Story by By Kim Honan ABC Rural – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-10/delicious-chickens-in-demand/5512188
A poultry business in northern New South Wales has again been named as a finalist in the ABC Delicious Produce Awards.
It’s the fourth year in a row that Burrawong Gaian Poultry has received the recognition.
Beth and Hayden McMillan raise ducks and chickens on pasture on their property near Stuarts Point in the Macleay Valley.
It’s the first time however that the chicken, instead of the duck, has turned the judges’ heads.
Beth McMillan says it was a pleasant surprise that the humble chicken made it to the final.
“We were a little bit surprised because the last three years the Pekin duck has been a finalist, and also a medallist,” she said.
Both the chicken and the duck were entered into the awards this year.
“It gives a good, all round overview, that the judges that judge the product think that what we’re producing is of equally good quality,” she said.
Around 600 chickens are processed a week on farm and sent north to Byron Bay and south to Sydney and Melbourne.
We are probably one of the bigger pasture-raised models and I think it does show that our product is consistently of a high quality.
Beth McMillan, poultry producer, Burrawong Gaian
The producers are the only chicken finalists in the From the Paddock – Primary category of the awards this year.
“There’s a growing number of pasture-raised models that are popping up all over the country,” she said.
“Part of the Delicious brief is that you do have to be commercial so that consumers are able to source that product fairly regularly.
“We are probably one of the bigger pasture-raised models and I think it does show that our product is consistently of a high quality.”
Beth says being a finalist creates a lot of interest and leads to a greater demand for their poultry.
“It also opens the doors for you to get a spot at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival,” she said.
“Delicious was one of the sponsors of that so they ask finalists and medallists to go every year, which is a great opportunity.”
And this year was particularly exciting for Beth and Hayden with their poultry used by international chefs in the event’s two largest degustations.
“Jacques Reymond cooked the chicken on the Friday evening and then David Thompson from Nahm cooked on the Saturday night,” Beth said.
“It’s just such a great honour and the feedback that you get is so good.
“Alvin Leung from Hong Kong came and saw me on the Sunday and said he’d worked on both degustations and watched the poultry cook and said it was the most amazing poultry that he’s ever seen, so that was very exciting.”
The winners of the 2014 ABC Delicious Produce Awards will be announced in July.