Willaura's Greenvale Farm is one of two Wimmera producers listed as finalists in the 2013 ABC Delicious Magazine produce awards. Now in their eighth year, the awards encourage, showcase and reward Australian producers, build awareness of culinary regions and recognise seasonal food produced with integrity. Mail-Times journalist SARAH SCULLY speaks with Greenvale Farm's Amanda Kumnick about making the cut among a record 3110 entries...
IT'S one thing to know that your customers love your products. It's another thing entirely to have a panel of industry experts judge them among the country's best.
Greenvale Farm's Amanda and Anthony Kumnick have been rewarded for their approach towards sustainable, ecologically friendly and tastier meat for the third year running.
Two Greenvale Farm products have been named as finalists in the 2013 ABC Delicious Magazine produce awards.
Both its heritage-breed, genuine free-range pork and its pasture-matured, dry-aged jumbuck will contest the 'From the Farm' category.
Despite Greenvale Farm winning a medal for free-range ham on the bone in last year's awards, Mrs Kumnick said she had not been expecting to make the list again.
"You always are surprised to be named a finalist," she said.
"There is a massive number of producers who have entered products this year and we're a small business. We're really pleased."
Mrs Kumnick said producers rarely had the opportunity to put their products in front of professionals for a blind tasting.
"By becoming a finalist, you know where you stand.
"This is the third year we've been nominated for our pork, which shows we're maintaining great consistency," she said.
The jumbuck is a new product.
"We're really excited about that one. It's an old-style way of dealing with lamb.
"It's not actually lamb, it's mutton aged four years which is dry-aged for 28 days," Mrs Kumnick said.
"It's not done very often any more. Older methods of ageing are quite challenging because the meat has to be in a consistent, cold temperature.
"It deteriorates rapidly if it's not stored in the right conditions.
"We've been experimenting with different drying methods and we've had really good feedback."
The animals at Greenvale Farm are grass fed.
The free-range pork and lamb products are free from hormones and antibiotics, which Mrs Kumnick said resulted in healthier meat, fuller in flavour and lower in saturated fats.
"More and more people we meet, mainly through farmers' markets, really want to know where their food is coming from and that the environment is being considered as part of the process," she said.
"We follow that methodology of being open about what we're doing, which people find appealing."
Mrs Kumnick said Greenvale Farm pork and jumbuck had been shipped to Sydney, where it would be tasted by a national judging panel comprising some of Australia's most respected chefs.
"To have people of this calibre actually judging your products is really positive," Mrs Kumnick said.
"Whether you win or not, just to be named a finalist is great."
Mt Zero Olives' biodynamic french-style green lentils are a finalist in the artisan 'From the Earth' category. The winners will be announced in the August issue of Delicious Magazine on July 17.