With farming running through her veins Saskia trained as a chef, and in 1997 established Barossa Farm Produce, a venture designed to cultivate natural robust flavours only achieved through bespoke farming practices. Working closely with local producers and a belief in chemical free, seasonal and free range produce, Saskia’s Farm Produce is now the choice of many leading chefs and home cooks alike.
By farming ethically with committed farmers, low stocking densities, a majority of heritage breeds, feed tailored to her own vegetarian diet and allowing animals and poultry to roam naturally, foraging bugs grubs and grasses Saskia is producing chicken, pork and game worthy of any top table.
"Sustainability is the by-product of excellence"
With flavour being the ultimate quality goal of her produce Saskia firmly believes that sustainability is the by-product of excellence. With Australian produce being some of the best in the world consumers should be taking some simple steps to support local farmers and its important to do your research. “Know what is Australian and what isn’t, new labelling laws should make this easier but lets face it, the amount of information and what it means can be daunting.”
A few simple rules of thumb can help us better support our local producers.
Shopping the independents such as IGA and Foodland will likely give you more access to more local products than the big guns like Woolworths, Coles and Aldi.
Support your local butcher, baker, grocer and candlestick maker if you've got one!
Many butchers are still buying in whole carcass which means the meat is more likely to have been raised close to you unlike prepackaged meat of indiscriminate sources. Supporting local business also promotes careers and essential trades like butchery, bakery, and food production which can help to retain vital skills that allow for product to continue to be made locally.
Get acquainted with your local farmers markets, they are providing some of the best produce money can buy. Spend the time to cultivate relationships with your local producers and learn more about how your food is grown. Let’s face it food that has been plucked from the soil only a day or so ago, or eggs that are recently laid just taste amazing!
“If consumers are making themselves feel good by paying a tiny bit extra for ticking box then they ought to know the only person they are fooling is themselves”
So with those tips under our belts what about free range, surely that’s a good option too right?, it's the natural way for an animal to live its life, roaming free in the great outdoors. And lets not forget it's that roaming that leads to muscle development that ultimately translates to flavour on your plate. If like me you’ve been feeling good about yourself because you always seek out the ‘free range’ chicken at the supermarket you may want to think again.
Saskia has serious concerns when it comes to the Chicken Industry and their labelling of free range. The big players put free range on their packaging and yet the birds are barely out of brooding sheds where they stay to keep warm until fully feathered. “They haven't been alive long enough to be truly free range and if they were they would cost a lot more.”
Many ask Saskia why she herself doesn't get the free range accreditation, but she considers the majority of accreditation bodies to be a joke, and put simply the standards are so low that she would never consider running the systems they allow under their free range regime.
Free range continues to be a controversial marketing tactic which Saskia says is no better illustrated by the notion of free range lamb! “Can you imagine the impracticality of shedded sheep?” she still laughs when people specifically request it.
So what are you waiting for?
If you're lucky enough to be be in or around the Barossa and would like to try genuine free range get down to the Barossa Farmers Market (Saturday 7.30am-11.30am) , or The Adelaide Wayville Farmers Market (Sunday 9am-1pm) and try Saskia's farm produce for yourself, and of course if you're not able to get down to the Barossa and fancy tasting some of these culinary delights, you can simply go online at www.saskiabeer.com and order delivery to SA, VIC and NSW metro areas, check the site for details.
Saskie Beer Farm Produce
The Beer name in both Australian and international foodie circles is certainly one that resonates loud and clear and for good reason. Having been nourished by the coveted country cooking of her mother Maggie, educated on the the best seasonal produce available in the Barossa, and surrounded by her dad Colin's game bird farming business it's unsuprising that Saskia found food as her calling.