As part of a short holiday in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, we had attended a ‘Plate To Paddock’ afternoon, organised by Judy Plath from Nourish Cafe in Bundaberg. We were lucky enough to buy the last two tickets. The event was hosted on the Bucca property of Rob & Sarah Cook, owners of the RS Cattle Company and Tender Sprouted Meats.
The farm visit provided an opportunity to meet and learn more about local producers and a more wholesome and sustainable way of eating. The afternoon included cooking demonstrations, tastings and talks and a short farm tour. This included a visit to the ‘sproutarium’ (well that’s what I’m calling it), a small shed housing trays of barley which is sprouted in controlled conditions. Germination in the shed takes them from seeds to ready to eat sprouts in 4-5 days.
Rob and Sarah acknowledge that grain fed beef produces a more consistent style of beef but are also opposed to the stressful environment that feed lots create for cattle. As they were already using sprouted barley for their other animals, they determined that this type of sprouted feed could supplement the grass the cattle were eating and also improve quality and consistency. The lush green sprouts are fed to the free ranging cattle along with a mix of molasses and hay. To say they love it would be an understatement as you can see in my photos of these happy Brangus cows.
Happy Cows, Happy Farmers, Happy Customers
The natural extension of their MSA highly graded meat was to sell the product directly to the public. Along with butcher Shane Simpson, Rob and Sarah have started their first butcher shop in town aptly named Tender Sprouted Meats. This means they can maintain quality control over every step of the chain from farm to table to table. Customers also know exactly where and how the beef has been grown and the animals have been treated. A mobile meat van also gave us the opportunity to buy the meat on site at the farm and have a chat to the butcher about cuts and cooking techniques.
Along the way we also learned a little more about Rob and some of the challenges faced by him and the family and how they overcome these. For those who are not familiar with Rob’s story, he is a successful cattle farmer who had a helicopter accident whilst mustering cattle in the NT outback which resulted in him becoming a C4 quadriplegic. The accident created many challenges for Rob and his family but also opened a lot of opportunities up that he may not have otherwise considered. For a more detailed background of Rob’s story, I recommend visiting the links below.
Thanks to Judy at Nourish Cafe in Bundaberg for putting together such a fascinating afternoon and to Rob & Sarah Cook for hosting. If you are in the Bundaberg region, make sure to visit Tender Sprouted and Nourish. Check the Nourish website to learn about other Producer Days that Judy may have organised.
5/176 Bourbong St
Bundaberg Qld 4670
Tender Sprouted Meats
55 Watson Street
Bundaberg Qld 4670