Meet the farmer
Meet the farmer
Pepper Leaf is proud to partner with some wonderful farmers who take great pride in their produce. We had a few questions for Andrew Smith from Cheffields, who supply the amazing meat that’s in the Pepper Leaf boxes.
You used to be a chef, why did you decide to become a beef farmer?
Having grown up on the land it was more of a return to farming than starting out. We moved onto our farm while I was still running a kitchen but the hospitality life is not that conducive to family life so it was a no brainer really. Our kids are a huge part of my lifestyle.
What is it about farming that appeals to you?
Our farm, which is quite small, is a great way to stay connected to our suppliers. We can relate to their businesses as we go through the ups and downs of farming our beef herd. We also love the fresh eggs each morning and home grown vegies, it’s a great way to raise kids with a natural, free range approach that helps to teach them where their food comes from and what it means to live off the land.
What sets Cheffields apart from other farmers/producers?
I was blessed to have worked for 18 years as a chef in and around Melbourne and this experience has been invaluable over the past 15 years as I work closely with a large volume of chefs and restaurant owners. I build a strong partnership with each customer to nut out the best possible product for their desired menus. I love hearing their ideas and then fine-tuning cuts and methods with them. We are constantly learning from each other and if I can help keep foodies in business by meeting margins, we all benefit from great places to dine in!
Why should people care about where their produce comes from?
Animal welfare is very important to us and most people these days. Knowing our suppliers have the same level of care as what we show to our herd helps us to keep this in check. Beyond that though, people need to know where their produce comes from as there are many great farmers locally that need support to remain sustainable. Ninety per cent of our beef is from Gippsland farms and we source as much of our other produce from this great region as we can. Meeting the farmers and seeing the passion they have for their animals is one of the highs of the job.
What meat and/or other products do you produce?
On our farm, just beef. As a business though, everything! If it’s from an animal, I can source it and always preferably local. Ranging from Brandy Creek quail eggs to Moyarra free-range whole pigs’ heads for a medieval luncheon!
What’s your favourite easy dinner?
On a nice warm summer’s night fire up the BBQ for a homemade beef burger incorporating a free range egg and garden fresh tomato and lettuce.