Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wow, the last week (or two, or three) has been pretty stressful - worrying about how many hams we would have was the main concern. And then about a week or so ago we got some rain. And some more rain.....I was stressing whether we would get out to not only deliver to all our customers, but also to get pigs out to be processed! Well, all's well that ends well! We have finished all deliveries now and don't need to take pigs to the abattoir for two weeks! And then there are no markets for a month, so life will take a slower turn (I hope!)

So, while the rain caused a little stress, it has made the place look a picture!! It's amazing what gets transformed in a week!

Thought I'd post a few pictures.

But I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our fantastic customers - some who have been with us since we started and some very new ones too! We have had a great twelve months and things are really starting to look up, as demand has finally reached supply and we now have to increase our production! So, thankyou!

We wish you all the best for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous and Healthy 2015.

Most of the pigs are happy to graze the grass and not too concerned about the grain.
Leauceana loves this weather!
The green is so bright that it almost hurts your eyes!
Lillies in the paddock.
Another turkey had chicks - only two, and a little late for Christmas lunch!

See you next year.......

Lucy and Kim

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Hams

It's that time of the year when I need to get orders for our delicious Christmas Hams. I am still not sure if we will have the nitrate free ham available, and I may not know for another couple of weeks.

If you would like a ham this year, we will be offering the following:

Whole or Half Hams - a whole ham bone in will be somewhere between 6-8kg, boneout will be around 4-6kgs.
Bone in or Bone Out - Bone in price this year will be $16/kg but the Bone out will be $20/kg.

If you haven't already given me your request, can you please send an email to anabank@bigpond.com stating the following:

Whole or Half
Bone In or Bone Out
Nitrate Free or Conventional - please state on this if you will substitute a conventional ham for nitrate free if they are not available, or if you would prefer to not have any ham if we don't have nitrate free.

Delivery will be available for the following places:
  • Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coast in the week before Christmas.
  • Rockhampton and Yeppoon - the weekend of the 20/21 December
  • Baralaba and local area to be collected from our property

At this stage I don't think we will be able to deliver to Gladstone, however it may depend on the number of orders.

It will also be first in first served, as I'm not sure how many hams that we will have available this year.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Guest Blogging

I was very recently honoured to be a guest blogger over at Natural New Age Mum. I talk about Farmers Markets from my perspective, so I would love it if you go over and have a read. Feel free to leave a comment there too! Natural New Age Mum is a local Rockhampton lady and also one of our customers, so I was quite pleased when she asked me to do a post for her.

This is the link to that blog, but she has lots of other information and interesting reading, plus some great healthy recipes!

Thanks NNAM!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Capricorn Food and Wine Festival

The Capricorn Food and Wine Festival (find our more here) is the happening place to be next weekend, the 20th and 21st September. t's free entry and should be a lovely day so bring the kids and have a swim and check out the cooking demo's.

We will be there with a stall - selling fresh pork and giving out samples for people to try. We won't be going to the Yeppoon or Rockhampton Markets, so if you want to get some pork this weekend you'll have to come to the Festival. Please bring an esky and ice if you do. We will hopefully have some, but it would be safer to bring your own, just in case.

Make sure that you have something to eat at the Lickity Fingers stall. They are using lots of local ingredients in their products, including our delicious Pork and Kokotongo Organic Beef.


Monday, August 4, 2014

August Update

Life has been so busy and I can't believe it's so long since I've posted something! We are full steam ahead with our production so we have lots of pigs ready to go. We have lots planned:

1770 - 2nd Sunday of every month - next one is the 10th August
Rockhampton and Yeppoon are the 1st and 3rd weekends - 16th and 17th August
We head to Brisbane on the 22nd and 23rd - if you haven't ordered it needs to be in ASAP!!!!
Emerald - we are heading out there on the 26th if we get enough orders.

We aren't going to be going to Moranbah and Middlemount this trip and I do apologise for this. In the past we've made a weekend of it and stayed the night with my brother at Moranbah. He has left now and so we can't really justify going out there and having to pay for a motel. I'm afraid that the sales we got, which were very much appreciated, where not enough to justify that! So.....I'm really sorry to those who have supported us in the past. If you are coming in to Rockhampton, please touch base, as I'm sure we can organise some way to get our pork to you! Or you could go to your local butcher and suggest they purchase our pork to stock in the shop!

