Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Produce award finalists living high on the hogs

Berkshire pork from Tooborac’s McIvor Farm Foods is among the nation's best products, according to ABC Delicious Produce Awards judges.

BARBARA SUNGAILA June 6, 2014 3:20am

Belinda and Jason Hagan, with their children Hannah, 2, and Eric, 8 months, with some of their Berkshires. Photo: Nikki Child Images





Tooborac’s McIvor Farm Foods was recently named a national finalist in the ABC Delicious Produce Awards.

McIvor Farm’s old breed Berkshire pork went head-to-head with other pork, beef, lamb, quail and eggs from across Australia in the From the Paddock category.

Jason and Belinda Hagan are the third generation of their family to farm among the granite boulders and rolling fields of Tooborac.

Mrs Hagan said they had created a true free range system

‘‘The pigs are essential in the regeneration and environmental health of the farm simply by going about their piggy business, roaming the paddocks and rooting to find yummy bulbs,’’ she said.

State judge Alex Herbert said this year’s judges had focussed on the provenance and environmental impact of the products, as well as their long-term sustainability

Mrs Hagan believed it was their dedication to environmental sustainability that made their pork taste so good.

‘‘We strive for best practice in land management and animal welfare and we were chuffed to have our farming efforts recognised in 2012 when we were named The Weekly Times Farm Magazine Farmer of the Year,’’ she said.

‘‘It makes sense that premium farming practices translate into premium products.

‘‘I think this is true for many of the other finalists, like Warialda Belted Galloway Beef or pork producers Bundarra Berkshires and Greenvale Farm.

‘‘It is such an honour for our pork and ham to be named alongside these Victorian producers who we admire and who share a similar philosophy and passion.’’

The judging panel for this years awards includes food industry heavyweights Maggie Beer, Shannon Bennett and Alla Wolf-Tasker.

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