Long Name Farm
FREE TO FALLOW: The Long Name Farm breed selection is best suited to free-range farming, where fat marbling and a fuller flavour develops in its own time. PHOTO: Samuel Shelley
Located in Little Swanport on the picturesque east coast of Tasmania, Long Name Farm has become the go-to pork producer for chefs and foodies alike. Supplying to butchers and high-end restaurants such as Saffire, Freycinet Lodge, Templo, Van Bone and Agrarian Kitchen, heritage breed pork producers Phil Outtram and Selina Smith have gone from strength to strength after introducing 12 free-range pigs to their property seven years ago. Today, they have grown their breeding herd to 45 sows and three boars, a mix of Wessex Saddleback and Berkshire heritage breeds best suited to outdoor living and are producing more than 300 grower pigs annually.
THE FARM Long Name Farm is built on an ethos of raising happy pigs and supplying ethically produced, flavoursome, free-range pork direct to the public and restaurants. "We are a good partnership; Phil is the farmer, ideas man and hands-on with the pigs every day, I manage marketing and accounts while working locally to supplement our pork income, all of which is reinvested into improving our farm," Selina said. "As a small hold producer, we don't have the economy of scale to make big profits, it's more a lifestyle choice." To support the growth of the business, Phil and Selina recently purchased a bush block next door which has doubled the size of the farm to 33.5 hectares (83 acres). "This expansion has given our pigs more foraging space and allows us to increase paddock rotations as we are not increasing our herd size," Phil said. Working hard to ensure their farm is viable and sustainable into the future, Phil and Selina have introduced vegetation barriers, excavated boundary contours and created several large catchment dams to divide the property from the estuary. They have also converted a refrigerated shipping container into a cool room and boning room and are employing a farm hand to help Phil with the day-to-day running of the farm.
THE HERD For Phil, free-range pork production is a slow and natural process. Their breeding herd mate naturally and, when ready, the sows are moved to farrowing paddocks. "The piglets are left to wean off their mums naturally which is typically at three months old, they are then separated by sex into grower paddocks and are ready for market at about 8-10 months old," Phil said, adding the sows are then moved into a resting paddock before joining the boars again. "Mating to market can take up to 12 months. Commercial pork production is 19 weeks on average and pigs are weaned at four weeks." In addition to Phil's 'slow grow' philosophy, he attributes the unique flavour of Long Name Farm pork to the free range roaming across large wattle paddocks, overlooking the Little Swanport estuary. "The pigs have a better view than us," Selina said. Phil added that the product's growing reputation for exceptional flavour is due to the daily milling of their own feed - a combination of locally sourced wheat, peas, barley and protein-rich canola meal. Though sourcing grain for daily rations has become challenging, along with rising production and processing costs, the couple is committed to growing and processing quality pork products for Tasmanians to enjoy. "We slaughter 12 pigs a fortnight and our closest abattoir is in Scottsdale, a 260km, eight-hour return journey," Selina said. Products are also available to order online via the farm's website, or direct from farmer's markets, in New Norfolk and Hobart, on the first and third weekend every month. "As primary producers, we absorb as much of the costs as possible to ensure our pork remains affordable," Selina said.
THE NEXT STEP The couple is looking forward to the future of their thriving business, recently investing in a mobile food van that doubles as a commercial kitchen. "The food van allows us to value add and showcase how good our pork tastes," Selina said. "Phil is also happy rekindling his old trade as a chef making and serving up delicious porky delights, including our handmade 'real pork sausages' with no preservatives or binders and nitrite-free dry cured cold smoked bacon and egg rolls." "Our goal is to have more Tasmanians experience the superior flavour of our free-range heritage breed pork versus commercially grown pork."
*First published August 2022 for Tasmanian Farmer Newspaper - owned by Australian Community Media.