About Our Produce
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 then began using animals on our farm to 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.
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 ”
The idea of raising pigs on a sweet chestnut farm came after we went to Italy and discovered that in Parma, Italy, there was a group of black pigs 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. We started with black Berkshire heritage pigs and let them roam the orchard and feed on small chestnuts that were unsaleable in the marketplace. At the time Berkshire pigs were a rare breed as they were slower to raise as meat pigs. We soon learned that putting the pigs in the orchard was a mistake as they dug up the ground and created more work filling the holes in again. We now let them roam dedicated fields on the farm.
Initially our pigs were solely sold to restaurants in Perth and Melbourne, but now the majority of our pork goes to our database of customers in Western Australia and Singapore.
We have now changed from Berkshire pigs to Wessex Saddleback pigs. Berkshire pigs, previously rather rare, have now become more common in the marketplace. Whereas, Wessex Saddleback while they produce superb flavoured pork, are a breed that is endangered but are as they are equipped for living outdoors, we decided to “save” the Wessex Saddleback pig breed. Wessex Saddleback pigs are slower growing, which is why they have been abandoned by large commercial piggeries, but the meat is delicious, it is slightly darker in colour that other pig meats and heavier marbling means it is sweeter tasting pork.
Wessex saddleback pigs are black in colour with a white band covering their front legs and shoulders. They originated in Wessex which is now the New Forest region in the UK. These pigs are adapted to foraging in the forest and are known for excellent bacon. French chef Stephane Reynaud believes it is the best bacon he has ever tasted, we would have to agree.
Our pigs freely roam their paddock and are fed on a combination of pig food and chestnuts from the day they arrive on the farm. They stay on the farm for around four months until they go to heaven.
We only have small heard of pigs as the sweet chestnuts are the limiting factor in our production. This means that our pork sells quickly. We now get orders from across the region. Our customers know that they supply is limited and when it runs out they will have to wait for the next litter to be ready.
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. We produce:
- Certified Organic Sweet Chestnuts
- 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 fedd organic Wiltshire lamb are available in packaged cuts or pre-ordered as a whole or half side order.
- Free Range Eggs – when available
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.”
“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 – call first to make sure we are there.
Email us for a current product and price list. You can also ask to join our Chestnut Lovers Club to hear – when chestnut season has started, when our chestnut fed heritage pork is available and when we will be doing an order drop in your area.
We offer a service to restaurants who purchase our pork and our chestnuts for a special dinner event. John and Linda will attend the event and in between courses will talk to the dinner guests about the chestnuts, the pork, the farm, the health benefits of the products and the sustainability practices employed on the farm. Dinner guests enjoy hearing about where their food comes from.
We also work with chefs to hold long table events on the farm.