Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Final Post

I was going to shut down this Blog, but then I realised that I have recipes on here, as well as a history. So I decided to delete the pages that relate to the business that we once had. A business that I'm still sad about having to stop. I tell myself  that it wasn't a failure, because we learnt so much and met so many wonderful people.

We haven't yet gone on our holiday, but will hopefully head off soon. There's always final jobs to get done on a farm! We will leave the farm in the capable hands of our daughter and head off into the wild blue yonder.......soon.

I have some really good recipes on the Recipe tab that I was worried about losing, so thought I'd keep that page open. Mostly for my own use, but if there's something there that you'd like to try, that's a bonus too.

Please support small farmers and especially regenerative farmers as much as you can. Follow me over on Healthy Farming Healthy Food, although I haven't updated it for ages - I keep saying that I'm waiting until we're on holidays and I have time....hopefully soon!

Much Love and Gratitude to you all xxx

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nearing the End.....

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to all those on my email list to inform customers that we would be ceasing business by the end of June. This was a really tough decision to make as we have loved being free range pig farmers. It has been a huge learning curve for us, and I really think I could write a book about it and about paddock to plate marketing.

Through this journey we've not only learnt alot, but we've met some wonderful people. Some of those we've been their first point of contact with eating real food. Food farmed the way it should be. I have been a big advocate of the ethical farming of animals and also the ecological farming of land. Both these are needed to be run in conjunction to enable healthy food. We've seen our land change rapidly once we put pigs in the paddocks. Paddocks that grew very little grass as it was poor sandy soil, now has a large range of grass and other plants.

We will always farm animals in this way, just not to the scale we have over the last few years. It's been a lot of years of very hard work. We've put a lot of money into it, but we just haven't been able to really make it work. Unfortunately we are not alone. There are quite a few other free range pig farms that have succumbed over the last couple of months. Please consider this when you next tuck into a feed of bacon and eggs. Ask your butcher, your cafe, where they source their bacon and eggs from. Please support small scale local producers where ever you can. We don't do it because we think we'll get rich, we do it because we hope we'll make a living doing something that we love doing and that others may get a direct benefit from.

We had thought that we'd keep going with the markets until June, but we made the decision recently to bring it forward. We will have two more markets before Easter and then on Easter Monday we take our final load of pigs to the abattoir for Sunshine Coast Organic Meats. This will signify the end. It's actually very fitting, because Sunshine Coast Organic Meats was right there at the beginning. They were the first butcher to take us on and have stuck with us right to the end. Different owners, but both lots have been incredible to work with. Chris and Jono who own it now, are just great blokes, so if you're down that way, continue to support them as they continue to support farmers!

Markets, and please note that these are not my usual weekends, so in Rocky I may be at a different spot:
  • Saturday 30th March at Yeppoon Community Markets
  • Sunday 31st March at Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark Markets
And then.....
  • Saturday 13th April at Yeppoon Community Markets
  • Saturday 13th April at Benaraby Turnoff for Gladstone area - 2.30 to 3.30pm
  • Sunday 14th April at Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark Markets

I'm now looking forward to a long holiday before we work out our next plan. We will still continue to run cattle on our property at Baralaba and Chloe will be looking after things here while we head off for a bit. If you want to keep up with what I'm up to when we are done, please follow my personal facebook page, as I will be closing down the Dawson Valley Page after Easter. You should be able to find it on this link I hope. Lucy's Farm Kitchen or if you enjoy reading blogs, I'm hoping to spend a bit more time blogging at Healthy Farming Healthy Food

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

February Markets

Not sure what's going on with this weather - crazy weather up north and we're still missing out. It's been cloudy for days and you think it's just got to rain but no......it doesn't rain in a drought!

Anyway, we're a lot better off than some people so shouldn't really complain.

We do still have some green grass down on the banks of the Dawson River Annabranch.

We've had our first market for the year and it was great to see everyone again and a few new faces as well. We are back to our regular schedule with markets twice per month, based on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. First weekend will include a Gladstone run and the third weekend will include an Emerald run if we can get enough orders.

Next markets:

Saturday 16th February in Yeppoon - 6 -10am
Sunday 17th February in Rockhampton - 6-12pm
Sunday 17th February Emerald delivery - 4.30 - 5.30pm at the bridge.

