Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last market for the Year

What a year it's been! Kim and I have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride with this business. Our production problems have caused quite a bit of stress so I can't wait for the year to finish so we can catch our breath and take some time to get some planning done. Things are traditionally quiet after Christmas so we should get a chance to get our pig numbers up and hopefully for supply to meet demand.

We will have our final market for the year this weekend. We will have pork, beef, goat and a small amount of lamb. I'm really sorry that we couldn't do Christmas hams, but we are going to work very hard to have them next year. 

Gladstone customers I am not doing orders, due to too many mistakes in the past. I would love it if you could come out to the Benaraby turnoff under the shady trees (where we used to meet) on Saturday afternoon to select your own meat. 

Yeppoon Community Markets - Saturday from 6 - 9.30am
Gladstone - Saturday 2 - 4pm at the Bernaraby turnoff. 
Rockhampton - Sunday 6am - 12pm

I would like to take this opportunity to thankyou all for your wonderful support this year and I hope that you will have a happy time over the Christmas break. I know that Kim and I are looking forward to two weeks away over Christmas. We are catching up with all our kids while we leave the farm in the very capable hands of Mick. 

A few last minute things to note:

  • We will be starting up next year on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of January - will be doing Rocky, Yeppoon and Gladstone.
  • In 2017, Blue truffle will once again be using our ham (after that market). Please support them as they are great supporters of local producers. 
  • Please remember that we sell lard soap - it's been very popular this year so why not have it available for your guests over Christmas.
  • I will also have Lard and Bone Broth available for sale this weekend - there are so many ways to incorporate bone broth into your cooking over summer - just ask me!
  • We are trying to go plastic bag free, so please bring back your bag from last month, or bring your own bag. In this heat a cold pack bag might be a good option.
  • I've decided to do a couple of Christmas specials:
Buy at least 3kg of BBQ meats and get 10% off. Must be mixed cuts and not all steak. Eg pork steaks, pork chops, beef steaks, mince - pork or beef, sausages, ribs of any kind. 
Buy 2 packs of sausages and get the following discounted price: Paleo Pork or Beef $16/kg and Gluten Free Preservative Free for $12/kg.

Once again, thank you for your continuing support of our business. It is greatly appreciated and we look forward to being able to continue to provide pasture raised pork, grass fed and finished beef, goat and maybe lamb in 2017.

Cheers,Lucy and Kim

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November Markets and Meet Mick

It's almost that time of the month again - Market Time! We will be at the markets in Yeppoon on the 5th November and Rockhampton on the 6th November. We will have the usual Delicious Pork, Tender Beef and Tasty Goat.

A reminder that our pigs are true free range. They spend every day from birth to the day they are taken to the abattoir, outside. They enjoy being able to display their natural piggie behaviours. They eat grass, dig in the mud and generally have a pretty chilled out lifestyle. They do eat a grain ration, but we ensure that it is well balanced and doesn't include any nasty gmos.

Who's been enjoying our beef? I'm not sure that everyone is aware that we sell beef, and that it is our own grass fed and finished beef. We are actually certified organic with our cattle and goats, although they lose certification once they are killed because our abattoir and butcher facilities are not organic certified. We finish our beef cattle on leauceana., which is a fodder tree that is high in protein and cattle do very well on it.

I've been really enjoying slow cooked brisket lately. I do a Mexican flavoured version to have with tortillas and I've done a curry coated one for a curry night and this one below I did a little while ago and it to was delicious! We will have brisket at the markets, so why not give this recipe or another one a go.......

Slow cooked Brisket

2kg piece of DVFR Beef Brisket
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup of tomato puree
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon french mustard
chilli to taste
1 cup water or bone broth

Mix all the ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cover and bake in a very low oven for most of the day. e.g. 140 for about 8 hours or 160 for about 6 hours. 

The goats prefer to eat shrubs and trees over grass, and I think that's why they have such a nice flavour, probably also why they are less tender and more suited to slow cooking. They too love leauceana, so we occasionally cut some and bring it home for them.

Back in Septemeber we employed Mick. He's a young fella from Brisbane who really wants to learn what it's like to be a farmer. It's so good to see such enthusiasm for farming and gives hope for the future of farming really. Anyway, Mick has joined us to learn as much as he can about farming the way we do - all things from paddock to plate. He will be helping with the markets this weekend, so you will get to meet him. 

Learning how difficult it is to work with animals..........

