Supermarkets? A farmer's view: Near River Produce

Supermarkets? A farmer's view: Near River Produce

Supermarkets and supply chains are under increasing scrutiny. So we decided to check in and ask the farmers we work with why they choose not to participate in the commodity food system facilitated by supermarkets. Read more about why we're doing this series.

Together with these farmers and our customers, we’re part of an alternative food community with different priorities from the supermarket system. But 'alternative' and 'different' generally means more effort and less certainty.

So why do they do it?

To start with, below are thoughts from pastured pig farmers, Andrew and Therese Hearn of Near River Produce. We'll share more of these as they arrive.

Near River delivery: Ritchie Han and Andrew Hearn with Near River truck
Delivery day at Marrickville. Butcher, Ritchie Han, with Andrew Hearn in front of Andrew's truck. We've been buying Near River pork since July 2019 and every fortnight Andrew arrives laden with bounty from the mid-NSW coast - his pigs, Burraduc Buffalo produce, Jimmy's milk and Franckin's vealers.

Here's what Andrew and Therese sent us in response to our request.

Honouring the food that gives you life
Why we partner with Feather and Bone

We are micro producers, tiny in the overall scheme of the Industrial Food Complex, not even a blip on that radar screen. When we left the city and commenced growing food for our community 17 years ago, we were adamant it would be through some direct marketing model.

Standing at the farm gate waving goodbye to your production not knowing the end user was not something we were interested in. Growing, packaging, transporting and marketing foodstuffs that you’ve laboured over for months, seasons, nigh, years is difficult enough without the buyer arguing about the price, colour, size, or some other measure, once they receive your produce.

We were determined to find our tribe – people who would appreciate our toil and the love of what we do and why we do it; folk that understood why us having a hand in virtually every aspect of getting our animals to their table was important.

Why pigs running through paddocks and rolling in mud was beneficial; why letting sows build grass nests to farrow (give birth) in is how it needed to be.

Laura and Grant and the Feather and Bone team are leaders of that tribe. Honouring the food that gives you life, and those that provide it, increases the value that you place on that food and the nourishment it provides.

Viewing it simply as fuel for your body is more in line with the ColesWorths offering.

Whilst society’s interest in stories has become voracious and quick with the advent of social media and AI generated newsletters, the stories behind the food you eat and the connection that provides - how, where and why it was grown, how you sourced it, how it was prepared and cooked, and by whom - are all part of the fabric that builds culture, and food is the very basis of that, continually evolving.

Sharing those stories, whether gathered around a table with friends and family, or over a quick snack at the kitchen bench, will always be one of life’s simple pleasures, and it gives us great joy to play a small part in that.

Andrew + Therese Hearne
Near River Produce

Near River Produce, Andrew and Therese Hearn

Near River pastured pigs


It feels a bit crass to follow up that lovely letter with a sales pitch, but we're so confident about the superb quality of the pastured pork we offer that I have no hesitations.

Also, if you don't want the supermarkets to be the only ones left standing, then you need to eat our food!


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