About Our Chestnut Fed Pork
We began producing chestnut fed pork in 2014 after having heard about the amazing tasting pork coming out of Spain and Italy. In Spain the pigs are raised in oak and chestnut forests where the pigs spend their life eating acorns and chestnuts. We want to produce the best tasting produce we possibly can. At the same time we want to produce the healthiest food we can, and we want to save the planet. So we began our research into how we could achieve our goals and began using animals on our farm to help build the soil health and increase the microbial activity in our soil. Healthy soil, means healthy plants, healthy plants means healthy animals, healthy plants and animals means healthy humans.
The idea of raising pigs on a sweet chestnut farm came after we went to Italy and discovered that the best prosciutto in the world comes from Parma, Italy, where black pigs are fed on whey from the parmesan cheese factory and chestnuts. Although we have not been able to source whey, we have duplicated the raising of the heritage pigs as closely as we could.
At Chestnut Brae our goal apart from sustainable farming, is to preserve biodiversity as well. So we raise breeds and genus that conventional farmers have shunned. That means we raise heritage animals and grow heirloom vegetables.
At Chestnut Brae Farm we produce heritage breed pasture raised Wessex Saddleback pigs. Wessex Saddleback meat is characterised by its slightly darker colour and heavier marbling which produces a sweet tasting pork. We also believe by breeding and consuming heritage breed pigs we are helping to keep the breed alive. Sadly, the Wessex Saddleback is now recognised as an endangered species by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia.
The Wessex Saddleback originated in the New Forest in southern England, where it thrived as a foraging breed for over ten centuries on natural woodland pasture. They are a slow growing breed (with mostly black hair) which was not suited to intensive indoor farming systems. This resulted in the breed’s extinction in its native England.
Some pedigreed animals were imported to Australia back in the 1930’s, however, today their numbers remain low. There are only 150 registered pure breed sows left in Australia.
Over time the intensive industry has developed pigs that grew faster, bigger and cheaper, but this also meant that these new pigs were no longer producing the fat that comes with slow growth. It is the fat marbled through the meat of a slow grown pig that gives the pork it’s flavour and moisture.
When most people imagine pigs they immediately think “pink”. A few white hairs are usually overlooked, but the idea of finding black hairs in the pork roast crackling is something most city folk usually couldn’t (or wouldn’t) deal with.
We believe it is important to ensure the survival of rare breeds. The pork produced by these pigs is a far superior flavour to intensively farmed “pink” pigs and to make sure we don’t lose these amazing breeds forever, Australians need to turn to favour the flavour of the succulent pork our rare heritage breed pigs produce. Due to Australian biosecurity laws, it is not possible to bring live pigs, pig semen or pig embryos into Australia, which means we will never be able to revive the numbers of the heritage breed pigs in our country if they die out.
Our pigs live outdoors and as naturally as possible for their entire lifespan: they have curly tails, all of their teeth, and no nose rings so they are free to root around the pasture as they wish. Our farm is Certified Organic so we do not use chemicals, hormones, drugs and are GMO free.
In each paddock the pigs are kept in their litter groups as they grow to maturity. Portable electric fencing defines the areas they are kept in and they have unrestricted access to shelter, fresh water and pasture at all times.
Pigs are single stomach animals just like humans and require a balanced diet in order to grow and flourish. Feeding our pigs grain in conjunction with pasture and chestnuts is essential to their overall health and development.
We have one purebred Wessex saddleback boar and three sows. Pigs are social creatures so when it is time to give birth (farrow) the sows are able to help each other raise their piglets.
The piglets, once born are also free to roam, but in the initial weeks like to stick close to their mother. At approximately 8 weeks old the piglets are weaned and moved to the other side of the farm. The mothers are able to come into good condition prior to being re-joined with the boar.
Our pigs are famous, they have been featured on ABC News in Australia, on the news in China and Singapore and newspapers and magazines have written about them. The pigs have been featured in the QANTAS Spirit magazine when we launched chestnut smoked chestnut fed nitrate free naturally cured ham onto the Christmas market
They have even been featured in a cartoon in the newspapers in Australia. On one occasion a pig was stolen in transit to a restaurant in Perth. It was never found. The chef had to serve up conventional pork rather than chestnut fed pork. One guest at his restaurant wrote to the newspaper “I came to dine on a Ferrari and ended up eating a Lada ”
Anyone who has been to the farm will tell you our pigs live a heavenly life; they roam the field and enjoy a tickle behind the ear and a scratch on their back. We used to allow our visitors to interact with the pigs, but alas what with the menace of swine flu on our borders our pigs are now in biosecurity lock-down and are out of bounds.
You are welcome to come and buy direct from the farm, but please call or email us first to arrange a convenient time. Learn about our Chestnuts here.
- Certified Organic Sweet Chestnuts
- Certified Organic gluten free chestnut flour
- A range of chestnut products
- Chestnut Honey and Chestnut Orchard Honey (new in 2020)
- Organic Herbs and Vegetables – when available
- Pork and Lamb – free range, pasture raised heritage Wessex Saddleback pork and grass fed organic Wiltshire lamb are available in packaged cuts or pre-ordered as a whole or half side order.
- Free Range Eggs – when our girls are laying.
These are comments from chefs and customers of our chestnut fed pork:
Sue and myself had a pork chop last night and it was absolutely beautiful, both of us agreed it was the best pork we could remember eating. We cooked it in the oven after rubbing Lavender olive oil into it with a bit of good lake salt and black pepper. Bloody Marvellous!
Incredible flavour and texture with none of that overly fatty character. We have the second one to enjoy tonight and are looking forward to it cold with salad and a lovely Pinot.”
