"This place and this farm is now part of our identity as a family. We've worked incredibly hard to build our herd and our business. It is nothing short of heartbreaking to think of it being gone overnight, and the farm falling silent."
It's been a turbulent week. On Tuesday we heard that JBS, the conglomerate that runs the abattoir we use at Devonport, would close on 15th November.
Just use another abattoir, you might think? Well, no. There is only one abattoir in the north of Tasmania which handles pigs. There is an abattoir at Cressy, which is a suitable distance away from our farm and well placed for the sector just south of Launceston, but it has Halal certification which is important part of its business, so it doesn't slaughter pigs.
This leaves us high and dry. There is really no viable alternative that we could use. To our knowledge there are a couple of small abattoirs in the south of the state, but that is far too great a distance to transport pigs. We could not afford the travel time it would take to get there and back once a fortnight. It would add a time and financial cost to our business that lessened its already parlous viability. And it would be a completely unacceptable practice to us - we choose to farm and keep our livestock as kindly and ethically as we can and we do not want to transport them long distances before slaughter.
For this reason we would not go for the alternative that some larger farms might, of shipping our pigs across the Bass Strait to be slaughtered on the mainland. What an appalling thought.
We launched our Chorizo sausage earlier this year, and have been playing with other flavours that complement its lovely warm paprika notes - smoky but not too hot!
For the summer months, we’ve come up with this zingy salad to tempt, refresh and nourish! Perfect for a bite to eat at a market, or a light lunch.
First make the dressing. Combine all ingredients except sour cream and whisk or shake in a jar. Then slowly whisk in the sour cream.
We've been searching for a product to create from our free range Wessex Saddlebacks, which will do justice to the magnificent breed and its outstanding pork.
So we had some nitrate-free ham and bacon made for us by a specialist butcher in Deloraine.
Very excited, we took delivery of our trial batch last night and sampled it here at the farm.
It is sensational. The ham is a beautiful light pink and has a subtler smoky flavour that we've achieved previously, which allows the flavour of the ham to come through. And there is none of that salty tang you get with standard pork. After rushing outside to photograph it in the last light of the day, we rushed back in to make pizzas with it, complementing it with big blobs of buffalo mozarella. Transported to Naples in one mouthful.
We plan on producing a large batch of ham and bacon and sausages, all nitrate-free, once monthly. We will sell it at one market only and by delivery to the West Tamar valley and Launceston. Bulk supply to the Hobart region is under investigation.
If you would like us to reserve a ham for you to collect this Sunday at Evandale, please ring us on 03 6396 1481 - strictly first come first served.
Each ham is around 1.5kg, boneless and priced at $29 / kg. All our pigs are pure bred Wessex Saddleback, farmed free range here in the Tamar Valley.
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Our sincere thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest in these products over the past couple of weeks - your encouragement has cheered us on and helped us to persevere in finding the right path for our little farm business. It's much appreciated!