National 2022 Delicious Award Winners
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2022 National Delicious Produce Awards announced in Sydney last week!
Two of the four winners were Burraduc Buffalo Dairy and Grasslands Poultry Sommerlad chickens.
Sustainable agriculture wins
Both farms are multiple Delicious Award winners and I'm sure all of you who regularly enjoy their produce would agree that there's no denying the quality. There's also no doubt that the quality springs from the skill of the farmers and their commitment to regenerative ecosystem management. When the entire farm system is thriving and humming, everything benefits, including the thing you're harvesting to sell.
About Grassland Poultry
Chicken is the preferred animal protein of choice in Australia, we eat 49 kg of chicken per year per person and growing. The number of producers, however, is shrinking and the industry is dominated by a small number of very large, vertically integrated producers breeding super fast-growing, white broilers, distributing day-old chicks to contract farmers to shed-raise them to market weight, then processing and distributing the final product into the market. This is a factory production model rather than something you could seriously call farming.
By contrast, Grassland Poultry, a small, family-owned, holistic producer determined to do things better, is an astonishing exception to the rule.
Not only do they prioritise biodiversity by choosing to grow a completely different variety from 99% of the industry, but they breed, pasture-raise and process their slow-growing, robust chickens entirely on farm - a closed loop. You can literally count on one hand the number of pasture-based poultry farmers in Australia who are doing anything like this.
About Burraduc Buffalo Dairy
Burraduc is equally unusual - a regeneratively-managed buffalo dairy farm run on a compassionate model that challenges convention. If you know anything about commercial dairy production, you'll know that most calves are weaned within a week and the idea of accepting a lower milk yield in return for animal welfare is as rare as hen's teeth.
But at Burraduc, calves remain with their mothers until weaning at around six months, so the milk is shared between calves and farmer. While the yield is lower, the animals are happier and the model outperforms the industry in so many other ways.
The milk is a rich expression of the vitality of the entire landscape and, in Elena Swegen's skilful hands, it becomes award-winning cheese, passing on all those minerals and vitamins - the concentrated health and vitality of the farm - to us.
We've been working with both farms since 2017 and we receive weekly deliveries from Burraduc and fortnightly deliveries from Grasslands. Check out The Ethical Omnivore to see case studies of both farms.
The day after the awards, we met with appreciative chefs at The Centennial Hotel. Here's a snap of Grant with Elena and Andrei Swegen of Burraduc and Kim and Bryan Kiss of Grasslands.