Eva Valley Meats is located at the Old Cameron Downs farm in Eva Valley, 107km from Darwin City Centre near the town of Batchelor. The farm and on-site abattoir are owned by Pete Cogill & Fiona McBean, both of whom were born in the Northern Territory. Aided by a tight knit team, they are very passionate about supplying fresh local product to Darwin & the surrounding area.
Pete is our livestock manager, Mr Fix-it of all things mechanical and a friendly face a lot of locals already know. Pete. He was born in Darwin, has lived and worked on several different stations in the top end, and was key to the initial vision, design and building of Eva Valley Meats. Although a Diesel Fitter by trade he chose to come back to the cattle industry soon after finishing his apprenticeship to work alongside his father at Litchfield Station.
In 2009 Pete began buying cattle as the start of a breeder herd whilst working away contract mustering on properties throughout the NT. By 2015 he and Fiona took the opportunity to purchase Old Cameron Downs station on which the Eva Valley Meats Facility is built.
Pete is passionate about breeding Senebrah cattle (a cross of the Brahman and Senepol breeds). The combination of these genetics was chosen to increase animal welfare outcomes by negating the need to de-horn whilst maintaining a highly tropically adapted breed which produces a very high-quality carcass.
Pete's favourite dish is Ox-Tail Stew with Dumplings and his piece of advice when it comes to cooking it properly is no short-cuts! The Ox-Tail must be cooked low and slow, all day long in a cast-iron pot and not in a pressure cooker. The stew will thicken through evaporation and the dumplings will take on all the amazing flavour that only bone-in cuts can deliver.
Fiona is our hands-on manager, driver of big-picture ideas and another local to the Territory. Born in Katherine and raised in the remote NT, she has lived and worked on farms from England to Canada and even Brazil where she learnt different pasture and soil management techniques. Before Pete and Fiona built Eva Valley Meats, Fiona completed a Meat Inspector's Certificate so as to ensure that the process from breeding to making sausages could be kept entirely on-farm.
In the past, Fiona has been Pete's right-hand man with mustering and yard work, and has made sausages and packed in the butcher's shop but with two very young kids at home, is now more commonly found in her rambling garden or cooking the farm's fresh produce to create new rissole and sausage recipes.
Fiona is a strong advocate of healthy living including nose-to-tail eating like the forgotten cuts of tongue and liver however her favourite cut is Osso Bucco, cooked all day with herbs picked direct from the garden (and a dash of red wine...). Her biggest piece of advice when it comes to cooking beef is DON'T CUT OFF THE FAT! The fat is the store of flavour and many nutrients and therefore it is essential for our own health that the beef you eat comes from a healthy, grass-fed source.
Steve is our butcher and the boss man of our little meat packing team. Born in the Territory but raised in Queensland, Steve has been doing what he does best for more than 34 years! He prides himself on finding quality flavour and colour in every product he produces from dry-aged cuts to sausages.
But his skill set doesn’t stop there! Steve has over 20 years’ experience in farm management, animal handling and welfare. Steve has played midwife to struggling cows and takes pride is raising his own happy herd of animals. He knows how to operate all the heavy machinery and loves getting outside and dirty around the farm.
Steve loves his meat simple with his top choice being a rump steak, cut thick and cooked on a wood-fired BBQ. When it comes to cooking steak his number one tip is don't boil it, get your pan hot first and don't over-cook it.