Learning how to make cheese...........(I was making tortillas for lunch while Mick stirred and stirred the cheese).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

October Markets

What a tough couple of months we've had - it's been a real struggle with not enough pigs. We took our eye off the ball at some stage and didn't realise what pigs we had in front of us. Pigs are funny things, there's about a 2 week period when they are perfect for selling - they get too big too quick and seem to take forever to get to the right weight, when in fact it's about 5 months from birth to sale. Anyway it's going to continue to be a struggle with numbers until Christmas and then hopefully everything will settle down and we'll have a nice steady supply.

We have  quite a few babies on mum and lots of piglets getting weaned, so hopefully if we can make sure the mums get pregnant again next year will be a beauty!!

So going forward we have decided that we will only do the one market per month. Therefore the first weekend of each month - October, November and December will be Yeppoon and Rocky Market weekends. We won't be doing hams this year either unfortunately.

We are having a great year grass wise - lots of showery weather lately and a very mild winter has meant that we have green grass just jumping out of the ground!

The goats are growing well and we'll be soon weaning about 30 kids and our 2 lambs. We've recently bought an Anglo Nubian billy to put over this years girls so we'll have a bit of cross breeding going on, hopefully to put a bit of size into our sale goats.

For the next market we'll have our delicious pork, tender beef, plenty of tasty goat and a small amount of lovely lamb. Just a reminder that I can no longer get the butcher to pack orders for me. I can try and put something aside if you want me to, but can't guarantee it, as I'll have to do it after the Yeppoon Markets. I may have to put a 2kg limit on NF bacon orders if I get too many requests. If you would like anything that I don't normally stock, please email me by Monday morning with your request.
Corned Beef - if you want nitrate free, please request it as we don't do it unless people ask for it.
Porterhouse Steak is one of our most popular beef cuts.
Pulled Beef Tortillas - home made tortillas are really easy and go great with pulled pork or pulled beef - the beef is brisket slow cooked all day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The post I didn't want to write!

This is the post that I really didn't want to have to write.........we will not be able to make it to the markets in September.  Kim and I have spent the last few weeks working out what pigs we will have going forwards and we are really going to struggle to have sufficient for our butchers and our market customers in the next month. The good news is, that by October, we should be able to go back to 2 markets per month. 

We've had many messages from you guys wanting to know what's going on and I promised I'd get something out this week. Thank you for your patience and I hope we will continue to get your support when we can finally start up again. If it's any consolation, it's tougher on us than you! Farming can be tough sometimes, and the culprits are usually the weather or commodity prices or something uncontrollable.  This lack of pigs is worse because the demand is there, but we just can't meet it. 

Thank you........and I must remember this quote.....

"Worrying doesn't take away tomorrows troubles, it takes away todays peace"

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hot weather, Cold weather, Wet weather......

We seem to get it all with the weather - hot, cold, wet - and we are never happy, especially when it's too dry! Recently we had some beautiful rain, but it was a tad too much on our pig paddocks and did cause some stock losses - just too much rain in too short a period and it was very cold as well! It is now absolutely glorious weather and so warm that we will get full benefit from the rain, which is unusual for winter rain events. Unfortunately for us (and our loyal customers), it was the hot weather last summer that is still having a dramatic effect.

With pigs, there is a condition called summer infertility. It is what it sounds like - pigs have trouble making babies when the weather is too hot. We thought it was just a boar thing, but on doing more research, we are finding out that it's a problem  for the sows as well. Without going into too much detail, the upshot is that when you have long hot summers like we did this/last year, you don't get many successful pregnancies. Our pigs are between 5 and 6 months old when we send them off to market - that is why it's affecting us now, and has been a problem for the last few months. We have a lot of babies on the ground now and hopefully this will continue going forward. We will also be doing some planning now to work out better ways to keep the breeding herd cooler during the summer to come.

Why am I telling you all this???? Well, we are going to have to cancel the markets in August! Yep, none! Hopefully by September we will have something available to take and that we'll be right from then onwards. I am so miserable about this because we have such a supportive customer base and I just hate not being able to supply you!

One of our many baby goats!

This is one of the leaky weirs we put in the creek following our work with Peter Andrews. These are simple log structures that slow down the water, to prevent further erosion. They are working really well. I've written more about them on my other blog. Healthy Farming Healthy Food

Friday, July 1, 2016


Life has been crazy busy lately! I'm sorry I'm getting this notice out a bit late, but better late than never! We will be at the markets in Yeppoon and Rockhampton this weekend. Yeppoon Community Markets 6-9.30 am and Rockhampton Kern Arcade Markets from 6-12pm.

