Howes Creek lifestyle for sale
Walking into Matt and Jackie Merchant’s kitchen is a bit like walking into an episode of The Cook and The Chef.
Matt, seated next to an enormous wall oven, holding a cup of espresso, talks animatedly about his family’s connection to the kitchen – where they have spent 30 years UH¿QLQJ UHFLSHV KDQGHG GRZQ
Jackie does not sit; instead, she talks while pulling down bowls and ladels, pushing aside vases of home-grown herbs to clear space as she measures ÀRXU
Jackie and Matt run Howes Creek Farm, a 16 acre pig property complete with commercial kitchen, retail store and café.
Starting out 10 years ago, WKH\ ¿UVW EHJDQ EXWFKHULQJ IRU home use.
From there, it grew to include family and friends; then farmers markets and, two years ago, culminated in opening a café on the farm itself.
From the outset, the point of difference was quality.
There is no scrimping on ingredients, no buying in bulk to spread costs.
Instead, they are both passionate about food – pork products that linger on the palate.
The organic health industry in Australia is worth an estimated $919 million, and there is a growing clean eating movement.
But rather than looking to the future, Jackie and Matt have found their success in looking back.
“We need to consider what we are putting in our bodies, what we are consuming,” Matt said.
“When you see meat, it’s more than likely been pumped full of nitrates.
“Nitrates; you shouldn’t even handle the stuff without gloves on, but we are putting it in our food.”
So, using a recipe crafted a century ago, Matt creates pork products like those from years gone by.
Ham that is cured in salt and herbs and left to smoke for 10 hours.
Bacon that is more brown than pink – no nitrates will do that – but that tastes like it has been smoked over peppercorns and honey.
READY TO MOVE ON: After 10 years, Matt and Jackie Merchant are looking for a new challenge.