The other bit of news I need to pass on, is that we are currently not able to produce Nitrate Free Ham. Our butcher's smoke house has died and so we are getting another butcher to do the smoking for us. Safefood Qld has regulations regarding ready to eat meat products like ham and salami in that the butcher needs to send a sample each year to them for checking that it's all okay - then he is accredited to produce those products. The other butcher we are using is not approved to do the Nitrate Free ham. He is, however able to do the bacon, as it doesn't have the same rules. So, for the next little while we will be able to produce Nitrate Free Bacon and Conventional bacon and ham. Please read my earlier post here for more info about nitrates and nitrate free.

To finish off, thankyou so much for your continuing support of us. And remember that you get our pork in lots of different ways:

Yeppoon and Rockhampton - markets and private orders, Organic and Quality Foods and Lilly Pilly Organics
Gladstone - private orders, Organic and Quality Foods and Lilly Pilly Organics
1770 - markets and private orders
Biloela, Theodore, Moura and Baralaba - by contacting me and making arrangements, or through Organic and Quality Foods
Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast - until we can supply more butchers, you can buy direct from us when we deliver down that way, OR:
  • Sunshine Coast Organic Meats
  • Milton Fine Meats
  • Your Organic Market
  • Organic and Quality Foods
Please contact me if you are interested in getting hold of our pork and we'll see what we can do!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Regional Food

As anyone who knows me, would know - I am very passionate about local food. I'm involved in the local food industry as a producer and as a consumer.  My purchasing decisions tend to be based on Local first, Regional 2nd, Queensland 3rd, Australia 4th, and then if I really must......oversees grown.
Regional makes sense in a place like Central Queensland and my idea of regional would be from Bundaberg to Mackay and out to Emerald.

Relish Capricorn is an organisation that is putting our local region and the food from it on the map! I strongly recommend that you go and have a look (follow the link above) and see what they are all about. It's still a work in progress, but the more people that register - both consumers and producers, the more valuable the information on the site will be. The idea is that it will link the consumer to the producer.

There is quite a bit of food produced in this region and we really need to have some sort of distribution centre in Rockhampton for that food to then get to the consumers around here. We are known as the beef capital, but it's not easy to buy a local bit of beef! We need to change this! It annoys me when we try to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce food miles that most of the food produced here goes to Brisbane and then back up the coast. So get on board and give support to local farmers. You can do this by registering as a member on the Relish Capricorn site.

Some of my thoughts on this were aired on the local ABC this morning. Follow this link to here or read what I had to say.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May, and what's happened to winter?

The weather has been unseasonably warm lately. This is quite a good thing really because our summer rain came very late and so there's been more time for grass to grow - a little more rain wouldn't go astray, and as I type this, there's a faint pitter patter on the roof! Not much hope for anything meaningful though!

This photo was taken late the other afternoon......

We've got three French Backpackers with us at the moment. Two of them are chef's. So what does one do when one is hosting a French Chef? Kill ducks so that they can cook them! We killed them one afternoon and the next evening we are eating duck confit and duck breast - absolutely delicious!

The photo below shows our (current) pig pets. D'artagnan is the big black fella and he's our biggest pet, and is quite loveable. The little black one hasn't been named, as he will go back to the mob when he's a bit bigger. Missy Higgins is the white one and she will probably end up a breeder. They are cute and very interactive, but they do try my patience when I go to milk my cows in the mornings!

Just a reminder to all that we have the following markets and deliveries:
This weekend (23rd to 25th May) will be Middlemount, Dysart, Moranbah and Emerald.
The 31st May and 1st June will be Yeppoon and Rocky again, and then 1770 on the 9th June - we'll do Gladstone orders that weekend too. Please get your orders in this weekend for those two weekends.

