Beef bacon, anyone?
Claystone Meats: A more sustainable take on top-quality cattle
Founded in 2021 by multi-generational farmers Mish and Stace Allen, Claystone Meats was born from the desire to create change in the Australian meat industry and offer consumers a more sustainable choice. Family-owned and operated out of Beard, ACT, Claystone prides itself on herding exclusively free-range cattle that roam the open grass pastures of the lush Hoskinstown plains.
Their cattle – a deliberate mix of Angus and Hereford – are antibiotic- and hormone-free, and grazed on a considered diet that includes silage and spent grain from local brewery Bentspoke. The cattle are farmed using low-stress handling techniques wherever possible, which results in a herd with exceptional flavour and greater consistency than more mainstream products on the market.
At Claystone Meats, ethical farming goes beyond just happy, healthy cattle. Their facility in Beard has been built to optimise meat quality, keeping processing and quality control in-house while also keeping food miles low. Everything from their temperature-controlled butchers' room to their in-house chef has been designed to deliver the best possible quality while leaving a lighter impact on the land.
We caught up with Stace to chat about all things sustainability, the Canberra food scene, and why you should give their beef bacon a go.
Q. Can you tell us a little more about your and Mish’s farming backgrounds?
A. We both grew up on the land quite close to each other as the crow flies. Mish came from a dairy farming background his father changing to a beef operation when Mish was a young boy. Mish has a natural affinity with animals (chooks, horses, cattle, dogs you name it!) and has spent his life striving to be at the top of the game, to source and use the best genetics and stay up to date on the best farming techniques. I grew up on a beef farm and loved the extreme nature of farming and the practical challenges that you face on a daily basis. Both of us are multi-generational farmers and have each learnt so much from our relatives that have farmed before us.
Q. Can you tell us more about the relationship between Claystone Meats and Brodburger?
A. A chance meeting saw a relationship form between Claystone and Brod. They were seeking consistent high-end beef for their cult following of burgers. We were looking for another option for our beef than big supermarkets, so a relationship formed. After supplying Brod for a few years we knew the demand was there to further our supply so… here we are!
Q. How did partnering with an icon of the Canberra food scene shape your operation?
A. The guys from Brod are not only Canberra icons but also truly incredible humans and have supported the Claystone farm through the drought when we were at our lowest and have been our biggest cheerleaders as we came out the other side. Without partnering with these guys we might never have taken this leap into.
Q. What does a more sustainable future for the farming industry look like to you?
A. For us, it's about making use of others waste products like the grain from a local brewery that would otherwise be in landfill and can be utilised as a feed source for our animals or as organic matter put back into the soil. Using what we have on hand and cropping in a manner to ensure correct rotations and earth that it nurtured rather than exploited.
Q. What do you wish more people knew about sustainable farming/choosing more sustainable meat options?
A. We often say to people that we aren’t trying to convince them to eat more meat. For us it’s not about that, it’s about eating meat that you know has been raised and farmed in the best way possible. Making the better choice.
Q. What makes your beef bacon so special/better than pork bacon?
A. Gee, I don’t know that I would say better than pork… but it's every bit as good and anyone can eat it. Those that are restricted by diet or cultural beliefs are able to enjoy the smokey salty goodness that was have come to know and love.
Q. What product on the menu would you recommend to someone new to Claystone Meats? Why?
A. A ribeye! Packed full of flavour and presents so impressively when sliced and served to share with the bone on the plate. It really is a crowd pleaser
Want to connect with Claystone Meats? Keen to get some of Canberra’s best meats on your shelves or menu? Head to our Producer Directory to read more and to get in direct contact: Claystone Meats.
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