to plate business and this would be nothing without you. If at any time you are dissatisfied, please contact me and tell me about it so that we can work it out together.
Check out our market tab to see where will be and look for the trailer.......

Monday, August 12, 2013


I know we are nearly half way through August, but thought I'd better let people know our plans for the month!
Saturday 17th August – Yeppoon Showground Markets
Sunday 18th August – Emu Park Markets or Kern Arcade - not confirmed.
Thursday 22nd August - Deliver to Theodore
Sunday 25th August – Calliope Markets –  Deliver Gladstone orders
Monday 26th August - Deliver to Baralaba and Woorabinda
Saturday 31st August – Yeppoon Showground Markets - Deliver Rocky Orders

The markets have been very successful, so thank you to all our new customers. I've been really enjoying the days - and so have Chloe and Rita when they've been helping me. For those that don't know, Chloe is our daughter and she is an integral part of our business - always ready to help no matter what we are doing! Rita is my sister and is also a great support. I stay with Rita when I'm in Rocky overnight and she is always around to bounce off ideas!

We are still not sure if we are able to go back to the Kern Arcade Markets or not. I will let people know via email, blog and facebook when we do work it out. Apparently there isn't much room and they could only fit us in last time because some people weren't there due to the Rocky Swap. So this weekend coming will either be Emu Park OR Kern Arcade.

It's still not too late to put in an order for the Gladstone run, however, please let me know as soon as possible! Rocky orders will close this weekend.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Calliope Village Markets

I've been told this is one of the biggest and best markets in Central Queensland! So we are going! Dawson Valley Free Range will be there and we'll have pork, ham and bacon. We will also have Scott and his Pasture Raised Chicken as well. Scott and Heidi have the same farming values as us - regenerative and ethical farming. We are all about improving the land at the same time as raising ethically farmed meat. Animals need to be treated with respect and care, they need to be raised in a humane and proper way. We treat animals how they should be treated and I am convinced that this produces a healthy and nutritious product! So if you buy our products, you are supporting animal welfare, environmental welfare and also your local farmers! We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Market Time Again

We will be at the Yeppoon Markets on Saturday morning and then at the Emu Park Markets on Sunday morning. If you can’t make it, and/or would like to pre-order for the following fortnight (4th August in Yeppoon), email me for an order form. If you are ordering and want us to deliver to you in Rocky or Yeppoon, you will need to order 5kg’s or more, otherwise you can collect from the markets. If you want to order and want less than 5kg, we may charge a fee for delivery. If we have any leftover on Sunday, I will send out a facebook message to say that we have some left and you can pick up some then – I will give a discount on any sold then, but can’t guarantee any cuts! If you don’t have facebook, but would like me to ring you, just send me an email with your phone number. Look forward to seeing you at either one of the Markets. REMINDER: Calliope Markets next weekend - the 27th July. Gladstone people can still pre-order and we will try and fill them - I need the order over the weekend please.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gladstone Orders

We will be delivering pork to Gladstone customers in two weeks time,when we go to the Calliope Markets on the 27th July. So please get your orders in as soon as possible. If you use the online order form, please email me as well. Because we will be packing individual cuts for the markets, you can order that way if you like. You will need to email me for an order form if you haven't got one already. So, you have the choice between our usual packs and choosing whatever cuts that you want. You will need a minimum 5kg order for us to deliver, otherwise you can collect it from the Calliope Markets. I look forward to seeing some old and new customers!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where else can you buy our Pork

I thought I'd done a post on this previously, but I looked back through and realised I hadn't, so....
We now have a few butchers supplying our pork, so if you can't make it to the markets, or can't wait until you put an order in, or just because you want to support your local butcher AND your local farmer at the same time, go along to one of these butchers and get some Dawson Valley Free Range Pork.

Gracemere Butchers in Gracemere, near Rockhampton have been supplying our pork for a while now. I'm not sure whether they use it in their ham and bacon, but just ask them.

Lilly Pilly Organics in Yeppoon are a home delivery Organic Food business. We were supplying all the pork and ham and bacon, but from now on it will be just the ham and bacon. They deliver to quite a few centres in Central Qld and use local farmers when ever they can.

