Pil­bara beef on a plate

Countryman - - NEWS - Sophia Con­stan­tine

A lo­cal cat­tle sta­tion owner with a pas­sion for get­ting Pil­bara prod­uct back into the re­gion has been work­ing on a vi­sion to pro­vide beef di­rectly from her pad­dock to con­sumers’ plates.

Guided by this phi­los­o­phy, Yar­rie Sta­tion owner Annabelle Cop­pin said the sta­tion had been work­ing on a project to build their own brand — Out­back Beef — for years, recog­nis­ing the short­age of lo­cal pro­duce avail­able to Pil­bara res­i­dents.

The sta­tion, lo­cated about 90km north of Mar­ble Bar and 230km east of Hed­land, has spent the past 15 months slaugh­ter­ing cat­tle, sell­ing it into Mar­ble Bar as part of a pi­lot project.

Af­ter the suc­cess of the pi­lot, the sta­tion set its sights on Port Hed­land as the next lo­ca­tion, send­ing off the first batch in re­cent weeks.

“Our aim is to fo­cus on the Pil­bara, that’s where we want our mar­ket, mainly be­cause there’s no lo­cal beef in the Pil­bara,” Ms Cop­pin said.

“The in­dus­try has been here for­ever and will be here for­ever and peo­ple aren’t eat­ing the lo­cal prod­uct,” she said.

Ms Cop­pin said cre­at­ing a brand of beef hold­ing a nat­u­ral Pil­bara flavour had al­ways been an am­bi­tion for the fam­ily-owned sta­tion, which has been in the Cop­pin fam­ily for five gen­er­a­tions.

“We have al­ways wanted to have a cer­tain amount of cat­tle that we sell go­ing into our own beef brand,” she said.

“It’s about hav­ing a small amount of our beef go­ing into a branded prod­uct, which helps with our so­cial li­cence to pro­duce beef.

“The main aim is to break up our mar­ket so we aren’t re­liant on one mar­ket.”

Ms Cop­pin said there had been many hur­dles, cost risks and lo­gis­tics as­so­ci­ated with the process, in­clud­ing the need to sell the whole car­cass to sell pad­dock to plate.

“The taste of good beef is de­pen­dent on the type of an­i­mal, what they are put through, and what they are fed, which was what cus­tomers were in­ter­ested in,” she said.

“The beef in­dus­try at the mo­ment is a bit like the wine in­dus­try. When you walk into a liquor store, you get your story and the flavours be­hind the items.

“When you buy beef at the mo­ment, there’s none of that.

“Ev­ery piece of beef has a dif­fer­ent story . . . in the fu­ture we need to sell our story.” Tell us what you think. Email coun­try­man@ coun­try­man.com.au or send us a let­ter.

Photo avail­able at west­pix.com.au Picture: Nic El­lis

Annabelle Cop­pin at work at Yar­rie, the Pil­bara cat­tle sta­tion she man­ages.

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