Meat the Maker
In the Barossa Valley region, there’s a story to be told and a history to be learned for everything. Our food at Harvest Kitchen is no exception. Local produce, flavours, personalities and stories all go into our dishes, and an understanding and respect of this turns them into something special. This understanding and respect is part of our ethos, from our people cooking the dishes to the team setting them down on your table. Last week the Harvest Kitchen staff, including yours truly, were provided with the opportunity to learn the story behind our Hutton Vale Lamb.
Hutton Vale Farm can be found just outside Angaston, in the Eden Valley. Up a long dusty track sits a cluster of farm buildings, and there we were welcomed by Jan and John Angas, the current owners and custodians of Hutton Vale. Under the shade of trellised vines, Jan and John explain their own beliefs, methods and stories behind the unique Eden Valley farm.
Their families land has housed sheep for 160 years, all the time focussing on treating the animals with respect, care and above all else using natural farming methods. The sheep are run as a ‘closed flock’; other than buying in rams all the sheep on the farm were born and raised there. This builds a stronger sense of adaptability between the animals and the land, resulting in less stress, happier animals and better quality meat.
A brief stroll around some of the property took us to their small poultry project, side-by-side with their pig pen. As we walked around a piece of land that measures some 2,000 acres it is easy to imagine a large team of farmhands taking up the strain that such a property presents. However the reality is Jan and John, their daughter Kate and her husband Shaun all living on and caring for the property.
Aside from lamb, Hutton Vale have also teamed up with Kym Teusner of Teusner Wines to make the most of the small vineyard on their land. Dry-grown vines, they yield Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. Years ago, while starting his career in winemaking, Kym Teusner came across the Hutton Vale fruit which his then-employer had been buying, describing it as some of the best fruit he had ever seen. Upon starting his own label, Kym approached Jan and John and expressed his interest in their fruit. Now, years later, Hutton Vale have their own label, which we were fortunate enough to taste.
On a balmy Barossan afternoon, sitting in the shade enjoying a glass of Hutton Vale Grenache and copious amounts of home-grown lamb Jan has just pulled out of the oven, it’s easy to forget where this all ends up. Then, looking at my work colleagues next to me, it’s obvious. This is it right here. The carefree nonchalance that goes with great wine, amazing food and good company. All the hard work ends up on a plate, in a glass, and part of a moment that you'll never forget.