Wooroolin Country Meats is in a small town down south. Clint and Tina own a butcher shop there and Clint travels to markets on the Sunshine Coast - Eumundi Markets on a Wednesday, Moolooabah Twilight Markets on a Friday night (usually), Kawana Waters Artisans and farmers Markets on a Saturday morning & Noosa Farmers Markets on a Sunday morning. They do ham and bacon as well as fresh pork.

Forest Glen Organic Meats on the Sunshine Coast have just started with us. They supply other free range pork, so if you pop in there for a look, make sure you ask for our pork. If people start asking for ours, they might buy more from us!!

We even supply to Western Queensland. Mitchell Grass Meats in Longreach supply our pork to their customers.

We are really pleased to have these butchers and hope to get a few more yet. I'm looking into how we can get it North as well. If you are reading this and you think that we may not have enough for the local market, fear not! We would like to expand our private customers (that's the part I really like) and we have plenty of pigs, and they breed really fast! For our business to survive and therefore continue to supply the private customers, we need to be a bit bigger, so we need butchers. Check them out when you can and let them know that you know about us. AND if you live in a town that has a butcher that doesn't supply our pork, tell him he should!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's happening in July

We have got a huge month planned!!! We were so pleased with the interest at our first markets (2 weeks ago in Yeppoon) that we are forging ahead with more.....

6th July – Yeppoon Markets and Fig Tree Markets on Sunday
13th July – Sunshine Coast and Brisbane
20th July – Yeppoon and Emu Park Markets - we will also deliver to Rocky and Yeppoon customers
27th July – Calliope Markets - we will also deliver to Gladstone Area customers
I am having a lot of trouble with the on-line order form, so if you use it, can you please email me and let me know - I will then check to make sure I have your order. Otherwise if you just want to email me, I can send you a form. We are also offering the Yeppoon, Rocky and Gladstone people the opportunity to order from our Market list. These are individual cuts and priced individually per weight. Or we will have our usual packs available. Please email me for a current price list and order form.
We have had troubles with our deliveries to Moranbah - we now need to charge a $10 delivery fee, so we are still working out whether we will do it or not. We may go to the Markets out there in August, so stay tuned! Emerald - haven't finalised which day we will go out there.
Thankyou all for your support and I'm really looking forward to doing our own deliveries again and going to markets - I love meeting our customers face to face.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Market Time

We have decided to head to the markets. Part of my "thing" is to really connect with our customers and have been looking forward to the time when we start going to the markets! That time is here!

We will be at the Yeppoon Community Markets held at the Showgrounds on Saturday - yes, this Saturday! So if you are in the area, please come on down and say "Gidday!".

If you don't live in Yeppoon, but know someone who does, please tell them about us. Tell them if they want to see what Pork should taste like, then they need to come down and talk to us!

Thanks to everyone for their continued support!

Oh.....we are also Human Choice certified! That is the certification for TRUE free range!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pork Orders for June

Just a reminder that orders will close by Friday this week. So get it in straight away to avoid disappointment!

Matt from Monto Meats, who does our butchering said that people don't think of pork as winter food.....I hope that's not true. Maybe I need to talk about some of the yummy warm dishes you can make:
  • Curried Pork - use diced pork or spare ribs
  • Curried Pork chops - marinate the pork in a mix of yoghurt and curry paste and bake in the oven - serve with rice, dhal and curried vegetables
  • Sweet and Sour Pork
  • Pork Meatballs - cooked in either coconut milk or stock, with vegies and noodles
  • Roast Pork - leg or belly - someone told me about a belly cooked in milk - I need to explore this idea
  • Pulled Pork Tortillas - request a pork shoulder piece for this one
  • Braised spare ribs
  • Braised Trotters
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise (using pork mince)
  • Meatloaf/mince patties/rissoles.
This is just my quick list....I'll have to think of some more and also post some recipes......

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Nitrate Free and Colour

I've had a query about the colour of the Nitrate Free Ham and Bacon. The picture above shows a conventional ham on the right and NF ham and bacon on the left. The conventional ham is the colour that you normally expect ham to be. With the NF ham and bacon it can be a pinky/browny colour. This is due to the fact that it is the Nitrate Chemical that makes the ham and bacon pink. It also preserves it and does help to carry the smoke flavour through the meat. If you've had NF ham and thought it tasted a bit "porky" that's because the smoke flavour hasn't carried through. This is not noticeable with the bacon, as the bacon is a lot thinner and the smoke flavour penetrates. When I say smoke flavour, I don't mean that it's a flavouring, because it is proper wood smoked ham and bacon.