The Emerald delivery will be a trial to see how it goes. We'd prefer to only do the two markets each month, so this delivery is a compromise. I will need to have enough pre-orders to make the trip worthwhile, so please get orders in as soon as possible, but by Wednesday the 13th at the latest. We will have Pork, ham, bacon, goat, beef and mutton (no lamb sorry).

Please remember if you would like a different cut of meat to what we usually do, then please ask in advance and I can organise the butcher to do it. Next market we'll have the old style nitrate free bacon back, so if you want some of it, it may be best to order it as I don't know how much I'll have. We ran out of bacon last weekend so I'm hoping to have more this time.

Cheers for now,


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

Another year has begun and we're already down a week! I hope you all had a very happy and peaceful holiday period. We had a quiet and very relaxed Christmas. A very small family at our house this year so no fuss and luckily not too much farm work either. We got a great new years present with our youngest son coming home for a month or so. He will look after things for us so that we can get away for a few weeks. We head off in less than a week and won't be back until the end of January - just in time to get myself organised for the first markets of the year.

First Weekend in February will be our first markets:

Saturday 2nd February - Yeppoon Community Markets at the Showgrounds - from 6 to 10am
Saturday afternoon I will head to Gladstone - Benaraby Turnoff - between 2.30 and 3.30pm
Sunday 3rd February - Rockhampton Kern Arcade Carpark Markets - 6am -12pm

We will have beef, pork and goat - sorry the lambs aren't big enough yet. I'm pretty sure I will have some pigs heads available too, so if you are keen to make some brawn or put some crab pots in or just use to feed your dogs, please email me to get me to hold one for you.

New Butcher Processing
We have had a topsy turvy processing for the last year. From this market onwards, we will have a new butcher doing the processing for us. He is based in Monto - Millers Gourmet Meats. Initially we will still have some bacon and salami coming from the current/old butcher and this will continue to come from him for a little while. We will however eventually have bacon from the new butcher and this will be very similar to the bacon we used to do. So, our nitrate free bacon and ham will be like the old style stuff that is a lot browner. I know that some of you will be quite pleased to have it back again! I'm not sure how long it will take to phase out of the more recent bacon, but I'll let you know when the old style bacon is going to be back!  We appreciate the efforts that Des from Barritt's Butchery in Bundaberg went to for us and our processing, but we've made the decision to move to Millers as Monto is closer and much more practical for us.  Sadly though, we won't have Italian Sausages as they were Des's recipe. We will just have our regular paleo snags and will have some fat and some thin ones - both in beef and pork.

Frequent Free Range Group
A few people have pulled out of this or put it on hold, so if you are one of those that stopped in 2018 and would like to start up again, please email me. If you haven't been a FFR but would like to, please read all the details here and then send me an email with your details. I will be doing ALL free rangers this weekend - all fortnightly, monthly and Gladstone FFRr's. I've already organised the first processing with Millers and won't be able to change it as we'll be going away, so no special orders will be available, just the regular cuts we usually do.

Gladstone customers please get your orders in as soon as you can. Because I'll be away, I may not respond immediately. I will most likely leave all responses until I get back. Sometimes if I respond on my phone, when I'm back on my laptop, I don't always "see" the email so easily and it can get lost. If I leave the emails unread, I know that I need to attend to them. 

I won't have any fresh ham for this first market, however I do have quite a bit of both types of ham in the freezer here - all sliced and in the regular packs. If you would like some, it will be half price but you'll need to pre-order it so that I can bring it in. I will do my best to keep it frozen so that you can then re-freeze it. I also have 3 pieces of ham - 2 nitrate free and 1 conventional, and not frozen - useby 29/01/19. They're are around 1.7 kgs each and I'll sell them for $40 - approx $23.50/kg. I can bring them into Rocky tomorrow to drop off or if you're in the Baralaba area, you can come and get one. If you're in Rocky, please email me with your phone number and whether you'd like NF or conv and I will need to know by tonight - Tuesday 8th January.

Looking forward to the start of another busy year. But especially looking forward to the rest of January and a break away for us! Seeyou next month!