pas­sion pays off

A fam­ily hol­i­day sparked a boy to an­nounce he would move to Tas­ma­nia. That dream has be­come re­al­ity for a former Syd­ney butcher. Roger Han­son re­ports

Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE -

BE­ING a pig farmer may not be ev­ery­one’s choice, but for one Huon Val­ley pro­ducer it is a dream come true.

Luke Tren­grove, 36, worked as a butcher for more than 10 years in Syd­ney for Penny’s Qual­ity Butcher at Mos­man be­fore mov­ing to Tas­ma­nia to pur­sue pig farm­ing.

Mr Tren­grove bought an 11ha prop­erty about two years ago to cre­ate White Grove Farm at Glen Huon.

“I’ve had a life­long dream to live in Tas­ma­nia. When I was 14 years old we came here on a fam­ily hol­i­day and I told my par­ents I will come back and live here,” Mr Tren­grove said.

“I sold my house in Syd­ney about two years ago when the prices were ridicu­lous and I sunk every­thing into this farm.”

He met Kiri Har­vey, a Tas­ma­nian, on the beach at Kingston. The cou­ple, now with baby Eedie and seven-yearold James, plan to marry in Novem­ber.

“I have never farmed be­fore, my only ex­pe­ri­ence was in the meat in­dus­try, but I had a pas­sion for pigs and I am so pleased to have made the move,” Mr Tren­grove said.

“I like pigs be­cause they are ap­proach­able and all have dif­fer­ing per­son­al­i­ties.

“It’s all about the food and the prove­nance of it.”

White Grove Farm spe­cialises in Wes­sex Sad­dle­back pigs, which are grown slowly to max­imise flavour and to min­imise fat.

The farm has been set up with the pigs’ best in­ter­ests in mind, with pur­pose-built wooden and tin huts lined with hay and vast roam­ing ar­eas.

The farm also boasts Here­ford steers, Friesian dairy cows, heaps of egg-lay­ing mix-breed chick­ens, honey bees, a few sheep, fruit trees, veg­eta­bles and a berry patch.

“We love it here and love this type of farm­ing.”

The num­ber of happy Wes­sex Sad­dle­backs on the prop­erty varies, but at the time Tas­ma­nian Coun­try vis­ited the farm had seven sows, two boars, 14 pork­ers weigh­ing 30kg to 50kg and 35 slips or piglets aged up to 10 weeks.

The pigs are able to wal­low in mud, search for food, up­root grass and gen­er­ally live a happy life, with plenty of ex­er­cise ar­eas on the farm’s hills.

The fam­ily is ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing qual­ity pork prod­ucts by way of a su­pe­rior diet, free-range liv­ing and eth­i­cal han­dling.

Ms Har­vey, who is on ma­ter­nity leave from her po­si­tion at Am­bu­lance Tas in Ho­bart, said Mr Tren­grove had a pas­sion for his farm.

“I have never met any­one who loves his an­i­mals as much as Luke does. He re­ally takes care of their ev­ery need, even dur­ing the night” Ms Har­vey said.

“I have a med­i­cal back­ground and be­fore the farm I didn’t know much about food and where it came from or about pig farm­ing.

“But now I am re­ally lov­ing the whole pic­ture, our farm and our fam­ily, and the suc­cess of Luke’s mar­kets.

Ms Har­vey said the farm block was perfect for the pigs.

“Be­ing on a slop­ing prop­erty the pigs can run up and down the hills which pro­duces a leaner meat,” she said.

“It’s amaz­ing to think it takes a sow ex­actly three months, three weeks and three days to pro­duce a lit­ter.

“Our pigs are free to for­age and root around as part of their nat­u­ral om­niv­o­rous diet.”

The pigs are fed a nu­tri­tious crushed grain feed from lo­cal pro­ducer Seed­house, which is a mix­ture of cracked wheat, soy, bar­ley, peas and canola. Their diet is also sup­ple­mented with leafy greens and sea­sonal fruits.

Af­ter be­ing raised from birth on the prop­erty, the pigs are pro­cessed 20

I sold up in Syd­ney when prices were ridicu­lous and I sunk every­thing into this farm


min­utes up the road at the Cradoc abat­toir. Then Mr Tren­grove as­sists the team at N.C. Griggs Butch­ery at Huonville to process the pork.

He praised the team at Griggs as “a great bunch of blokes” who have been re­ally help­ful.

“I am work­ing to­wards my own com­mer­cial kitchen on site so we can do every­thing, apart from the kill, on the farm.

“I was dis­cour­aged from sell­ing in­fe­rior prod­ucts to cus­tomers while work­ing in the in­dus­try, which is why I want to work to­wards a true pad­dock-to-plate ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mr Tren­grove makes a range of gourmet sausages, ni­trate-free ba­con and all tra­di­tional pork cuts.

The farm pro­duce is sold at Ho­bart’s Farm Gate Mar­ket.

Mr Tren­grove said the next step for his en­ter­prise would be cook­ing at events. He said the busi­ness had just been ac­cepted into the Street Eats @ Franko mar­ket in Ho­bart.

Pic­tures: LUKE BOWDEN

FREE TO ROAM: Luke Tren­grove feed­ing pigs on his Glen Huon farm. From top right: two-week-old piglets; Mr Tren­grove with a piglet and son James, 7, part­ner Kiri Har­vey and baby daugh­ter Eedie; Dutch, a Ger­man Shep­herd-Great Dane cross and Shih...

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