My last post was about nitrates etc, and you may have already read the links on that post. Processors that sell Nitrate Free ham often use celery juice. This is a natural nitrate, but a nitrate nevertheless. It will mean that the ham will still be pink, because it's the nitrate (artificial or natural) that causes it to go pink. I hope I have cleared this up, however if you have any questions or concerns about it, please comment below and I will respond. At least doing it this way if people have a question, it usually means that others may have the same question.

Stay tuned, because my next post will be about hairs on our pigs......

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nitrate free ham and bacon

Our nitrate free ham and bacon is quite popular. I think I've mentioned before that I personally don't like the nitrate free ham as much as the conventional ham. (I like the bacon). We went into the nitrate free stuff, because I was convinced that nitrates/nitrites are bad for you. You know, cancer causing and all the rest. I also think that our grandparents grew up on corn beef, so it can't be that bad!

Also, because I like my ham and corned beef and I really want to have another go at air drying meat this winter (I made duck breast prosciutto last year) I thought that I would investigate a bit more about the nitrate debate. I'm also reading Art of Fermentation at the moment and Sandor Katz said that he was more concerned about botulism than nitrates.....so my research has confirmed my earlier thoughts, that maybe the nitrates aren't so bad any way. I've included some links
here and here and here .

These are all US sites, however I would assume that our regulations in Australia would be similar. I do think though that caution needs to be in place with eating alot of preserved meats, mainly due to the high fat and salt content in some of them - eg salamis and hot dogs. So sticking to Dawson Valley Free Range ham and bacon is the best idea. Seriuosly though, the ethics of the product do come into it - how the meat is raised and processed.

This winter I'll be trying some air dried pork jowl I think......

My duck breast prosciutto - which I didn't use nitrates in and then worried I was going to poison myself - it was good though - had enough salt to kill anything though!

If you've found different information, please leave a comment.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Healthy Pigs

One of the reasons our pork tastes so good (it just tastes like pork should) is because the pigs are healthy and their pastures are healthy.
These are some of the Growers, which are what we call the pigs in the last couple of months. We select from these to send to the butcher.
We also have what we call our paddock sanitiser's in to assist with some of the parasite control. The pigs tend to mess around the outside of the paddocks, so the chooks come along and give it a good clean up. No need for nasty chemicals here.
And then of course the chooks and turkeys just like to get an extra feed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To Vacuum or Not to Vacuum

I'm talking vacuum packing meat here, not the house.

As you may have noticed, if you are an older customer, we have started to vacuum seal our pork. There are a few reasons for this, and there are various pros and cons regarding the process. I thought I would try and explain a bit more here.

The thoughts around the reason not to vacuum seal are based on the idea that it ages the meat (this is called wet aging) and to age the meat, it's actually starting the process of break down - it's a annorobic environment and the bacteria age the meat. This is exactly the reason why a lot of people do vacuum pack meat, as it will also tenderise the product. Our pork does not need to be vacuum packed to tenderise it, it's naturally very tender. I personally think that if you need to do this to tenderise your meat, the producer needs to think about a different breed or different management. However in saying that, it's difficult with our climate and conditions in CQ to produce consistently tender beef and so vacuum sealing is used as a tool.

Our reason for packing this way, is two fold. One: we are now getting the pork delivered for us and so the boxes will hold together better if there is no risk of blood escaping from the packed meat. It also means that we can be surer that our pork will still be fresh and lovely when you get it. We don't have it packed for an extended time, only for the time it needs to travel. Our second reason, is that once we start going to markets, we have to (by law) pack it like this. It also looks a lot nicer presentation wise.

A couple of things to remember when you get your meat home:
  1. It needs to be frozen as soon as possible, although will keep for longer in the vaccum sealed bags, depending on your preference.
  2. If the meat smells a bit, which it may, because of the annorobic conditions, just put it on a plate or bowl for a half hour or so, so that the smell goes away. It's not off, it's just a concentrated smell of meat. This may be more noticeable with the mince and sausages.
Please give me any feedback regarding this packaging.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chevon available again....and change of delivery dates.

We will have some goat meat (chevon) available next delivery. It will be $60 for 5kg. The 5kg will be made up of a leg roast and chops/stew – if you would really like the flap/ribs to make this dish, please request them – or the shanks (there will only be four on one goat so this will be limited to how many goats we send over - and whoever requests them first)
I don’t have goat on the order form, so if you would like to order some, either email me or put it in the comments section on the online form (on the order page).

