Brad Wornes (front) owner of Madsen Meats in Casino, and Josh Fuller.
Brad Wornes (front) owner of Madsen Meats in Casino, and Josh Fuller. Jerad Williams

From backyard to dinner plate

FROM the paddock to the plate is the latest trend in food fashion.

More and more people across the Northern Rivers are growing beef for their own dinner table.

“It's mostly hobby farmers,” Casino butcher Brad Wornes said.

“We are seeing more and more of it.”

Mr Wornes said private kills now accounted for about 50 per cent of business at his Casino butcher shop, Madsen Meats and Smallgoods.

He said the trend showed that people were increasingly interested in knowing more about where their food came from.

“There are so many twists and turns at the supermarket,” he said.

“If you grow your own cattle you know what it has been fed and what has been done to it,” he said.

Mr Wornes said many of his customers only ran one- or two-hectare properties and raised their beef from poddy calves.

When the beast is ready for slaughter it is delivered by the farmer to the Northern Co-operative Meat Company's abattoir at Casino, where it is assigned the butcher's kill number, allowing the beast to be tracked through processing.

When it has been slaughtered it is picked up and taken to the butchery.

The customer is able to specify the final presentation of the beast, such as hanging times and cuts.

“We tailor the cuts to suit the number of people in thefamily,” Mr Wornes said.

The beast is usually hung for 10 days, but can be hung longer to increase flavour at the customer's request.

For Les Shephard, eating your own beef is nothing new – his family has been doing it for years.

Mr Shephard currently has a 182kg Murray grey on the hook at Madsens, it is for his neighbour's table.

He has more than 200 cattle on the 200-hectare Fairy Hill property his family has been farming near Casino since the end of World War II, and has spent years perfecting his farming methods and practices for finishing off his beef so it is of a high quality.

“It has the marbling through it,” Mr Shephard said.

Growing meat for his own table added an extra dimension of appreciation, he said.

Mr Shephard also raises lambs for his own table.

As there is no processing facility in the region, he slaughters the lambs on the property himself.

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