Apologies for missing the January newsletter. We have been very busy on the farm and with our
markets, and time has simply slipped away!! Autumn is here and is a welcome relief from the hot, hot Summer we experienced
recently. Our pigs did very well despite the heat, as they have access to lovely, cool wallows, which we topped up daily
during the severe 40 plus temperatures. With the heat came bushfires, and although we did experience a fair amount of
smoke, we were lucky to be well away from any danger. Not so for many of our counterparts in other areas of Victoria,
and we wish them well during this most difficult re-building phase.
There has been a great deal of talk lately about free range pigs and more than a little confusion
over just what that means. We have long been aware of a certain brand pushing the free range pork barrow which does
not actually raise their growers outdoors. It does pay to read the fine print. Recent media articles pertaining
to this brand have highlighted that 'bred free range' does not necessarily mean the consumer is purchasing free range pork.
Pork labelled as "bred free-range" comes from pigs that spend their first 25 days outside before
spending 16-18 weeks indoors before slaughter. (Weekly Times 2009) http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2008/10/07/11875_business-news.html full article here.
Rest assured that our pigs are completely free range. We even have some out with the horses and
the cows, all species interacting comfortably together. Although we have not gone down the path of accreditation with
the Free Range Pork Farmers Association (read expensive during these difficult drought-stricken times), http://www.freerangeporkfarmers.com.au/becomeamember.html , we do adhere to our own very high standards of free range pig husbandry. Reading the Standards
set by Humane Choice, ( http://www.humanechoice.com.au/Standards/Humane%20Choice%20Standards%20August%2008%20specifics%20-%20Pigs.pdf ), we certainly are able to tick the boxes in terms of the care which our animals receive.
Animals should be allowed to satisfy their basic behavioural needs. In particular, livestock
are able to forage on land, move untethered and uncaged.
Fences, yards and housing are constructed in ways which do not lead to injury or bruising
as a consequence of poor design.
Farm systems shall ensure that the environment provided for pigs will permit safe, wholesome
A system of animal identification should be implemented to ensure full traceability of all
Care of the environment should be part of a responsible farm management plan.
Please visit the above link if you wish to become further educated on these standards.
The other issue which has raised our eyebrows somewhat, is the inclusion of 'moisture
enhanced' commercial pork in butchers' windows of late. Please be very aware that this technique introduces chemicals,
including nitrates, into the meat, in order to prolong shelf-life and prevent the meat drying out during storage and cooking.
King Valley Free Range Pork comes with it's own natural moisture-enhancing properties - we call it fat! Heritage
breeds, such as our own Large Blacks, are born with flavour; there is no need to artificially enhance our meat.
We do not use, nor will ever use, chemical nitrates in our charcuterie (bacon, sausages,
ham etc), let alone our fresh cuts of pork!!!
Due to recent correspondence we felt it was important to address these issues.
On a lighter note we have recently had 2 litters of piglets born. Petal farrowed her very first litter and is doing
very well as a first time Mum. Pitu, after a laborious end of pregnancy, which seemed to last forever, finally farrowed
and is happily mothering her little brood as well.
Some of our markets for April have been changed around due to Easter.
If you require pork for this celebration, you will need to order it early. We are happy to deliver to the local
area, or collection from the farm is available. Please note we are not able to attend the Moyhu market due to a clash
of dates with Collingwood.
Our next market is at Wodonga 4 April 2009
Saturday 11th of April at Collingwood 8:00-1:00
Sunday 12th of April Rutherglen 9:00-12:30 (TENTATIVE depends on the children's
Easter egg hunt!)
Saturday 18th of April at Wodonga
BORN WITH FLAVOUR
THE WAY PORK USED TO TASTE