We produce cattle differently on Old Cameron Downs, about 100km south of Darwin. Easting locally and taking the opportunity to personally know your farmer can be beneficial to both the environment and your health, and when buying directly from farmers your dollars stay in the community.
Fiona and Pete grew-up helping their fathers with the job of home butchering from a very young age which sparked their appreciation for quality meat and the commitment required through every step “from paddock to plate”.
Traditionally all cattle stations would butcher their own cattle for their staff and families. Unfortunately the skills required to do this are being lost with the increase in industrial agriculture.
Fiona and Pete grew-up helping their father’s with the job of home butchering from a very young age which sparked their appreciation for quality meat and the commitment required through every step “from paddock to plate”.
Traditionally all cattle stations would butcher their own cattle for their staff and families. Unfortunately, the skills required to do this are being lost with the increase in industrial agriculture.
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 three 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.
On Old Cameron Downs, about 100 kilometres south of Darwin we produce cattle differently. Most of the food you consume in the Northern Territory is not only being transported long distances to our plates but what goes into our food and who actually produces it is hidden from us. Eating locally and taking the opportunity to personally know your farmer can be beneficial to both the environment and your health, and when buying directly from farmers your dollars stay in the community.
Eva Valley Meats is still the only source of Northern Territory beef available in Darwin.
We believe in the farming system known as regenerative agriculture whereby we improve the water cycle and rebuild soil organic matter which increases soil biodiversity and enhances carbon sequestration. We also have an unshakable commitment to purely grass raised and finished cattle, allowing the animals to free-range and using tropically adapted breeds to minimise the need for human intervention.
We own the entire process from paddock to plate which enables us to have complete knowledge of each animals’ life and maintain the highest levels of welfare. We ensure that the entire carcass is used and actively promote the health benefits of consuming the lesser known cuts.
Our cattle are 100% grass-fed and finished in the Northern Territory. Access to a natural diet with a large diversity of plant species minimises the need for human intervention in any way. Grass-fed meat has a high nutrient density, the correct ratio of Omega 3:6 fatty acids and is a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), all of which are necessary for healthy human brain function.
For a lot of passionate beef eaters, grass-fed provides a more nuanced and complex flavour profile.