Nick first discovered McIvor Farm Foods through the Food Fossickers website back in 2010 whilst researching for local producers to showcase on our restaurant menu. (As the space was being renovated)
And boy, am I glad he did! After a visit to the farm, Nick returned home with a pork rack and roasted it up for dinner that night. I'll never forget carving ever so easily into my piece with a butter knife (the kids had set the table) and thinking how tender the meat was. Then a moment later my mouth exploded with flavour – the flavour of pork! That was, and still is, the most flavourful pork I have eaten and I will never forget that magical food moment.
I rang Belinda the next day to thank her for her generosity and we talked for over two hours. That was the first time we'd spoken and defiently not the last!
Since that time in late 2011, we remain close friends and they always welcome us to their farm with generous hospitality which we truly appreciate.
Over the past five years, we have learnt many things as Belinda and Jason share with us their farming journey on their 3rd generation property in Tooborac, a 40 minute drive from Bendigo.
They believe in 'Beyond Free Range' and farming in a regenerative way to preserve and give back to their soils. Their intent is to leave the property in a better state than when they took over from Jason's dad in 2010.
In early July this year, Belinda and Jason invited our team, and the team from The Woodhouse Bendigo for lunch and a farm tour. It was an opportunity for all our staff to learn, first hand, more about where our food comes from, who grows it and how it is grown.
As we walked through their farm, Belinda showed us how it has been designed around the natural contours and slopes and how they use clever mechanical design (created by Jason himself) to plow seeds into the soils without disturbing the precious top soil. The Berkshires are regularly moved throughout the property and a lot of care is taken to provide a natural, stress free environment for all animals without use of chemicals.
The result is, as I mentioned before, the most flavourful pork I have tasted and it tastes even better knowing that they are part of a farming system where their movement is a key element of the soil's regeneration.
You can also buy their products directly at a number of regional farmers markets, including the Bendigo Community Farmers Market, the second Saturday of each month.
Go on, support one of our amazing local producers and support our local food economy. Farmers are our heroes and need our support.
If you're not into cooking, try our McIvor Farm pork dish, that's supporting them too!