Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Change to market date

They say it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.......so I did. I told everyone last weekend in Yeppoon and Rockhampton that I wouldn't be back for  a month. I changed my mind and decided that I would go again on my usual day - the first weekend of the month, which is next weekend the 3rd and 4th of October.

I will however, only have pork, ham and bacon. We will have beef and goat on the following trip, which will be the 17th and 18th October. That weekend will also be a delivery for Gladstone customers, so please get your orders in as soon as possible for that weekend.

This might be a good recipe to try out - all the vegetables are in season and locally grown (except the mushrooms) at the moment, so pick up some while you are at the markets.

Pork Ratatouille Bake

Diced Pork - approx 1kg
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
500 g tomatoes, pureed or chopped (substitute 2 tins crushed tomatoes)
1 red or yellow capsicum, chopped
200 g mushrooms, roughly chopped
300g zucchini or button squash, chopped
Mozzarella cheese

Sauté onion and garlic in butter or lard until softened. Add pureed tomatoes. Simmer until thickened - may need to add more liquid (eg red wine or chicken stock if it looks like drying out), add chopped basil and sit aside while preparing the rest.

Brown the Pork in batches.

In a shallow baking dish, layer the vegetables and pork. Top with the tomato sauce, then place sliced or grated mozzarella on top.

Cover with Foil and Bake in a 200o oven for 15 min. Remove foil, turn heat down to 180o and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until cooked.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Farm Interships and Farm Holidays

Well, we have come to a point in our business that we have been concerned about for a while. We no longer have an endless supply of Backpacker helpers coming to work on our farm.

We have been fortunate over the last few years to meet some really lovely young people who have come into our lives for short periods and have won a piece of our heart. If an overseas tourist is in Australia on a working holiday visa  and they spend 3 months working in regional and remote Australia, they are eligible to apply for a second year working holiday visa. We have had many people come to us for this reason. We have offered them accommodation and food in return for their labour and the signing off on their visa form. We have gained so much more than simply labour! We have gain some (hopefully) life long relationships, we have had the joy of having young people sharing our home and our lifestyle, we have had the pleasure of seeing these young people go from "townies" to country kids in a few short months. We hope that we have taught them a little about how important good food is to the health of their bodies and minds and that they will go on to influence others.

Some of our helpers have come from a life in the city at university or work, where they have had little or no exposure to animals, dirt and dust and physically hard work! They have learnt to drive quads, tractors and even cars. They have learnt to care for sick or injured animals. They have learnt to put up with the dust and heat of summer and the cold, windy days of winter. Even though most of them come from places where there is snow, they still find it cold on a winters morning getting up to feed the pigs. They have mentally and physically challenged themselves. They have worked without complaint alongside us and sometimes they have been quite long days.

Most of them have come to us as they had heard stories of people being mistreated when fruit picking, or they just didn't really want to do that sort of work and thought it would be better to work for nothing and be looked after than work very hard and not be treated well. We even complained on their behalf to the media hoping that things would change in the fruit/vegie picking industry and they would be treated better. The only result was that the government decided that voluntary labour should no longer be accepted as eligible for the second year visa application. This is going to affect a lot of farmers. Most of the farmers that use this form of labour, do it so that they can keep their cost of production down. Producing sustainable or organic food is a lot more labour intensive than conventional food and it therefore costs more to produce. It is very difficult for us to compete with the Colesworth model but unfortunately we do

We have worked on an Internship / Farm Holiday program to enable us to encourage people to come to our farm to help us out. We will exchange their labour for a great learning experience and some really good food and accommodation. If you could share this post and the website, I would greatly appreciate it.

As I was finishing this post, Edmund walked in with the mail. There was a parcel from two of our recent helpers - Loum and Marie (these are gifts from their home regions in France). This is what they sent us and so I suppose that shows how much people enjoy their time with us. These two girls were very special, (as are all our helpers) and it just makes me sad to think that we may not have the pleasure of sharing our life with others.

Please have a look at our website and share it with anyone that you think might be interested in taking up one of our options for a cultural exchange! We've called it Farm Internship Australia. This experience is aimed at people wanting to complete an internship with us, have a tree change learning experience, or a working farm holiday. I do use the word holiday loosely, because it won't be a holiday, people will come here to work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Market Time

Markets are on again in Yeppoon and Rockhampton this weekend coming - 19th and 20th September. I will be doing a delivery run to Gladstone area on Saturday. It's too late to order anything for the Gladstone run, but if you would like to come along and see if there's anything you would like to get that will be fine, or send me a text message Saturday morning to put something aside.

Saturday 19th September - Puma Service Station, Calliope Crossroads. From 1 - 2 pm.

We will only have beef and pork this weekend. Our goats and sheep have slowed growth down over the winter and I think they are waiting for the pasture to freshen up before they start growing again! One of the pitfalls of grassfed meat is that the few months from about May to September are very slow grass growth months and therefore the animals growth slows down to. Our beef cattle are in short supply too!

We would normally be at the markets in the two weeks following this one (first weekend in October), but we are going to cancel it. Therefore the next market following this weekend, will be in a month, which will be the 17/18 October. This will be a Gladstone Area delivery as well and we should have Pork, Beef and Goat available.

Don't forget that we now sell Soap, Bone Broth, Lard, Pet mince and Pet bones. I should have all these available for sale this weekend. Unfortunately I won't have salami as it didn't get made, but hopefully we will have it for the October market - salami, beer stick and chorizo.

Seeyou all soon,

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Who knows what Tri-tip is? I didn't until we started selling it, as it's a cut that we never used to keep when we killed our own meat. It's a small triangular piece of beef off the end of the sirloin. I decided to do some research on it and this is what Wikipedia had to say about tri-tip. It's most widely known in Santa Maria, California and I adjusted this recipe.  Our pieces are usually around a half kg and are perfect for a one or two person meal. It is  a very lean piece and as long as it's not overcooked, will be tender and juicy. We'll have two this weekend so if you want to give it a go let me know.

Santa Maria style Tri-tip with salsa
This is traditionally served with beans however because I was going to have the oven on I did oven chips. It went together beautifully.

I piece of Tri-tip
Dry rub - do this several hours before cooking if possible.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds - toasted in a dry frypan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the spices and garlic together and rub into the meat. Allow to rest in the fridge.

2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 capsicum, chopped - use yellow or green for contrast
1/2 stick celery, chopped fine
Handful of coriander, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 or more chillies depending on how hot you like it.
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce - I didn't use this because I didn't have any
Mix together and let rest for an hour if possible.

Put the chips in the oven. Brown the beef in a hot pan, on all sides. Place in the oven with the chips. The meat shouldn't take more than 20 minutes in the oven, so I will leave it to you to judge your oven heat and the timing for the chips to be cooked at the same time as the meat. The oven I was using is hotter than mine at home, so my chips were cooked way before the meat!

It was a really nice way to cook and serve this beef, and the half kg piece was perfect for Kim and I.