Our pig numbers are still very slow to coming on - I don't think pigs like making babies in the heat and we had such a long hot summer! So we won't have a lot of pork this weekend. We will have beef, goat and lamb. Not a lot of lamb so it'll be first in first served. The lamb is from Brenda and Anthony Lipsys of Blue Sky Heritage Eggs fame. We bought a few wethers from them to put through the markets. This is the first one.

Amongst all the usual, we will have bacon bones and bacon hocks, broth bones, lard and dog bones.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that while the pig numbers are low and while we are still getting the meat processed at Monto, we will only be doing a market once per month. This will be for the next 3 months at least. So I'm really sorry about this inconvenience but unfortunately there's not much we can do about it.

I look forward to catching up with you on the weekend.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Who wants to be a farmer???

We've been lucky over the last couple of years having one or another of our sons home. Well one of them has been in South America for nearly a year and the other has just gone to England! We've also had a young local lad helping us at times too, and now that we don't get too many backpackers coming this way any more (thanks to the Governments 2nd year visa changes) we have decided to find someone  who wants to be part of our growing business.

I've long been a fan of Joel Salatin and his concept of getting young people into the farming industry. So we have decided to advertise and hopefully find ourselves a young wannabe farmer. We want someone who is as passionate about healthy living as we are, and would like to really get involved in a sustainable lifestyle and regenerative farm. The first twelve months will be like an apprenticeship, but we really hope that the successful person will want to hang around and help us grow the business. All going well, there will be an opportunity for that person to have some ownership within our current business model.

The position will be called a Farmhand and will be paid under the Pastoral Award. If you or someone else you know is interested in this position, please email me for an application package, or pop over and have a little look at our internship website as it gives a little more information about us and the farm.

Click HERE for a link to the website. OR my email is: dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com

Who wouldn't want to work with something as cute as these piggies....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Price increase and next market date

Next Market - 4/5 June - Yeppoon and Rockhampton

I've been spending some time in the office this week. It's a necessary evil, but one I don't get to do very often. We had an English backpacker here for a week so I left him feeding so I could catch up on bookwork. This has been quite depressing, as I've had to have a realistic look at our figures and work out what money we are making (or not) and what money we need to be making to enable us to keep going doing what we are doing. Farming is the same across all industries - the farmer gets the smallest share of any profit, and does the majority of the work! The dairy industry has highlighted how most farmers are price takers. We decided to opt out of that vicious circle, by producing  a product that we could market ourselves. Unfortunately the competition in the market by the bigger corporation farms mean that we still have the price dictated to us by market influences.

As I mentioned in my last post, we need to find another option for processing our meat. Monto Meats have been very good to work with and they have been our butchering facility since the beginning. There have been issues at times, with one of the main drawbacks being that they are 3 hours drive from us! I've investigated a few different options, but haven't yet worked out an alternative, so stay tuned for more on that front!

We haven't really been charging enough for our meat and so we haven't really been keeping on top of the cost of production. As I've mentioned in the past, the last price rise was due to an increased cost of packaging, and so we haven't had a price rise to reflect any increases in cost of production. Free range pig farming costs a lot more per pig than a large industrial shed. We do of course get more for our product, but because we produce so few animals, the individual cost per animal is also a lot more. Eg in a shed that houses thousands of pigs, the infrastructure (capital costs) can be shared across all those pigs. Their direct costs are less also as they are more mechanised. It's hard to have mechanised systems out in the paddock.

Basically, we have to charge more to enable us to survive financially. This next lot of market animals will still be processed at Monto Meats, and they will continue to do it until we can sort out an alternative. There packaging price will be double what it has been. We pay a price per kg dress weight, but the amount of packaged meat is a lot less than that, so a $2.50/kg increase in packing means approximately $4/kg increase in the end product. I have therefore re-worked the pricelist to reflect this increase and to put a little rise in our takings. I know that people think that by cutting out the middleman it should be cheaper, but basically we, and the butcher are the middle man and that middle bit still costs!

I have updated the price list - just click on this Link to Price List. While Monto Meats continues to do our meat, we won't be able to take big pre-orders. If you want a particular cut of meat, I can organise that, however I won't be able to get them to pack orders for me, so I can't really take them. I will have to put orders together on the Saturday morning in Yeppoon markets.

