We care about where our food comes from, how it's produced and reducing food wastage so it was a no brainer to get on board the #giveafork campaign!
Throughout the month of April, we are championing our local pork producers Belinda and Jason Hagan – McIvor Farm Foods in Tooborac – http://www.mcivorfarmfoods.com.au/ who go 'beyond free range' and make conscious decisions on how they regenerate and nurture their soils.
Our pork dish also uses cauliflower stalks – traditionally thrown away in commercial kitchens – to make a creamy cauliflower puree, complimenting the sweetness of the Berkshire pork fillet, belly and shoulder.
Masons will donate $2 for every McIvor Farm pork main course sold over April which will go toward Sustainable Table's Food Education and Awareness Programs.
I asked Belinda what messages she would like to highlight this month. Here's a few words she would like to share with everyone:
I would like to touch on the confusion of terminology – outdoor bred, bred free range, free range, beyond free range, genuine free range – gosh how is a consumer suppose to keep up with all the jargon! The photos on marketing brochures and what you are really getting can be a little (or a big) difference at times!!
Supporting local – talking to the producer (not just the butcher or the major supermarket chain) will give you the real story, visiting Farm Tours/Open Days to see it with our own eyes (even better – but not always possible).
Then there is free range and free range! That is why we came up with the term 'beyond free range' – hoping that customers would ask what do we mean so we can be giving the opportunity to explain. Many free range pork producers put their pigs into paddocks – think the pigs have the best life and don’t consider the environmental impact to the land.
This is why McIvor Farm Pork is different and we do ‘Give a Fork' (a very big pitch-fork…so we are soil-orientated). Our whole system is derived from what is the best for the soil & the animal. Our holistic management has allowed us to let the 'pigs be true pigs' – plough the land for yummy roots & bulbs, fertilise the land with their manure, have pasture in the pigs diets so the dung beetles will work on burying the manure into the soil. We minimise the pigs ploughing to not ruin the plants & the root zones – so we move the pigs every 2-3 days. This disturbed land is then RESTED – which the ultimate key for us to build top-soil and environmental farming using animals.
McIvor Farm naturally farming systems allow the sow to be maternal – go and collect her own bedding & create her own nest reading for farrowing; piglets to budding up and go exploring with their friends to discover the world and play; and let the biology of the animal excel!
For local farmers and system that do ‘Give a Fork’ to survive – we need the support of customers and that support to be purchasing our products directly or indirectly via butchers & restaurants/chefs that do ‘Give a Fork’. Every time you purchase food – you are determining the type of agricultural systems we will have in Australia for the future!!