Goat is similar to mutton, although very lean. The best way to cook goat is to roast it or slow cook/braise it. It makes a really good curry or Moroccan style stew, so with winter on the way, it is definitely worth a try. I will hopefully get time in the next week to put some goat recipes on the Recipe page, but if I don’t please feel free to prompt me!! Incidentally it’s one of the most eaten red meats in the world (just not in Australia!). I love it, but there is only so much we can eat, and we have some that need to find a spot in a freezer.


Also, please note that the delivery date for Rockhampton, Gladstone and Local/Theodore has changed – please look at the Ordering Page.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free Range Chicken

We are really lucky to live near the best free range chicken I've ever tasted. Scott and Heidi produce organically raised chickens on their farm and we have been selling them with our orders for the past year. Now that we've gone online with our order form it's a bit trickier, so I thought I'd just let people know about them and you can order direct from Scott and Heidi (or just let me know what you'd like and I can add it into your order.) To make it easier for delivery, please tell them or us that you are getting both.

I've copied some information from Scott and Heidi onto this post. If you want more info about the chicken's contact them direct.


Below is a link to our updated order form, thank-you to Tatiana for assisting us. Please fill out the form and press submit at the end, if there are any problems, please email me your concerns. We hope that we have ironed out the bugs but expect a few technical hitches in the first few weeks.

You will notice that our prices have increased by approx 25c/kg, our feed and freight costs have increased this year but we have managed to negotiate no change in processing costs for the rest of the year.

We expect that orders for the first few weeks will be greater than what we can supply but will notify those that we cannot fill your order the same week that you place your order.

 Changes in 2013

We have expanded our product range to include individual pieces as we have been often asked by our customers if we would provide such products. The pieces will be presented on trays, with the average tray weight between 350-500g. While the ordering form has pieces as per half kilogram, it may not be possible to obtain the 0.5kg size for each tray.

We have also removed our bulk discount this year as we aim to maintain a low purchase price that all can benefit from.


For our western customers, we will not be able to supply fresh chickens again this year due to pick-up on a Monday which is our first processing date of the week. Freight deliveries will be on a Wednesday. For all other customers, we will be able to supply fresh (if processing that week) or frozen, please indicate which is your preference when ordering. Local customers within the Biloela area, our services will remain the same as last year, either pick-up at our farm or we can delivery into town. For those that live outside Biloela, Theodore and Baralaba (i.e. Gladstone, Tannum, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Emerald etc.), there will be a freight cost of 20c/kg for each order. Freight deliveries will be on a Thursday for these centres.

 Centre Coordinators

For each town, we are looking for people who would like to be our centre coordinators where deliveries can be dropped off. This role does not involve invoicing or handling money but may involve contacting customers to negotiate a suitable time to collect their orders. Because we now have a large customer base, this will save on freight costs if we have a single central drop off location. For larger centres, we may have two centre coordinators so that travel time is reduced. If you are willing to be one of these people, please let us know. We will be offering a discount off your order for all our centre coordinators. We will gradually role out this service in the coming weeks so initial orders can be still delivered door to door.

 New Customers

For existing customers that refer our products to new customers, we will be offering a 10% discount on your next order. For all new customers, can you indicate in the comments section at the bottom of the form who referred you to us? Please feel free to send our details to your friends and family if you wish to receive a great discount on your next purchases.

 Finally, thank-you to everyone that has been contacting us requesting our chickens, we aim to provide a healthy and quality product that is locally produced.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Orders closed for April

Well, I've finalised all the orders, the pigs are in Monto and I have finally finished sending out invoices! If you haven't received an invoice - please email me as that may mean you don't have your order in!!! Oh, except the side/whole pig orders - I'll send them out in the next day or so.....

We've been really pleased with the fact that our customers that keep coming back. It's been pretty tough for us to get established and trying to sort out some of the hassles of starting a new business. One of our problems has been trying to manage the fat, which I'm really glad to say that we are starting to sort out. So...thankyou to all those that keep coming back. We're glad that so many people agree with us that our pork tastes like pork should!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Orders

We’ve had a busy time on the farm.....Sows are farrowing, Growers are growing and the grass is exploding with the lovely rain and warmth we’ve had. We had a break over Easter (well sort of – you never really get break when you have a farm), but it’s now time to organise deliveries again.

