Think inside the box

LOCATED strategically at the halfway point of the Great Eastern Drive at Little Swanport, the free-range, full flavoured pork produced from Long Name Farm is rapidly spreading to Tasmania’s finest eateries.

Overlooking the Little Swanport estuary, Long Name Farm is run by Phil Outtram and his partner Selina Smith.

The 30ha property has headed on a different path than they had initially intended.

Having owned the property for about 10 years beforehand, the pigs were not introduced until 2014, where their role on the farm was focussed more on land clearing and soil restoration.

“We are a good partnership, Phil is the farmer and I manage accounts and marketing which is fairly typical of small farm businesses,” Ms Smith said.

“Our main product is half Pig-in-a-Box which we sell direct to the public and we’re also sending our pork products to high-end restaurants like Saffire Freycinet and Stefano Lubiana.”

“Initially we got the pigs in to improve the property, the idea was to move the pigs around the paddocks, re-fertilise the soil and clear the ground,” Mr Outtram said.

“Needless to say, they’re still here.”

Starting out with a dozen pigs, through their breeding and acquisition of stock from similar properties, Long Name Farm is now home to a rotation of more than 400 pigs annually.

Mr Outtram said their herd of 40 sows and three boars would produce about 300 heritage-breed Berkshire and Saddleback mix grower pigs per year, all of which were raised free-range on the property.

“This is a herd size we and the land can manage.”

Since their initial introduction, Long Name Farm has worked hard to establish a viable and sustainable free range pig farm, where – but for a substantial barrier of vegetation that divides the property and estuary– the pigs are free to wander the large paddocks.

Kept tame, relaxed and fed on a supplementary mix of soaked wheat, peas, barley and canola, Long Name Farm produce 10 to 12 pigs per fortnight for slaughter.

“Our biggest obstacle is logistics such as sourcing feed, delivery costs and processing.

“Our closest abattoir is a 260km return journey.

Plus, a lack of competition has seen processing costs increase by 30 per cent within the last 12 months.”

With a view to introducing a greater amount of cropping to the farm, Mr Outtram already has plans for his future paddocks where the pigs can be useful for their cropping rotations.

Due to the natural curiosity of the pigs and, to a degree, their destructiveness, the soil that once was hardened and drastically lacking in pH is being constantly turned and fertilised.

In the paddocks where the pigs are housed, the red soil crumbles in hand and the rocks have been worked to the surface by digging snouts, where they are collected regularly.

“We are still very much in the preliminary stages of setting up, but our plan is eventually to start and sell our pork and vegetables on the farm,” Mr Outtram said.

“Already, we sell almost all of our meat directly to the customer, and this will be just another way to expand on that.”

The ambition for Long Name Farm is to produce a mix of annual, aromatic pastures on their property, as well as a number of green manure crops to complement the pigs’ own manure efforts.

“I’m looking at a mixed pasture rotation, and with the new block we have brought next door, we are very interested in fennel, mustard seeds and rape, as well as turnips and potatoes in the winter to encourage our pigs to dig and distinguish our pork from all the rest.”

Long Name Farm are at the Hobart Farm Gate Market on the third Sunday of each month.

They also sell their pork on their website.

Long Name Farm refers to the Aboriginal name given to the area of Little Swanport, tee. be.leb. yer. men.nan.yer, which means “place where a moving stream flows into a large estuary surrounded by hills”.

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