I'm planning on heading to Brisbane in the last week of June, so if you live on the Sunny Coast, Brisbane or the Gold Coast and aren't already on my email list, please send me an email and I'll put you on it. anabank@bigpond.com

For our Sunny Coast customers, we are currently going through the process of working out if we should set up a stall at one of the markets there - which would be the best one for us? Love to get some feedback. Maitland our son will be taking on that job, so stay tuned for more info on that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Down on the Pig Farm

It's mid April and we have finally had some rain. It's been pretty pitiful here with very little summer rain. Fortunately over the last few weeks we've had some lovely rain - 5 and 1/2 inches a few weeks ago and another inch last weekend. I just hope it stays warm for a little longer so that we get some good grass growth. So far it's been very hot and so the grass has just exploded!

This is a photo of one of our pig paddocks - we have had growers in here, but have now go some of our breeders. It looks pretty good seeing as we've been pretty dry.
I was away for a few days and came home to an explosion of piglets - 10 sows all pigged within a few days. This is not terribly good planning, but means that we'll have plenty of hams for Christmas.

 Sometimes they use the shelters provided, and sometimes they don't.
On my walk yesterday I stumbled across and top knot pigeon nest.
 Future food for our customers above and future food for us below. Some of those ducks are ready for harvesting - maybe over the Easter break. No markets, so I'll have lots of time on my hands (or not!)

Next up for Pork Sales - Sunshine and Gold Coasts and Brisbane on Anzac Day. Then Rocky and Yeppoon Markets on the 3rd and 4th May.

If you are travelling over Easter, take care and enjoy the four day break. We'll be taking it a bit easier with family visiting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Want to learn from a French Master Butcher?

I had an interesting phone call from the organiser of what I think would be a fantastic workshop. I've just got to work out how I might be able to go!!!
From what I understand, this workshop is for Butchers, both home and professional, chefs (and of course serious home cooks!) and people in the production, processing and selling of Pork and Pork products. They contacted me after searching for free range pork on the internet, and thought that I would have some contacts that might be interested. They are only wanting to get about 25 people, so it will be a fairly intimate workshop, so individual participants should get a lot of one on one time. I think that the process is to break down a pig in the morning session and then move on to discussing the different charcuterie. If you would like any more information you can contact them direct. This is a copy of their press release.

Gascon Butchery and Charcuterie workshops in Brisbane

French master butcher and charcutiere Dominique Chapolard and his wife Christiane will be running a full day professional workshop in Brisbane on Tuesday March 18th, showcasing their unique skills.

The event is to be guided and translated by now expat American author, cook and teacher, Kate Hill. Kate now runs programs and tours in traditional French charcuterie from her farmstead in Gascony, working tightly alongside the Chapolard family, offering a truly unique and in depth learning experience.

As champions of traditional methods, the Chapolard family manage to support five families from only thirty sows on their entirely holistic 100 acre farm. Coining the term 'seed-to-sausage', Kate has opened this unique approach up to the world.
Having already taught students both visiting France, and on expeditions to The United States of America, they are now bringing their pork education to Australia.
Tickets are on sale now from http://www.frenchpigsbrisbane.eventbrite.com.auHYPERLINK  for $365, including 7 hours of tuition, lunch, and all workshop materials.

Events to be held at Wandering Cooks, 1 Fish Ln, South Brisbane.

Bjorn Rust

Sascha Rust

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Market and Delivery dates

We have the Yeppoon and Rocky markets this weekend coming - 1st and 2nd March. I've just done some changes to the blog ordering page - dates for Brisbane, Central Highlands and Theodore have been changed. Please also note that we have had to increase some of our prices.

8th March - Rocky Handmade Expo at the Showgrounds
9th March - 1770 Markets and delivery of orders to Gladstone Area
15th and 16th March - Yeppoon and Rocky Markets
27th March - Theodore
28th to 30th March - Central Highlands - more details about this trip to come.

5th and 6th April - Yeppoon and Rocky Markets
12th April - Rocky Handmade Expo
13th April - 1770 Markets and delivery to Gladstone area
26th April - Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast - If people from Bundaberg to Gympie are interested, let me know and I could travel that way!!!

I'm hoping to go to Central Highlands and Brisbane every second month.

Please let all your friends and family know about us if they live in any of these areas!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rain and markets

Lovely rain happening at the moment - well lovely for us, because it's gentle and makes a lovely change from the heat we've been having! It's not so lovely closer to the coast after the cyclone crossed north of us this morning! Yeppoon is experiencing some pretty awful weather, so we have cancelled going there tomorrow morning. We will be at the Kern Arcade markets on Sunday.