We have had to revise our prices going forward. Our fresh pork prices will remain the same, however the ham and bacon price needs to be increased. We had an “oops” moment recently when we realised that we made a miscalculation when we were pricing our products. We didn’t take into account the difference between the boned out pork for ham and bacon compared to the fresh pork. So, I’m afraid that we will need to adjust our pricing.  A 5kg pack of Ham and Bacon will now cost $19/kg ($95/pack).

Discounts for referrals: We have decided to reward our customers who introduce us to a new customer with a 10% discount on their next order. There will be a place on the order form that allows new customers to put the name of the person who told them about us. Make sure you also let me know if you put someone on to us.

Delivery Dates for Dawson Valley Free Range Pork:

Theodore, Baralaba and Woorabinda
Delivery – Wednesday 17th April and Thursday 18th April

Biloela, Gladstone and Rockhampton
Delivery – Thursday 18th April

Dysart, Moranbah, Emerald and Blackwater
Deliver – Wednesday 24th April

 All Orders Close - Friday 12th April

 If you live in Brisbane or on the Sunshine Coast, just put an order in when you want to and when we have enough, we will schedule a trip down south. We can’t go that distance without having quite a large delivery, as we need to be able to justify the cost of the travel. We will aim to go down every 2 to 3 months, therefore the next likely delivery will be May/June.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Deliveries

The rain has once again been causing problems for us and our delivery schedule, so what I am about to propose, will depend on us getting some fine weather over the next few weeks. We can only plan and then hope for the best.

Tuesday 12th March - Rockhampton (no ham and bacon)
Wednesday 13th March - Moranbah, Emerald, Blackwater (no ham and bacon)
Wednesday 20th March - Theodore, Baralaba, Woorabinda
Thursday 21st March - Biloela and Gladstone Area (Rocky if you missed out on the 12th)
Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd - Sunshine Coast
Sunday 24th - Brisbane

Please get your orders in for all these deliveries as soon as you can, as then we can plan and make sure that we can get enough pigs down to Monto in between flood events!

We're a bit up in the air after that, so what I would suggest is that people order whenever they can and if they miss one delivery, they will go onto the next scheduled delivery. We will be sending pork to all areas hopefully once a month, it may be once every two months to some places (eg the Southern run).

As usual, we appreciate any referrals, so please pass on our details to your friends and family in any of these areas. We may have some goat available too, so if you would like some, just email me a note.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ham for dinner

I don't normally (in fact I never have) baked ham - I always worry that it will dry it out. I did it this time, as it was quite a large ham and it takes too long to get through with just the two (and sometimes three) of us for lunches. So I thought that if we had it for dinner as well, it wouldn't get wasted, so I baked it - see the recipe I used on the Recipe tab - and it was really nice hot, with roast vegetables. It didn't dry out at all and was just YUM! It will be even better on sandwiches over the days to come.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pork to the Coalfields

We will be delivering pork to Emerald and the other mining towns on the 6th March. We can only do fresh pork as there isn't enough time to do ham and bacon this time. If you would like to order, please get the orders in by 23rd February. Email me for an order form.

I am hoping to get an online order form set up, but as yet that hasn't happened. (sorry Tatiana!) If you are in Tatiana's group, please do your order through her form.

We can also deliver to Rocky - it will be delivered on the 5th March.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bacon and Pork Fat

Our pigs are based on Heritage breeds, the reason for this is both practical and emotional. Practical because our pigs are true free range and roam about paddocks all day and so they need sun protection. The best protection is the colour of their skin. We really noticed it during the recent rain - when the white pigs we hav,e got washed clean, they also got sunburnt. The black pigs didn't get affected at all. The emotional reason is based on saving the old breeds. Pigs in Australia are limited to the breeds we have. Other stock, eg horses and cattle can be imported from overseas, however pigs are not imported, not even the semen.

One of the problems with the old breeds, and the reason they are nearly bred out, is that they tend to get fatter than the modern white varieties. This has been an issue that we have been trying to deal with ever since we've been raising these pigs. This is also the reason why we have introduced a Large White Boar into our herd. The other factor we have, is that we mix our own feed with locally grown grains and these also change from season to season. We could feed a commercial mix and get more consistency, however, we can't control what's in a commercial mix - they will just about always contain cotton seed meal or soy bean meal - these are more than likely going to be genetically modified. Commercial mixes are also a processed food - we try to be as natural as possible, which is why our pork tastes like pork should! The one consistent thing we have is that it always tastes good!