Thanks again, Cheers”
Thanks again or your help – the farm is magnificent and will looks amazing on screen. Please convey our thanks also to John. Oh, and your bacon…..incredible!!!!!! Well done.
Fast Ed, Better Homes and Gardens, 6th August, 2017
“I think your product is fantastic and happy to work with you guys to promote it as best we can!”
Kim Brennan, Head Chef, Post Restaurant, Como The Treasury, Perth
“Hands down the best tasting pork around. #porkstars”
Matt Carulei, Heritage Brasserie 27/5/2017
“Just letting you know that the Pork you supplied us is probably the best we have ever had at Vasse Felix!
We aged them on the bone for 3 weeks and cooked the loins today ……Wow
Thankyou for providing us with such an amazing product…!! “
Regards Aaron Carr, Executive Chef, Vasse Felix, Margaret River
“Hi Linda, I just wanted to say that your pig I bought from you was amazing.
We have just finished using all the pig and it was a big hit with the staff and customers.”
Ben Keal, Head Chef, The Stables Bar and The Reveley, Perth
“It was the best pig I have ever had. I’m not just saying that.”
“Your pork was very very nice and tasty. “
Michael Elfwing, Cape Lodge
“The pork was beautiful and really well received by our customers. We did the belly in kumquat Jam (as a little entree), we have ash cured and smoked the legs and they are currently hanging in our fridge and will be ready as a nice smoked prosciutto in around 3 months. We served the chops with vegetables and a wheat beer sauce and Danish feta, and we have home smoked the bacon and have yet to use that on a dish. One of my chefs has taken photos of some of the dishes (as promised), and I will forward these onto you once he is back at work. The chestnuts my pastry chef has used for one of his desserts – the Mont Blanc. All in all, very happy with the product.”
Damian Gates, Head Chef, Willoughby Winery and Restaurant
“Hi Linda and John
We had one of the pork shoulders on Sunday and it was superb. Slow cooked for 6 hours it was super tender, moist and just fell apart. The fat was something else again (I wonder if that is where the unique flavour from the chestnuts is stored) and together with some roasted winter veggies and some potatoes from our last trip to Pemberton it all made for a pretty memorable meal. Can’t wait to try something similar with the second shoulder!!! Cheers and all the best”
Andrew and Gail
WHERE TO FIND OUR PRODUCTS
Come to our farm and purchase from the farm – please call us first to arrange a time as we are often out in in the orchard or on a tour. Email us for a current product and price list. You can also ask to join our Chestnut Lovers Community to hear – when chestnut season has started, when our chestnut fed heritage pork or organic Wiltshire Lamb is available and when we will be doing a delivery run through to Perth or in your area.
The following retailers are stocking the following products. If one of these retailers is near to you and not carrying what you would like to purchase, I suggest you ask them to get it in. I also suggest you call them beforehand to make sure they have in stock what you are seeking.
Basil’s Fine Foods 5/36 Anchorage Drive, Mindarie – Chestnuts in Syrup, Chestnut Chutney, Chestnut Mustard, Organic gluten free Chestnut Flour, organic gluten free peeled chestnuts, chestnut honey, orchard honey, organic gluten free fresh chestnuts.
Boatshed Market 40 Jarrad St Cottesloe – organic peeled frozen chestnuts vac packed
Clean Food Store 214A Nicholson Rd, Subiaco WA 6008 – Chestnuts in Syrup, Chestnut Chutney, Chestnut Mustard, Organic gluten free Chestnut Flour, Chestnut Honey, Chestnut Orchard Honey, Organic gluten free Fresh Chestnuts
Demand Farm through IGA stores – bacon (when available / for special events)
Dirty Clean Food online sales of our chestnut fed pork
Dunn & Walton Shop 8, 257 Scarborough Beach Rd, Doubleview WA 6018 – organic gluten free fresh chestnuts and organic gluten free chestnut flour
Kakulas Brothers 185 William Street, Northbridge, WA – organic gluten free chestnut flour, peeled frozen chestnuts and chestnut honey
Organic on Charles shop7/299 Charles St N.Perth – organic gluten free peeled chestnuts and organic gluten free chestnut flour
Paddock & Farm 1008 Beaufort Street, Bedford – organic gluten free chestnut flour organic gluten free peeled chestnuts frozen vac packed, Chestnuts in Syrup.
Peaches Fresh195 Hampton Rd, South Fremantle – organic gluten free fresh chestnuts, chestnut honey and organic gluten free chestnut flour
Scarvaci’s IGA Hamilton Hill 57/51 Rockingham Rd, Hamilton Hill WA – organic gluten free chestnut flour
The Cidery 43 Gifford Rd, Bridgetown WA – Chestnut Ale, Chestnuts in Syrup
The Garden Basket 31 Station Road, Margaret River WA – peeled frozen chestnuts
The Glass Jar 11/4 Guava Way, Halls Head WA – organic gluten free chestnut flour, fresh chestnuts (in season)
The Plant Organic Cafe & Market Shop 1, 20 Stephen Street, Bunbury – organic gluten free chestnut flour and chestnut honey
WA Artisan Food Group online sales fresh chestnuts (in season)
Western Growers Fresh 99 Causeway Road, Busselton, WA – organic gluten free chestnut flour, chestnut honey, chestnuts in syrup
I have been posting recipes on our facebook page, so if you haven’t checked it out recently, take a peak and see if anything tickles your fancy.
We offer a service to restaurants who purchase our pork and our chestnuts for a special chestnut-focussed dinner event. John and Linda will attend the event and in between courses will speak to dinner guests about the history of chestnuts, the story of the heritage pork, the health and sustainability philosophy and practices employed on the farm.