Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

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!