One of the advantages of all that lovely fat, is that you can save the fat, render it down and cook in it! Fat is really the best thing to cook in, and as you've already paid for it, it's makes sense not to waste it. I do mention how to do this here, but it's quite easy - just put the fat into a pot with some water - not a lot, just enough to get it to start to melt, wait for it all to be melted, you will see the "fat" has melted and just left some chunks of brown crunchy stuff. Strain and keep the fat. I do keep it in the fridge in hot weather, but in winter it's okay left out. I put it into jars or tins.

You can use the fat off the chops or bacon, or buy some belly fat from us (this comes out lovely and white and clean). You do have to be very careful not to burn or catch the fat as it renders, or it will colour it - still usable, just doesn't look as good.

The yummiest thing is this..... cut the fat and rind off some bacon, cut into small pieces (about 1cm). Place in a small pot with a dash of water. Let it slowly render down until you have little crunchy bits and rendered fat. Tip off the fat to keep for baking potatoes (yum) and then serve the crunchy bits on some freshly made bread - serve with a beer!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Delivery Days Next Week

Tim, who some of you may know, because he also delivers chickens for Scott, will be in Calliope between 12.30 and 1.30 on the 14th of February (Thursday). He will then head to Tannum Sands, via Benaraby. Then onto Gladstone and Rockhampton. If he doesn't get to you in Rocky on Thursday afternoon, he will deliver it Friday morning. This is all very new to us, and to Tim, so please be patient. Once we get into a routine, things should all work out. I appreciate your patience!! Oh, and Biloela will be mid morning.

Theodore and some of Baralaba will be late afternoon/evening of the 13th February (Wednesday). Then Woorabinda on the 14th February (Thursday).

I've now sent out all invoices for this current delivery, so if you haven't received one, please let me know. Some people I don't have an email address for, so if that's you.....email me.

If you live in Emerald, Blackwater, Moranbah, Dysart or Middlemount and want to try some of the best tasting pork around, please let me know so that we can organise a run out there! There's already some keen customers, but we need a few more to make it worthwhile taking the pigs down to Monto.

Just to clarify, we have a 2-3 hour drive to Monto (one way) to deliver pigs and so we really need to be taking at a bare minimum 3 down to make it worthwhile. This is about 24 x 5kg packs. Unfortunately the timing is not quite right to do all places with the one lot of pigs, so to go out west, we need to do two trips to Monto.

Thanks everyone for your support and your referrals. Without the word of mouth advertising it would be alot harder for us!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Feral Pigs

Kim noticed a bit of commotion down the paddock the other afternoon - on investigating, he discovered a wild boar trying to get into the breeders paddock. We have netting fence around the outside perimeter fence, with electric fence inside to divide paddocks. Lucky the netting is secure. We've had one incidence some time ago, with a boar getting under the fence and into the paddock. Once again, we noticed the commotion straight away and got him before he could do too much damage. Hanigan got a torn ear trying to protect his girls, but nothing worse. Feral pigs are our biggest pest problem. We are concerned about dingoes, but so far haven't seen any sign of them. Same with foxes. We don't get a lot of them fortunately, but they would be a concern for any babies.

Anyway, the great white hunter got him!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pork Delivery Postponed

We will have to postpone the scheduled pork delivery for this week coming. Obviously things are a little wet. I'll have to wait until we see what happens over the next week and then we will re-schedule. The good news is that those people in Theodore, Moura, Baralaba and Woorabinda may now be able to order ham and bacon, as we can hopefully send the pigs down with enough time to do that. I will keep everyone posted as soon as we know ourselves.

Our new bridge at Baralaba is under water - it's first flood and it's out! We always knew that it would go under in a big flood, and we're certainly having one of them. What we don't know is how much water is still going to come down from Taroom and Theodore areas. We won't be able to take pigs to Monto until the bridge here is clear - we can go a long way around, but will wait and see if we need to.

