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Tender Sprouted Meats – Tastes of Wide Bay-Burnett

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.

sprouts fed to cattle at tender sprouted meats cows enjoying the spruots from the feed trough at tender sprouted meats
rob cook sits alongside a wheelbarrow of barley sprouts

5 day old sprouts ready to feed to the cattle

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.

judy plath from nourish cafe, bunbaberg, talks to the group

Judy from Nourish Cafe talks about making sensible food choices (meanwhile, I have a wine in my hand…)

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.

Rob Cook tells us his story

Rob Cook tells us his story


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.

Nourish Cafe
5/176 Bourbong St
Bundaberg  Qld  4670

Tender Sprouted Meats
55 Watson Street
Bundaberg  Qld  4670

Rob Cook’s website
Rob & Sarah Cook – Landline
Rob & Sarah Cook – Local ABC Radio


All good events end with a bonfire!

8 comments… add one
  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 26, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I really like the paddock to plate concept. We only eat free range meat as it’s better for us and the environment.

    • Fiona Ryan October 27, 2016, 3:59 pm

      Australians (no doubt like South Africans) love their meat. It’s important that we explore high welfare options as I can’t see the country becoming vegetarian any time soon.

  • Amanda October 26, 2016, 3:02 pm

    It certainly looks like those sprouts are going down very well – that steer is practically grinning.
    And wine is part of my healthy food choices, too. It keeps me sane. 😉

    • Fiona Ryan October 27, 2016, 3:59 pm

      The cows were running to the trough so they obviously enjoy it : )

  • Celia October 28, 2016, 9:45 am

    What a fabulous and inspiring story, Fi! Going to click on the links now.. xx

    • Fiona Ryan October 29, 2016, 9:40 am

      When we visited the farm, I had no idea who Rob was or that it was his farm we were visiting. The family certainly goes from strength to strength. Bundaberg and surrounds is a lovely community.

  • sherry from sherrys pickings October 29, 2016, 2:42 pm

    wow those cows look happy munching away. i admire rob after reading this. how brave and how hard it must have been for such a fit bloke to adjust to this. yep sproutarium sounds just right.

    • Fiona Ryan October 31, 2016, 10:23 am

      They appear to be very content and that surely makes for less stressed cows and better quality meat. Rob is amazing and Sarah is legend.

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