Family is Middlehurst Delivered’s secret ingredient — and it helped them take home gold


The McDonald clan of Middlehurst Delivered is devoted to bringing a taste of their home to your place. It’s why they were named ‘Paddock’ Co-Champion at the 2022 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards. 

Words: Lucy Corry

There’s nothing but 100 per cent New Zealand grass-fed lamb in a row of Middlehurst Delivered’s Lamb Short Ribs, but Lucy McDonald reckons there’s something special involved that sets it apart. “Family is our secret ingredient,” she says. “We try to bring out the best in each other, our land, and our animals.”

Judges awarded the McDonald family six gold medals, so they are clearly nailing it. “Pure meat, beautifully butchered” was how the judges described Middlehurst’s sweet, succulent lamb short ribs, praising their “incredible” melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Producing high-quality meat while caring for the environment and each other has been a work in progress. Lucy’s parents, Willie and Susan McDonald, took over Middlehurst Station in 1998. The 16,550-hectare property in Marlborough’s Upper Awatere Valley is very much a family affair. Her brother Henry works on the farm, while she and sisters Sophie and Skye set up Middlehurst Delivered in November 2020.

“In New Zealand, you don’t have to tell people the breed or age of lamb you’re selling, but it makes a big difference, and we wanted to bring that traceability and consistency of product to people.”

The McDonalds have invested heavily in a breeding programme that creates dual-purpose merino lambs with high-quality wool fibre and meat. The lambs are raised on the station’s high-country blocks. Then Henry McDonald looks after the finishing process in Cheviot.

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“We want to ensure that we use the whole carcass, but we also know that many people don’t want big, traditional cuts that take three days to eat.”

About the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards

The winners of the sixth Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards make some of the most delicious food and drink Aotearoa has ever tasted. Salute the medallists and winners and show your support by buying their gourmet treats.

CATEGORY CHAMPIONS

Supreme Champion: Pure Pāua, Chatham Island Food Co, Chatham Islands
Giesen Paddock Co-Champion: Organic Free-Range Marinated Butterfly Chicken, Bostock Brothers Organic Free-Range Chicken, Hawke’s Bay
Giesen Paddock Co-Champion
: Lamb Short Ribs, Middlehurst Delivered, Upper Awatere Valley
Emerson’s Dairy Champion: Marinated Cloud Fresh Goat Cheese in Oil, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Te Hauke
Seafood New Zealand Water Champion: Pure Pāua, Chatham Island Food Co, Chatham Islands
Farro Earth Champion: Uncut Raw Comb Honey of Aotearoa, J. Friend & Co, Christchurch
Label & Litho Drink Champion: Hill Road Orange Juice, Hill Road Orchard, Gisborne

Find the full list of winners here, and medallists here.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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