Free range, full-flavoured pork from an East Coast farm is making its way to some of Tasmania’s finest eateries.
Overlooking the Little Swanport estuary, Long Name Farm is run by Phil Outtram and his partner Selina Smith.
The couple’s 30Ha property at the halfway point of the Great Eastern Drive is on a different pathway from what they initially thought.
Having owned the property for around 10 years beforehand, the pigs were not introduced until 2014, where their role on the farm was more focused on land clearing and soil restoration.
“We are a good partnership, Phil is the farmer and I manage accounts and marketing which is fairly typical of small farm businesses,” Ms Smith said.
“Initially we got the pigs in to improve the property. The idea was to move the pigs around the paddocks, re-fertilise the soil and clear the ground,” Mr Outtram said.
“Needless to say, they’re still here.”
After starting out with a dozen pigs, through their own breeding and acquisition of stock from similar properties, Long Name Farm is now home to a rotation of more than 400 pigs annually.
According to Mr Outtram, their stock of 40 sows and three boars will produce around 300 heritage-breed pigs per year, all of which are raised on the property.
“This is a herd size we can manage and the land can manage.”
The pigs are a mix of two heritage breeds, Berkshire and Saddleback.
Since the initial introduction of the pigs, the couple have worked to establish a viable and sustainable free-range pig operation at Long Name Farm.
Apart from a substantial barrier of vegetation that divides the property and the estuary, the pigs are free to wander the large paddocks.
Kept tame, relaxed and fed on a supplementary mix of soaked wheat, peas, barley and canola, Long Name Farm produces 10 to 12 pigs per fortnight for processing.
“Our main product is half pig in a box, which we sell direct to the public. We’re also sending our pork products to high-end restaurants like Saffire Freycinet and Stefano Lubiana.”
“Our biggest obstacle is logistics such as sourcing feed, delivery costs and processing. “
Our closest abattoir is a 260km return journey plus a lack of competition has seen processing costs increase by 30 per cent within the last 12 months.”
With a view to introduce a greater amount of cropping to the farm repertoire,
Mr Outtram already has plans for his future paddocks where the pigs can be useful for their cropping rotations.
Thanks to the natural curiosity of the pigs and, to a degree their destructiveness, the soil that once was hardened and drastically lacking in nutrition is being constantly turned and fertilised.
In the paddocks where the pigs are housed, the red soil crumbles in hand and the rocks have been worked to the surface by digging snouts so they are collected regularly.
“We are still very much in the preliminary stages of setting up, but our plan is eventually to start to sell our pork and vegetables on the farm,” Mr Outtram said.
“Already, we sell almost all of our meat directly to the customer, and this will be just another way to expand on that.”
The ambition for Long Name Farm is to produce a mix of annual, aromatic pastures on their property, as well as a number of green-manure crops to complement the pigs’ own production of manure.
“I’m looking at a mixed pasture rotation, and with the new block we have brought next door, we are very interested in fennel, mustard seeds and rape, as well as turnips and potatoes in the winter to encourage our pigs to dig and distinguish our pork from the rest.”
Long Name Farm has a stall at the Hobart Farm Gate Market on the third Sunday of each month. They also sell their pork on their website.
The name Long Name Farm is a reference to the Aboriginal name given to the area of Little Swanport, tee.be.leb. ber.rer.men.nape.bone.yer. men.nan.yer, which means “place where a moving stream flows into a large estuary surrounded by hills”.