Next week will find me travelling to Brisbane to deliver orders and then back on the following weekend to go to 1770 markets. Just a reminder to Gladstone customers that we won't be going to Calliope markets for a while, so if you want pork you will need to order it and I'll drop it on my way to or from 1770.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hot weather days on a pig farm.....

We have recently had some very hot weather! I think most of Queensland had a heat wave and now Southern Australia is getting it - I just hope it stays down there. It's cooler now, but still pretty warm, so I thought I'd talk a little about our pigs and how they (or more correctly we) manage it. Pigs can't control their temperature - they don't sweat. So to cool their body temperature, they need water. Some people use sprinklers, but we use wallows. The muddier the wallow the better. The pig lies and rolls in the mud, which cools them down, but a added advantage is that it supplies ongoing sun protection as well as insect protection. Sprinklers aren't any good to us, as they keep the pig clean and then they get sunburnt.

Our day starts fairly early, as I get up and milk the cows first thing. Then we start the feeding. This is mostly done by hand, with only one lot of pigs on self feeders. We have several mobs of pigs. We have three boars, so we have three separate breeder mobs - there's about 50 sows altogether. We just about always have some weaners. These are the piglets taken off mum and kept separate for about 2 weeks. They then get moved to our Slips paddock. We call them slips because they aren't weaners and they aren't really growers, they just slip somewhere in between the two! We then have two grower mobs and two finisher mobs. We have two of each of these, as we separate our gilts (girls) from the boars (boys). A gilt is a female that has yet to have piglets. Once they have piglets they are called a sow. We also have several smaller paddocks with wet sows - wet meaning that they still have piglets on them.

We hand feed for a few reasons. One is that the pigs tend to eat too much on the self feeders and the other reason is the cost of the feeders to begin with! While we are feeding them, we top up their wallows and make sure their troughs are all working.

Then we have smoko!

Then we go out and check the wallows again - turning off any taps that we've left running and generally checking everything again. We can't afford to miss a pig, as they really do get stressed very quickly if they don't have a wallow. We do manage to get a few other jobs done before lunch, and that's usually when Lucy gets some bookwork done. Kim has to stay outside in the heat! Then it's lunch time and we then have a break - Siesta time! I like that the best!

Then mid afternoon it's back outside again - to check wallows and waters and get a few more farm jobs done before knocking off about 6.30/7pm. I'm looking forward to winter, the days are much shorter!!!

The hot weather means more work, however the recent rain did give us some respite. (a) it has been cooler, and (b) while it was raining and for a couple of days afterwards, we didn't have to worry about water. It's Murphy's Law that when it's hot and dry, you always have water and pump problems, so we are constantly starting pumps and finding troughs that are faulty and drain all the water and all sorts of things like that.

But photos like this make it all worthwhile.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Market and Delivery Schedule

I have just updated the Markets Page so please go and have a look at what dates we are near you!

We won't be going to the Calliope Markets until after mid year, as they clash with the Rocky market dates. We will deliver orders to the Gladstone Region the Saturday before the 1770 market. Please get this order in 2 weeks ahead please.

Southern Queensland deliveries will be during the week - the first week in February. I will advise the those regular customers of times and drop off points at a later date. We are hoping to deliver south every second month.

Emerald and the Central Highlands will have a monthly delivery (provided we get enough support). We will take orders, as well as stop for road side selling in Emerald, Moranbah, Dysart and Middlemount.

Theodore, Biloela and Baralaba area, orders need to be in as soon as possible to make the delivery date of the 24th January. Sorry for the short notice, but I've only just worked it all out.

If you would like to get me to put aside anything at any of the markets please send and email or a text message before hand. If it's a larger order, please order at least a week ahead.

If you would like to order but not sure when to do it by, just send the order in and I'll fit it in with the next available delivery date.

If you use the online order form, please make sure you hit submit. If you don't hear from me within a few days, it's advisable to email me, as orders don't always go through. If it's all to confusing just send me an email and tell me what you want!


Oh.....and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!!!!