'Olive' Lambs of the Hunter Valley
An unlikely partnership has blossomed in the Hunter Valley between renowned olive producer, Pukara Estate and Newcastle’s quality meat supplier, Hunter Valley Premium Meats as a result of Pukara Estate producing a very unique product – ‘olive grazed’ lamb.
Steve Goodchild, the founder of one of Australia’s most successful olive oil, vinegar and condiments producer Pukara Estate, introduced lambs to his olive grove several years ago to assist in a more passive approach to managing the olive grove and reduce the ever-increasing cost of production.
The property has been fenced in such a way that allows the olive trees to be continually ‘cell grazed’, which in turn reduces pruning costs as a result of the lambs eating the olive foliage and olive fruit on the lower portion of the trees. Another significant saving is the elimination of herbicide usage throughout the grove due to the inter-row weeds and pasture being grazed by the lambs.
As the lambs consistently feed on olive foliage and olive fruit, this unique diet contributes to a ‘passive flavour infusion’ of the lamb. The result is an incredibly unique tasting, high-quality product that caught the attention of Tim Perram from Hunter Valley Premium Meats.
“It’s rare in business that you get a chance to reduce operational costs and at the same time, generate such a unique and saleable by-product at the other end as a result of the cost reduction activities,” said Steve.
“It’s really nice to have a good news story associated with agriculture for a change.”
Tim Perram from Hunter Valley Premium Meats has a real focus on sourcing and producing local meat products. His network of customers and distribution was precisely what was required to get the premium lamb product to consumers throughout the Hunter Valley and Newcastle.
“It became quite apparent that there was a synergy between the two businesses and the next thing we know, Pukara Estate Premium Lamb is being served in some of the region’s iconic pubs, glamorous dinner parties and premiere restaurants,” said Tim.
“Strong ties between all Hunter Valley businesses and innovative solutions to problems are more critical than ever in current times we are facing.”