Please also note that now that we are now selling whole pigs to Daly's Quality Meats in Clinton, Gladstone and so we won't be delivering to Gladstone now. Please ask him for our pork and tell him that you are one of our customers. I'm not sure if he's doing grassfed beef, but if he's not, tell him that he needs too (I already have!). He often has goat too (not ours yet, but hopefully in the future it will be). Thank you so much to the Gladstone guys for your never ending support, it has been so greatly appreciated!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Long Weekends and Price increase warning

This weekend is a long weekend and Kim and I are actually going to have a weekend away! I'm so excited to be having a few days camping R&R at the beach.......and there is no internet service!!! So if anyone wants to order for next weekends markets, sorry, but it's too late! I won't be back in service until Monday, so you can still send an order through, it just won't be guaranteed to be filled until I get the meat on the weekend.

The markets are on NEXT weekend, which is the 30th April and the 1st May at Yeppoon and Rockhampton respectively. This is also a long weekend, so hopefully everyone is going away this weekend and will be around for the next to come and stock up on meat. We'll have Pork, Beef and Goat this time.

We will be making some changes to the prices and the ordering process after this market. We have been forewarned by our butcher that he will be increasing the price of meat processing considerably. As yet I don't know how much it will be, or if we will even be remaining with this butcher. However, even if we change butchers, it will be costing us considerably more to process the meat. The last price increase I did was due to a change in processing cost, so I actually haven't had a price increase for some time to cover our cost of production increases. It costs a lot more to raise free range pigs as it is more labour intensive per pig than the conventional sheds and we don't have the economies of scale to enable us to run big numbers and spread the overhead costs out. We also don't have an endless supply of cheap backpacker labour any more.

To be blunt, we need to be charging more for our pork or else we won't be in business. We are just about to undertake an expansion in pig numbers, which will involve putting in more fencing and we will need to be able to employ someone to help us. If we can run more pigs we should be able to improve our bottom line, which will hopefully help us to keep producing our tasty pork.

If you are also travelling this weekend or next, please stay safe and enjoy your time away.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ordering Time Again!

First of all, I must remind people that we are going to be missing a market this month. We won't be in Yeppoon or Rockhampton until the 30th April and the 1st May respectively. Gladstone delivery will be on the 30th April - 2-3pm at Puma Service Station, Calliope.

We will have Beef, Goat and Pork available for sale this time. The pork is still a little short in supply, so if you would like to order, it may make it easier for me to work out how many pigs to take over. Please do this as soon as possible.

The demand for our product has increased over the last 6 - 12 months and we are still trying to breed enough pigs. We sell pigs regularly to butcher shops in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and because this is every week, it's a constant job to make sure we have the pigs we need for them. As well as butchers, we supply packaged meat to Organic and Quality Foods and occasionally to Spar in Emerald. And of course the Blue Truffle in Rockhampton is supporting us by using our ham!

Unfortunately our market customers seem to be the ones that sometimes miss out while we keep the business customers supplied. For this I do apologise, and the only thing we can do is try and make our pigs reproduce quicker! That is not always so easy in a Free Range System, especially when it's hot. I think the pigs would rather be lying around in a wallow than getting lovey dovey!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Locavore Living

Over on my other blog healthyfarminghealthyfood.blogspot.com.au I've been writing about being a locavore. Head over there and read more about my locavore living experiences there. We had a locavore party at our farm last weekend and all the main ingredients were local, including a pig on the spit.

We want people to support us, and even though I've always been interested in a local food industry, I've become even more passionate about supporting, not only local farmers, but local businesses as well. I love the fact that I go to the markets every two weeks (approximately)and can pick up all my vegetables there at the same time. I do buy some non-local produce, but that is mostly onions and potatoes and other "treat" type fruits and veg that I can't get locally.

I will be at the Yeppoon and Rockhampton markets this weekend coming - 2nd and 3rd of April, so come along and support us, as well as some of the other great local farmers and those other stalls that make local "things" - soaps, candles, food, relishes and jams etc etc.......

We will have pork, bacon and ham available - plenty of it this weekend! There will be a little bit of beef that will be discounted, and unfortunately no goats! With Easter being in the middle of the two markets, there wasn't an opportunity to get beef or goats processed for this market. We will have everything next market. Next market will also be the Gladstone delivery weekend, so Gladstone customers, please get your orders in as soon as possible to make my planning easier.

Cheers for now,

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Reminder of Markets

Just a reminder that I'll be delivering to Gladstone next weekend - 19th March. Meeting place will be Puma Service Station, between 2 and 3pm. If this time doesn't suit, please contact me and see if we can arrange something else.

Yeppoon Community Markets will be Saturday the 19th March and Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark markets on Sunday the 20th.

