WHAT WE DO
Whole pasture-raised animals
We source whole, pasture-raised livestock directly from farms committed to genuinely sustainable soil, plant and animal health. The animals live all or the majority of their lives outside, ranging freely in family groups on sustainably-managed pastures.
The farmers practice regenerative agriculture and use various natural systems for achieving optimum soil fertility, including rotational grazing and fostering plant diversity. They don’t use chemical growth promotants, pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides or prophylactic antibiotics.
Certification and rare breeds
About 70% of the farms are certified bio-dynamic, organic or Humane Choice Free Range. Those that aren’t certified conform to organic principles and meet the requirements listed below. We give preference to farms growing heritage or rare breeds of livestock. Different breeds suit different climates, environments and palettes and we support the Slow Food Ark concept.
The bodies arrive whole at our factory where we cut and pack to order. We’re committed to the traditional practice of dry ageing prime cuts (particularly beef) for up to seven weeks. We think the result is incomparable to meat that hasn’t been allowed to rest and settle in carefully controlled conditions.
Transparency and respect
We visit all the farms we work with to understand the unique characteristics and practices of each producer. Everything we sell is attributed so you can trace exactly where it comes from and every claim we make can be substantiated either by us, the producer or the certifying body.
We write regularly about the producers and issues affecting transparency in the food system and do our best to give our customers the information they need to make informed choices.
This is how we show our respect for the animal, the producer and you.
THE RULES WE FOLLOW
We do our best to offer as much information as we can about the production, treatment, transport and preparation of our produce.
All the produce and animals we sell:
- arrive whole, neither boxed nor packed in plastic;
- are traceable to clearly identified farms that welcome scrutiny;
- are chemical and hormone-free and not administered prophylactic antibiotics;
- live their lives on or with access to pasture;
- have the space and conditions to allow them to express instinctive behavior;
- are offered feed appropriate to their systems - no grain-fed regimes for ruminants;
- are not the product of intensive feeding regimes;
- arrive to us direct from the abattoir or farm.
Every attempt is made by our producers to practice low stress handling throughout the growth cycle and during the transport and processing of their animals.
Occasionally errant abattoir and/or transport practices can undermine the best practice of the producers and this will be reflected in the quality of the meat. We strive to minimise this through close liaison with transport and processing facilities.
UNPACKING THE JARGON
These terms get bandied about a lot so this is what WE mean when we say...
Animals live in family groups on pastures in low enough densities to allow for the expression of instinctive behaviour - running, sun bathing, scratching, rooting, wallowing, jumping, herding and so on. ‘Free Range’ conjures up images of animals gambolling on pastures and that’s exactly what it should be. Real ‘Free Range’ doesn’t happen in a shed.
Note: ‘Bred Free Range’ is a pig that was born outside, weaned at three weeks and then transferred to a shed in which only pigs of the same age live.
As soon as it was old enough to cope (or in some cases from birth), the animal has lived its life outside on pasture and not in sheds. This doesn’t mean having ‘access’ to pasture but actually eating, playing, grazing and often sleeping and birthing outside with access to adequate shelter to be used as required.
‘Pasture’ is what it means - extensive areas of grass and vegetation fit for grazing. Usually, animals are regularly rotated onto fresh pasture to allow soil and land regeneration and give animals regular access to fresh green pick.
Grass-fed and Grass-finished
The ruminant grazes freely on pasture throughout it’s life and is not the product of a feedlot/grain feeding regime. Grains, sprouted grains or silage are only used when there is insufficient fresh pasture available.
Note: Oddly, the MLA insists that domestic cattle are labelled ‘Grass Fed’ even if they have been finished in a feed lot on grain. The maximum time they are permitted to be on grain is 60 days for heifers and 70 for steers.
The farm operatew without the props of artificial herbicides, pesticides, fertilisers and hormone growth promotant. The farm is managed using practices designed to build and reinforce independent soil health, vitality and water carrying capacity with as few inputs as possible, thereby nurturing resilience and breaking dependency on expensive chemical treatments.
The farmers carry sustainable stocking densities that are responsive to season and low enough to allow proper animal welfare and for soil and pastures to remain healthy without the use of artificial inputs.
This word worries us as we feel it’s entirely subjective and open to manipulation. What is ethical for us may not be ethical for you and who are we to tell you what to think?
We’d rather leave the moral highground to the facts about food production and let them do the talking.
They’re much more persuasive than we are.