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Prime Merino - A Culinary Hit

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19-Jul-2010 Bendigo food lovers and visitors are about to be treated to a product with a difference that Melbourne Foodies have already discovered.

Teaming up with renowned chef Peter McLeod, Paul and Kylie Walton’s, Wurrook Superfine Prime merino meat is to be featured at his Mt Edgecombe Hotel as part of the Australian Sheep Show’s Festival of Lamb.

But don’t let the Festival’s name mislead you. Wurrook Superfine Prime is a very specific hogget-mutton product.

“After years of research and fine tuning the eating quality of our merino meat we eventually launched it into Melbourne through Farmers Markets two and a half years ago, quickly establishing a very devout group of merino meat lovers.

 "The people that are buying our meat love it because it is a leaner type of meat and many comment on how they enjoy the sweeter, deeper flavour confirming to us there really is a point of difference with our product,” Kylie said.

Due to growing demand and the fact that the farmers markets were providing a limited shop front, Paul and Kylie began retailing their various specialty merino meat cuts and gourmet sausages in selected fine food outlets.

“Not long after this, we began being approached by restaurants and Wurrook Superfine Prime is now available in more than 35 wholefood stores and fine dining restaurants throughout Melbourne and Regional Victoria,” Kylie said.

“We have found that our customers really do want to know where their food is coming from and how it has been treated. We offer our customers a unique recipe booklet and with specific how to cook methods including information about our farm and flock.

“I know the sheep really mean a lot to Paul and its very rewarding for us to know that our customers take notice and care that our sheep are being handled respectfully with particular emphasis on low stress conditions,” Kylie said.
According to Paul, their Wurrook Superfine Prime venture began from their appreciation of the versatility of the Superfine Merino.

“We found the years of breeding good doing, deep bodied large framed stock suited our venture down to the ground.

“Through the natural cycle of stock prices which constantly go up and down, the wonderful eating quality attributes of our merino meat have seen it at times being way undervalued and lumped in categories with inferior product.

“A lot has changed even since we began. We’ve seen mutton at one stage at about sixty cents a kilogram to be now well over four dollars a kilogram to the farmer.  And we’ve gone from what was a large wasteful AWI to one that is now more marketing focused but unfortunately due to the falling sheep numbers is operating on a much smaller budget.

He said like most farmers they only had a a basic perception of what happened when their livestock left the farm for processing. After being involved in this venture, we certainly have a greater respect for the processors and retailers that form the supply chain of the lamb and sheep meat industry.

“It really is an exciting and rewarding time for sheep farmers who have well bred flocks of sheep. We haven’t lost sight of the fact that you can shear a sheep many times but you can only eat him once,” he said. 
Wurrook Superfine Prime was recently announced as a finalist for the 2010 Delicious Magazine Produce Awards. Wurrook Superfine Prime was shortlisted by a panel of Australia’s leading chefs from around the nation before being presented to the national judges. This year, judging took place over two days at Justin North’s Becasse restaurant in Sydney, where six national judges gathered to critique produce from the categories - earth, dairy, paddock and sea.

The Mt Edgecombe Hotel’s Wurrook Signature Dish will be a Navarin of Wurrook mutton with Pamsan and Sage Madelines and Tuscan Black Cabbage amongst a range of other dishes using Wurrook Superfine Prime such as a Middle Eastern Tartare of Backstrap with Labne and Artichoke Petals.

Stock and Land July 2010 Stock and Land July 2010 (3078 KB)

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"I have been using Wurrook Superfine Prime for its leaner meat and superior flavour on my menu at Stones of the Yarra Valley for the past year and have been very impressed with the consistency of the product.  We have been cooking the meat sous vide to enhance its flavour." 
Dale Prentice
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