PLEASE get pre-orders in by this Sunday night.

Just a note, if you have subscribed to receive emails from this webpage, please do not hit reply to make your order, please order by clicking this link: dawsonvalleyfr@bigpond.com And if you have subscribed and you also receive an email from me direct, please reply to that one and tell me to take you off my email list.

We are having a few supply issues again with pigs, as some of you will have noticed last week. This weekend we should have plenty of bacon again and hopefully more roasts, loin chops and belly roasts! We will also have some more delicious "organically" farmed beef and goat - all grass fed and grass finished! Please remember that we are not certified organic with our meat, but we farm the animals without the use of chemicals etc. The pigs are fed non-organic grain, however because we mix it ourselves, we ensure there is no GMO's and other nasties.

Dawson Valley Free Range is the only local farmer with locally produced meat, that attends these markets in CQ. We are very grateful for the support we receive at these markets and if you are ever dis-satisfied, please don't hesitate to let us know........

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Markets in March

The year is just flying past.....I have so much I need to do and so little time to do it! It's market time again this weekend, so if you are in Yeppoon or Rockhampton, come along on Saturday or Sunday respectively and get some of our meat.

We will have the usual Beef and Goat, but limited cuts of pork. Our pig numbers were down a little bit so for this market we will have plenty of bacon, but no loin chops, belly roasts, butterfly steaks or spare ribs. We will only have a little bit of ham, roasts, usa ribs (plenty), shanks (who's tried these?), mince and diced.

Next market, which is scheduled for the 19th and 20th of March, we will have plenty of pork available again (they've grown a little bit more!) Also, a reminder for GLADSTONE customers - please get your orders in as soon as possible, as your delivery is on that same weekend. I only have one order so far, and so I will need a lot more if I'm to go down there. I would love it by Sunday if possible, as that will make it easier for me to work out how many pigs I will need to take to the butcher next week.

Good News!!! Blue Truffle is now using our ham, so please go along and support them (and us). I think it's really exciting to see a local establishment using local meat - even more so because it's our local meat! They are also one of the best places to eat in Rockhampton, so even more reason to go along and support them!

Remember by supporting us, you are helping to support a local food economy as well as supporting ethically raised and sustainably farmed meat. I'll finish this post off with some pictures taken recently - the pigs are loving the green grass!
Weaners out in the paddock

a fairly new mum sitting up to have a chat with me

the Dry sows at feed time. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

February update

We have had some absolutely lovely rain! It did mean a mix up with the markets - Rocky one week and then Yeppoon the following week (last weekend). The travelling for two weekends in a row, makes me realise that I don't think I could do weekly markets - I just don't get enough work done at home!

We've got heaps of grass, which the pigs are really enjoying! It's amazing how much grass they eat - they are like cows when they get into a new paddock - head down and munching. Lovely to see.....
We ended up with 250mm of rain over about 10 days and when it comes like that, a lot of it soaks in. Our dams did fill too and the Dawson River is running, so there is no shortage of water, which is lucky because it's coming in hot again and we need to keep the wallows up to the pigs.

I will be in Rocky and Yeppoon again this weekend. If you would like to put an order in, there is time if you do it by 7pm. I will then finalise the list and send it to the butcher. I'm really sorry, but there won't be any belly's or spare ribs, they've all been ordered. We should have plenty of other meat, although no goat this week either.

I also must regretfully let Gladstone people know that I couldn't get down there this weekend. I'm really sorry, but we will work towards the third weekend in March, so if you are from Gladstone and would like to put an order in, please do so immediately.

Oh, and good news.......the Blue Truffle will be using our ham after this weekend!!! So please support them, they have been trying to get me to supply them with meat for ages and we've finally managed to get them some. It's difficult for small producers to supply restaurants, but both the Blue Truffle and Us have been trying to work together for a while....Restaurants that support local producers need to be supported too.

Just a reminder if you are going to order, there is no longer an order form, please email me with your requests. There's a link here.

Friday, February 5, 2016

It's raining, it's pouring, all the pigs are snoring!

We are currently getting some absolutely beautiful rain......well, it was beautiful. I don't like to sound like I'm not appreciative, but we've probably had enough now thanks! It has been lovely though and I must say that the temperature has finally dropped and it's even quite pleasant. So far we are up to about 250mm.

