Oliver from Langdale Farm talks to ABC Country Hour about his new processing room
As with many food preparation spaces, the new processing room had to be built to spec, in line with food laws and Council regulations. This is a tricky business. Between starting the process, drawing up the plans, building the thing and getting the final tick from the inspectors, the law changed and so did Oliver's understanding of what was required.
Going through this sort of regulatory process is not something a person will do many times in their life. Oliver would rather chew his own arm off than ever go through it again. All the legal requirements are difficult to understand. Liaising with everybody involved is hard to do - planning authorities, building surveyors, food hygiene inspectors, plumbers, electricians. Figuring out who is responsible for what paperwork, who has to do it and how much it's going to cost, is the stuff of nightmares. Oliver's had a few.
Luckily we've had a good relationships with the West Tamar Council's food inspectors, Megan, Rick and Jacob, since we began this business. Luckily we found a building surveyor who could upgrade Oliver's drawings for a fee he felt was payable. And luckily Oliver was determined to have a purpose-built space in which to work more freely. I was determined he should have that too - he's been making sausages in my kitchen for long enough now.
Having been a cabinet maker, Oliver built the room himself, from the stud walls to the floor, to the steel and chrome benchtops. He dug the trenchwork for the plumbing himself too. Oliver comes from a farming family where you do everything yourself and save on costs. It's an essential approach in a small farm business. There just aren't the funds to pay contractors big bucks for everything.
The chrome benchtops were going to cost a bomb if made locally to order. We didn't really like the idea of ordering them in from abroad, and they were no cheaper anyway. They finally came from Gumtree, and were a domestic kitchen that some bloke in Burnie was replacing. Oliver made the legs himself from steel, welding it all together using equipment he's sourced at farm auctions. He's nothing if not tenacious, is Oliver.
And now he's got his dream processing room. It's big and airy with ample space for fridges, storage and room to work. The benches are exactly the right height for him. Everything is to hand, rather than being stored in different spots around the premises, and he doesn't have to stop in time for the kids coming home from school.
Most importantly, ABC Radio National can burble away in the corner keeping Oliver company while he works. In case you missed it, here's a link to the Country Hour, with Oliver chatting to Rural Reporter for northern Tasmania, Laurissa Smith, all about bacon, sausages, and growing a small farm and food business - click on the ABC logo below.