Home' Smart Farmer : Dec 2010-Jan 2011 Contents December 2010 / January 2011
12 SmartFarmer •
Indulge your senses
IN & AROUND
WARREN Smith went from being an antique dealer and furniture restorer in
upmarket Adelaide, to a Coffin Bay pig farmer - and he can't keep up with
demand for free-range Minniribbie Pork.
Warren (pictured) and his former wife, Linda, moved their antique business to
Coffin Bay 10 years ago, after holidaying in the area.
They bought a 90-hectare property and ran a few sheep, but it wasn't until
about five years ago when they were inspired by a segment on ABC's Landline,
that they decided to breed Berkshire pigs.
They bought a boar and two sows, but were disappointed when the price of
the pigs was downgraded at Dublin market because of their black colour, and
the fact they were free-range.
With the help of PIRSA, Warren established a processing facility to value-add
and sell meat directly from the farm. Pigs are sent to Port Lincoln for slaughter,
and return to the farm where the pork is cut, and ham and bacon is smoked.
"We can't keep up with the orders for our smoked bacon, because we smoke
it the old-fashioned way, using Australian timber for the shavings," Warren said.
"People say to me 'this is what bacon used to taste like'."
The Minniribbie Berkshire Pig Farm now runs 25 sows, and Warren has
stopped processing temporarily to build up breeder numbers. He aims to have
up to 70 breeding sows by this time next year.
Berkshires are slower-growing than some breeds, but are suited to outdoor
production because they adapt well to heat and cold, and don't suffer from
Warren believes the meat tastes better because of the pigs' free-range diet,
which includes hammer-milled grains and excess fruit and vegetables sourced
from a local supermarket. He says this causes the meat to marble, which stops
the pork from drying out.
• Need to know more?
High demand for free-range
COFFIN Bay rock lobster fisherman
Hugh Hurrell and his wife Karen
supplement their income by farming
yabbies and marron on the family
property near Kellidie Bay.
Hugh and his late father, who was
also a local fisherman, established
the Minniribbie Yabbie Farm in
1987, utilising fresh water lying only
a half-metre below the soil surface,
before it flows out to sea.
Yabbies were sourced from a creek
on the property, and later marron
stocks were bought in from a farm
on Kangaroo Island. Minniribbie
Yabbie Farm produce is sold to the
Adelaide restaurant trade and at the
Sydney fish market.
The crustaceans live in a near-nat-
ural environment of grassy, tree-
lined channels, and feed on natural
foods, as well as hay and grain
grown organically on the farm with-
out the use of chemicals.
A 10-kilometre network of chan-
nels, four metres wide and up to
2.5m in depth, has been established,
and excess soil is sold as clean fill.
Four tonnes of yabbies and mar-
ron are sold from the farm each year,
from November through to August.
They remain dormant over winter,
and harvest begins after the females
drop their eggs in October.
The crustaceans are caught in
pots, with the larger ones retained
for sale. They are kept in purging
tanks on the property for two days
before being immersed in cold
water, which causes them to go dor-
mant. They are then chilled to be
sold live, and arrive fresh in the
restaurant kitchens of Adelaide and
• Need to know more?
Yabbies, marron thrive at Minniribbie farm
Minniribbie Yabbie Farm
workman, Matt Swain,
shows the marron (left)
and yabbie (right).
Coffin Bay oysters are famous around the world. But this small town, 45 kilometres
west of Port Lincoln on Lower Eyre Peninsula, has more to offer --
as SARAH SLEE discovered.
OFFIN Bay, home of the
people, was discovered by
Matthew Flinders in 1802 and
named in honour of his friend, Sir
Whalers lived in Coffin Bay from
1804, and native oysters were first
dredged at nearby Kellidie Bay in the
late 1800s. This settlement was
known as Oyster Town, and bullock
wagons laden with oysters bound for
Port Lincoln were a common site.
By 1870, up to thirty sailing ves-
sels were dredging for native oysters
in the Coffin Bay area.
Over-fishing caused a decline in
catches and by 1943 the oyster fish-
ery had all but ceased. Attempts
were made to farm the native oyster,
but their growth was slow and mor-
tality rates high.
Japanese Pacific Oysters were first
trialled at Coffin Bay in 1969. Today,
Coffin Bay Pacific Oysters are
renowned nationally and interna-
tionally -- a testament to the environ-
ment that grew the region's native
oyster, now a rarity.
Most of Coffin Bay's oyster leases
are at Port Douglas Bay. Because of
the popularity of Coffin Bay pro-
duce, oysters from other growing
regions in South Australia are com-
monly transported to fattening leases
at Port Douglas prior to sale.
About 100 people are employed at
the oyster leases and packing sheds
around Coffin Bay. Professional fish-
ers and abalone divers also operate
from the town, which has gained a
reputation as a 'haven' for fishermen.
Coffin Bay National Park is the
region's largest park, covering
31,000 hectares. It includes the
Point Whidbey Wilderness Area and
conserves a representative sample of
coastal habitat that was once wide-
spread on Eyre Peninsula.
The park was previously home to
the famous Coffin Bay Ponies (now
known as Coffin Bay Brumbies),
used as remounts for troops during
World War I.
The horses were bred from Timor
ponies brought to Eyre Peninsula by
Henry Hawson, the first pastoralist
to lease the Coffin Bay Run, which
he named Kellidie. The run became
national park in 1972, and in 2004,
the brumbies were relocated to pri-
vate land that was part of Hawson's
original lease. The Coffin Bay
Brumby Auction is held annually on
The heritage-listed Mount Dutton
Bay jetty, built in 1880, was used to
load grain and wool onto ketches for
transport to market. The nearby his-
toric 1975 woolshed serves as a trib-
ute to the region's pastoral era, and is
a working museum displaying local
shearing, farming and fishing her-
Prior to the building of the jetty,
ketches were loaded from what is
now known as Farm Beach -- named
for the tractors kept at the site for
launching boats. Just north of Farm
Beach is 'Gallipoli' beach, where
scenes from the 1981 Mel Gibson
movie were filmed.
On the first Saturday in January,
Coffin Bay hosts the Eyre Peninsula
Farmer and Fishermens' Market. A
celebration of regional food and
wine, the market showcases produce
from the Coffin Bay region, and
across Eyre Peninsula.
This year, Coffin Bay will hold its
first-ever twilight market, from 5-
10pm on January 8 at the newly-
redeveloped foreshore near the
Coffin Bay Yacht Club.
• Need to know more?
Annual rainfall: 442mm
Median age: 49
Summer holiday population:
Largest employers: Aquaculture
(18 per cent), accommodation (8pc)
Most common occupations:
Managers (31pc), technicians and
trade workers (16pc)
Source: 2006 Census data
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FREECALL 1800 633 995
9 Drury Terrace, Clovelly Park SA 5042
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