One of the drawbacks to all this rain however, is that I will not be going to the Yeppoon markets tomorrow (Saturday 6th February). At this stage I still hope to come into Rocky for the Kern Arcade Carpark Markets on Sunday. This will be good for Rocky customers, as it means that you will have first choice of all the meat for a change. We will have beef, goat, pork, bacon and ham, so Rocky customers will get the prime cuts that usually get taken by all the Yeppoon people.

If....the rain continues and the roads become or are likely to become unpassable, I will postpone the trip for a week. Which means I will come in next weekend - Saturday and Sunday 13/14th February.

Please "Like" our facebook page to be kept up to date - as I will post on there what I am up to tomorrow. Hopefully this link will take you there, if not just search for us.  Dawson-Valley-Free-Range

Two of the sows enjoying the rain and green grass.

The finisher pigs trying to get out of the rain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Changes to ordering + a yummy meal idea

I have just changed the ordering process......the online form has not really been good for me - I find that I miss more orders than I get and it's just not worth it. So, if you would like to order, you have two options - Email me with the list of what you want or email me and ask for an order form. If we ever build a proper web site, I'll have another go at an online ordering system. You can click on the Pricelist tab to see what sort of cuts are available and the prices.

ALSO....I will be in Yeppoon/Rockhampton on the 6/7th of February. I have decided that after my sell out over last weekend, that I would do two markets in February, so I'll be there in less than 3 weeks. Please order ASAP if you intend ordering.

Last weekend I was in Rockhampton for the markets and I stayed with my sister Rita. It's always a great chance to catch-up and as usual, we spent most of our free time talking about food, or eating food. This is a common thing with all my family when we get together as we are all foodies. Rita and I are on the same wave length with our food philosophy and we really enjoy cooking together - well I enjoy cooking with her because she's one of those people that clean as they go...and I am not!

My first night in town (Friday night) I walked through the front door into a cloud of deliciousness - spicy Mexican flavours.....yum.....Burrito's for dinner! Rita is a fan of the Skinny Mixers and so the mince was cooked in the thermomix and she was still rolling out the burritos, previously mixed in the thermomix. These burrito's were different to the ones I usually make as Rita reckons that they freeze and defrost better. I will have to compare and maybe that will be another post. Either way, home made burritos are so much nicer than store bought (obviously....)

Saturday night we cooked pork shanks. These are so under-rated! I always have heaps left so I thought I'd show Rita how nice they can be. We used a recipe from the Skinny Mixers, A Little Taste of Asia "Sticky Szechauan Pork Belly". Only we used pork shanks and didn't do it in the thermomix. I won't give you the actual recipe, because it's well worth buying the e-book yourself (if you do have it, just do the ingredients for the stock). It was basically soy sauce, sugar, ACV, ginger, garlic, onion, star anise, cinnamon stick, szechuan peppercorns, cloves, cummin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander root and stems, and water.

Poor over the shanks, cover and place in a moderate oven for about an hour. Turn them around a bit and cook for another 1/2 hour covered. Then remove the cover, crank up the heat and cook for another 1/2 hour (2 hours in total should do it!) - this time, try and stand the shanks up so most of the rind is out of the sauce so that it can kind of crackle up. Drain off the sauce and place in a saucepan to thicken with a little corn or arrowroot flour.

Cut the meat off the bones for serving. We served ours with rice cooked in the thermomix and some fresh out of the garden vegetables that were steamed in the varoma while the rice cooked. One of our bigger shanks is enough for two people. Leftovers are always good if you do more.

This was simply DELICIOUS!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back to work

We had a "kind of" break over Christmas - we had a two week spell from having to take pigs to Biggenden and we also had two of our kids around to help out, so Kim and I did manage to get two days of doing very little! Bliss!!!!

Now it's time to start up again. Our first market for the year is coming up - Yeppoon 16th January and Rockhampton 17th January. However, once again, we are a little short of pigs and other animals too for that matter, so we'll do one market in January and one market in February. We won't be going to Gladstone until the 20th February, sorry guys!

We will only have pork available for the January market, but hope to have beef and goat for the February one. Demand for our pork has continued and we are still having trouble keeping enough pigs to sell direct to our customers through the local markets. It's a good problem to have, however makes it frustrating trying to keep everyone happy all the time.

We have recently received some rain - almost an inch all up, so once again there is a green pick. This has been the usual thing lately - we get enough rain to get some green grass and then it comes in hot and it burns the grass off. The last rain event did bring some much needed rain to a lot of farmers and graziers west of us, so that was really good!  The pigs are enjoying the green grass and are usually seen contentedly grazing over the paddocks - when they are not trying to cool down in a mud wallow.

See you soon,