Dion Kilmister and Ali Scott find success with Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats and charollais-romney-texel cross lambs
Melt-in-the-mouth lamb doesn’t bounce out the gate of every farm in the land. Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Dion Kilmister and Ali Scott of Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats are focused on bringing all their farming processes to the end goal of ensuring what their customers eat is as good as what they eat at home.
And what they like best is tasty, tender, ewe-lamb meat. The couple run charollais-romney-texel cross lambs on their properties of 1100ha at Bideford and 530ha at Pongaroa (as well as a leased block at Belmont near Wellington). This breed, relatively new to New Zealand, is known for its marbled meat that comes from the intramuscular fat.
The breed originated in the same area of France as the charolais cattle, and is big-boned with a narrow head and shoulders ideal for easy lambing. It is also characterized by efficient weight gain with a high meat-to-bone ratio. Ali and Dion refer to them as their “meat machines”.
The couple, who received a Keinzley Agvet Sheep & Beef Farm Business of the Year Award 2018 for sustainable and environmental practices as well as the Paddock Champion award at the 2018 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, takes a bespoke approach to their online-only sale of premium whole and half lamb boxes, available at the thisNZlife Farmers’ Market.
“The lamb breed ensures a tasty and tender product. As farmers, we eat only female lambs and that is all we sell. Our lamb is finished for three weeks on the home farm at Bideford on a chicory-clover pasture to accentuate the flavour before Dion delivers them in our truck to the local abattoir. We advocate nose-to-tail eating and only put into a customer’s box what we ourselves would love to eat,” says Ali.
Judges’ comments: Enzo Bettio who assessed two cuts – the gourmet lamb rump and lamb rack – described the meat as “absolutely delicious” and “the best lamb I have ever eaten”. Mat McLean (from Palate restaurant in Hamilton, who is noted as one of the country’s most-awarded red-meat chefs, is a Platinum Beef and Lamb Ambassador and the Silver Fern Farms inaugural Premier Master of Fine Cuisine) said the rump was “tasty and succulent with good aroma, well-balanced flavours and good texture.”
Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats is available from the thisNZlife Farmers’ Market. Order online here