Tastiest meat in Victoria
ORGANIC farmers from Tarwin Lower have won the Victorian section of a prestigious Australia wide food competition.
Shane and Ann Blundy’s business Cherry Tree Organics succeeded in the ABC delicious magazine’s Produce Awards, a contest for farmers, producers and artisans to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to the food industry.
Cherry Tree Organics won the From the Paddock division from a pool of first class performers.
The Blundys raise organic beef and lamb on their property Cherry Tree Downs, and supply their own butchers shop, Cherry Tree Organics at Beaconsfield, as well as restaurants, butchers, IGA supermarkets, organic stores, the Collingwood Children’s Farm, and bakeries offering organic pies and sausage rolls.
“We are pretty happy to get this award,” Shane said.
“I like to think the produce award is test of what we have been doing with our breeding.”
The butchers shop has proven popular in just three years of operation, drawing on the Blundys’ 10 years’ experience in wholesale.
While the retail scene has trended towards organics in recent years, the Blundys have pursued organic farming methods for 20 years.
They started out by selling one lamb and a quarter of beef, and now produce 2500 lambs and up to 800 beef annually.
“We found the soil biology was not there anymore. We were drenching cattle, there was no life in the soil, no mushrooms, no worms, no frogs. All the signs of chemical warfare were happening here,” Shane said.
“Organic farming has given us the mushrooms, the frogs and the worms, and the soils are healthy.”
As a result, pasture is rich in nutrients and stock remain free of illness.
“We ourselves do not eat just one vegetable. We eat a balanced diet to get all the nutrients,” Shane said.
The Blundys fertilise pastures with rock and coal dust broken down over a year, and apply rotational grazing to maximise pasture use without overgrazing.
“We are just doing what has been happening for a million years. We have not invented anything new,” Shane said.
British breeds such as Angus, Shorthorn and Hereford are run to produce fine textured meat with ample fat cover, while able to cope with the cold South Gippsland climate.
The breeds also tend to mature earlier, resulting in higher turnaround.
The Blundys were due to contest the national awards but a sample of their meat was not stored appropriately between leaving their hands and reaching the judges, and spoiled.
“It’s nice to get some acceptance of what you are trying to do. We are doing something different and a lot of people think organic is an inferior product. I’ve always thought it wasn’t,” Shane said.
The awards encourage, showcase and reward Australian producers, building awareness of culinary regions and recognising seasonal food that is produced with integrity.
A team of leading chefs identified the stand-out producers that made up the finalists, said delicious editor Danielle Oppermann.
“We all want to shop locally, know where our food comes from and support hardworking producers across regional Australia,” she said.
“With the help of our judging panel, made up of leading chefs and industry experts, we are bringing attention to outstanding products and exciting new ingredients.”
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