Monthly Markets

  • 1st Saturday Of The Month Veg Out St Kilda Farmers’ Market Chaucer Street, St Kilda (just behind Acland St and Luna Park ) - 8.30am to 1pm
  • 2nd Saturday of the MonthCroydon Farmers' Market Croydon Park, Hewish Road, Croydon - 8am to 1pm (Melways ref 50 K3)
  • 3rd Saturday of the MonthSandringham Farmers' Market Trey Bit Reserve, Jetty Rd, 8am - 1pm (Melways Ref 76 F8).
  • 4th Saturday of the MonthSlow Food Melbourne Farmers Market -  Abbotsford Convent, St Heliers Street, Abbotsford - 8am to 1pm (Melways ref 44 G5)    -
  • 4th Sunday of the MonthFlemington Farmers’ Market Mount Alexander Secondary College, 169-175 Mt Alexander Road , Flemington , Victoria - 9am to 1pm Mt Eliza Farmers’ Market Cnr Mt Eliza Way and Canadian Bay Road , Mount Eliza 8am - 12.30pm
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About Us

Age Epicure Article - Date: December 1 2009

These Lancashire lads hope their pork pies will fly Down Under, writes Richard Cornish.

IN THE middle of the NSW bush 60 kilometres north of Echuca is a small factory in an old dairy. From here, looking over a stand of old river gums, three young men from the same market town in Northern England turn out some of the best pork pies, sausages and smallgoods in the nation.

It started back in 2002 when baby-faced James Arrowsmith came to Australia from Chorley in Lancashire on a backpacking holiday to see family friends who had a small piggery on their property, Pacdon Farm, at Bunnaloo.

“I was doing business studies and fell in love with Bunnaloo — and I fell in love with the pigs,” says Arrowsmith. He went on to do business studies at the University of Liverpool but came back to Bunnaloo every British summer to work with the pigs.

When he graduated, Arrowsmith and a home-town mate, chef Peter Tonge, travelled around Australia working on farms and sharing a homesickness for English smallgoods — pork pies, black puddings and big fat pork sausages. It was the start of a business plan. They were going to give Australia the type of British smallgoods they grew up with. They knew where to get the pigs.

Tonge went back to Britain and tracked down the recipes while Arrowsmith found the people willing to back a couple of likely lads from Chorley with cold, hard cash. They returned to Bunnaloo, struck up a deal with the owners of Pacdon Farm and took over the disused dairy on the property. They brought the building up to standard by lining the dairy with a large coolroom from an old fish and chip shop.

The young men learnt to butcher whole pigs, sourced from the farm on which they were based, by referring to an old butchery DVD. “We quickly learned not to use a DVD player on which to saw a pig in half,” says Arrowsmith. “They tend not to work afterwards.”

They even made their own pork pie machine that looked more like some kind of medieval torture device, according to Arrowsmith. They received their ticket to produce commercially from the NSW Government last year and were soon joined by another lad from Chorley, Rob Melling, who took over crunching the figures.

Their pork pies are stunning. They contain chunks of pork encased in hot-water pastry made with lard rendered from the pigs’ back fat. “It was a hard sell to begin with as there’s no culture of pork pies in Australia,” says Arrowsmith.

Traditionally, pork pies are baked then the meat topped up with liquid jelly, made from cooked-down bones and offcuts, that sets inside the pies.

“We felt that was an outdated tradition that was developed during a time before refrigeration — plus we don’t have the facilities to make enough of the jelly.”

The rest of the range, however, is purely traditional. Their black pudding is made with heart-stopping quantities of fat, double cream and blood. Delicious. Their gammon is cured with sugar brine and peppercorns. Their gala pie is made with a seam of boiled eggs. Their haggis is brilliant and made with the pluck and flank from a local border Leicester stud’s sheep.

Their ham polarises people as not everyone appreciates the light-spiced brine and hot-smoked approach that cooks the ham. Their sausages, however, are brilliant. Fat, moist and flavoursome, they put most other sausages in the field to shame.

Success is not far away from the boys from Bunnaloo. They have picked up business awards, are the subject of a documentary, are well-respected in the twin towns of Echuca and Moama, have several top Melbourne chefs interested in their goods and now have a full-time distributor.

“We were raised on traditional pies, sausages, bacons and smallgoods from old-fashioned butchers in Lancashire,” says Arrowsmith. “We know what they should taste like and we know how to make them here in Bunnaloo.”