On another note, thought I'd post some pictures of our latest additions to the farm:
This chicken was sitting on some eggs in a 44 gallon drum half full of grain. It seems to be a favourite spot for chickens to lay. When I took this photo, she had hatched 5 out of 7 eggs. She has had another one this morning - it's brown and stripy. There breeding is Rhode Island Red x with Indian Game.
I will have to lift them all out, but thought I'd leave them for a bit longer. It's so wet and miserable still, and we have a heap of piglets roaming around and they may upset the babies! We had to let some of our weaners out, so there are about 30 pigs roaming free.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wet, Wet, Wet

We've had some rain over the last couple of days. Last count it was 225mm. Pigs are happy, but wet!

There's more pictures and info on the Healthy Farming Blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Deliveries for January and February

I have finally managed to get the dates for the next month or so sorted out. We have been very busy on the farm lately - this heat just creates so much more work - mostly making wallows for the pigs to keep cool.

I have done up a new order form with a few minor changes.

We are offering 2 types of fresh pork packs – the two together would be similar to our old 10kg packs, just thought we’d break it up for those that have smaller freezers.

Ham and Bacon Pack is different this time as we want to trial the shoulder ham – this would be great for lunches as there is no bone.

We have been delivering our pork direct to you, but this has proved to be costly in time and resources. It means we take the pigs over to Monto one week and then collect them the next, then deliver to the various towns. Monto is about a 6 hour round trip from Baralaba. We started this way as we really wanted to develop our market and also to get to know some of our customers, as we feel it is important to have that relationship. However, we are going to trial using a third party to deliver to some of the towns. It will mean that we can offer delivery every month if need be. It also means that it will be delivered to your door. Kim and I will still do some deliveries, for example, Theodore, Moura, Baralaba and Woorabinda.

We are hoping to also be able to offer delivery to Emerald, Dysart, Middlemount and Moranbah, so if you are in these areas, please contact me asap so that I can organise a delivery date for those towns.

Dates are as follows:

• Theodore, Moura, Baralaba and Woorabinda – Delivery 30th and 31st January. Sorry for the short notice, but you must get your order back to me by this WEDNESDAY, the 23rd January. Please Note: This will be for fresh pork only. We had a special order for 3 pigs, and so we can only fit it in if we do fresh pork. Kim will be delivering this, so we will meet at a Central Location in Theodore and Moura (to be advised later)

• Biloela, Calliope, Tannum and Rocky – Delivery will be 14th and 15th February. You will need to get your orders in to me by Friday, 1st February. The full range on the order form will be available for these orders. We look forward to the year ahead and will keep you all posted on any changes or updates via this Blog or via Facebook.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pork in 2013

Happy New Year to everyone! I'm excited about this year, we are really going to be powering ahead with our Free Range Pork. I'm finally getting back into the swing of things and need to start our delivery's again. Our pig numbers are up, so we will have a great supply of pork, and when they are ready to go, they are ready! If we leave the pigs to long, we end up having trouble with them getting too fat. We are meeting with our butcher tomorrow and will then plan our new order form for this year. We will also work out our delivery schedule for the coming months.

I would love any comments or requests that might help me with the order form.
  • What do you like (or not like) about the packs we have offered so far?
  • What other cuts of pork would you like us to offer?
  • Do you like the bigger 10kg packs or the smaller 5kg packs?
  • Are roasts or chops your thing?
  • Where would you like to see us deliver to?
  • Are Saturday's for a delivery day okay?
I would appreciate any feedback you can give me. If you want to say a lot, can you please email me at anabank@bigpond.com

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hot Weather

It's been so hot lately, that it's really testing our pigs out. We need to keep constant wallows up for them, as this is really the best way for them to cool down. They lie in the mud and then go and lie in the shade. It's quite interesting, because if their wallow dries out, they drink a lot more water. They don't drink nearly as much when they have a good wallow.

In Queensland, free range pig farmers are not "encouraged" to use wallows. I'm not really sure what the problem for the authorities is, whether it's causing dirty run off or whether they worry about breeding disease. We change our wallows quite regularly, because if they are in one spot too long, they do get a bit yukky, so while it's clean mud, it's okay. The mud not only keeps them cool, but it helps to keep away lice and other insects. It protects the pigs from sunburn, mosquito's and flys.

And the pigs love it! One of our Boars often comes over to us and grunts and carrys on when we renew the wallows, as if to say "Thankyou!" Pigs are very responsive and appear to be truly grateful for the way we look after them. It breaks my heart when I think of pigs being kept in pens and in sheds! They are really far to intelligent for that!