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Wagyu very much

Wagyu very much
Award. The Hammonds’ Robbins Island Wagyu has earned medal recognition for the second consecutive year in a competition to discover the country’s best independent produce.

The ABC’s 2014 Delicious. Produce Awards, judged by the likes of chefs Maggie Beer, Matt Moran and Guillaume Brahimi, saw the farming operation recognised with a medal alongside four others in the ‘From the Paddock’ category.

Brahimi was so impressed by the full-blood grass-fed product, he had it immediately placed on his restaurant menu in Sydney, to which it was served to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month.

“Robbins Island Beef is amazing produce,” Brahimi said of the local medallists.

“With the pristine environment of Tasmania – the purity of the water and land – the result is beautiful and intense flavoured meat.”

Montagu-based John and Rochelle, and Robbins Island-based Keith and Lisa have been breeding Japanese Wagyu at the isolated location since 1992, with the unique environment providing the perfect base for cattle.

“We were just trying to survive in agriculture, trying to find a niche market,” John said of the decision to import the strain.

“We were lucky with the idea and the timing – these genetics were not long out of Japan.”

Keith added expanding distribution had been vital: “Initially, all of our cattle went live to Japan. Diversifying with Greenham [Tasmania] and supplying to markets throughout the world puts us in a niche market.”

John said the difference in fat composition separates their product from others; that the softer fat in the marbling “reflects well on the flavour”.

With a herd of 6500 cattle on Robbins Island in total, 25 are transported to the Greenham factory fortnightly for processing and packaging, culminating in around 700 cows a year.

John described the relationship with Greenham as essential, with the relatively small Robbins Island operation processed among other larger producers.

He said the family was thrilled with their most recent achievement, with customer feedback of the end result also satisfying.

“I think the biggest kick I get is how many people say ‘I’ve eaten that meat and I’ve enjoyed it’,” John said.

“We can punch with the best of them . . . Tassie has a great reputation for food, we’re helping to play a little part in that.”

Delicious. magazine editor Danielle Oppermann said the local produce was put forward by Tasmanian judges David Moyle and Daniel Alps as “one of the best in the state”.

”Once again it’s been a really strong year for Tasmanian produce in the awards, and medallist Robbins Island Wagyu is the perfect example of this,” she said.


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Greenham Tasmania Brand Tasmania Meat & Livestock Australia