Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Meat makers bag top award

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A pastoral sector food producer has claimed the top award in this year’s annual New Zealand Food Producer Awards with their paddock-to-plate approach to meat marketing.
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Masterton couple Dion and Ali Kilmister took their sheep and beef farming business to the next level in 2017, creating the Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats brand, and have claimed a food producer award for the second time. They also claimed the paddock award in 2018 for their gourmet lamb pack.

The Supreme award this year went to their mixed box of beef and lamb cuts, and they once again claimed the Giesen Paddock Champion award.

The couple run 1500-head of cattle and 15,000 sheep across the lower North Island and a deli and butchery shop in Masterton, alongside their online store.

They earnt high praise from head judge and food critic Lauraine Jacobs, who says the company’s mixed box was an “absolute standout”.

“Every single cut of meat in that box was incredibly flavourful and tasty, a testament to good farming practices and the natural New Zealand grass-fed lamb and beef that is the envy of farming countries around the world,” Jacobs said.

The couple’s store was forced to close only six months after opening due to the covid lockdown, prompting a separate online store for the butchery.

The couple are half of a duo of Wairarapa businesses to claim an award, with Tora Collective named Seafood NZ Water Champion for its fresh paua caught sustainably off the Wairarapa coast.

Jacobs says this year’s awards comprised 10 judging panels of three experts assessing 300 food and drink entries from 126 producers around NZ. 

Entries this year included a mix of traditionally produced pastoral-type products, and a new wave of dairy alternative products. These included natural coconut kefir yoghurt from Raglan Food Company and Mango Lassi dairy-free gelato from Little ‘Lato.

More traditionally sourced winners included black doris plums in pinot noir syrup from Augustines in Central Otago, who claimed the Earth Champion award, while the Peoples’ Choice award went to Oliff Farm premium pasture eggs from north of Auckland.

“It is comforting to see that amongst numerous clever food innovators and food producers there are still many natural unadulterated products that shine, showing just how good fresh-from-the- farm or sea New Zealand food is,” she said.

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