Happy pigs make tastier ham

HAM IT UP: Kim and Lucy House let one of their favourite sows get down and dirty in the mud wallow at Dawson Valley Free Range piggery.
HAM IT UP: Kim and Lucy House let one of their favourite sows get down and dirty in the mud wallow at Dawson Valley Free Range piggery. Contributed

HAPPY pigs make tastier ham and, as the saying goes, these Baralaba oinkers are happy as pigs in mud.

At Dawson Valley Free Range pig farm, it's all hands on deck, around the clock to have the happy hams ready for Christmas lunch.

Kim and Lucy House started the farm four years ago with an emphasis on providing a natural environment for their pigs and the concept has struck a chord with consumers. They have completely sold out of Christmas hams, with 70 going to the local area and demand stretching as far as Brisbane.

"People like the idea that their meat has lived a happy life, and I also think they like being able to buy direct from the farmer," Lucy said.

Dawson Valley Free Range pigs eat grass and cool themselves in mud - both crucial in producing happy, healthy pigs. Lucy said their input costs were much higher than more intensive productions and, like most farming businesses, margins were small.

"For us, knowing our pigs lived happy lives and we're giving people an alternative to the factory farms makes it all worthwhile," Lucy explained. Dawson Valley Free Range pork is available through local organic distributers or from Lucy at local markets.

- Megan McNaught


The easiest way to correctly store your Christmas ham once it has been opened is to use an old pillowcase, rinsed in water and wrung out tightly. If you alternate this pillowcase with another one every couple of days your ham will keep well in the fridge.

Ham will keep for between 12 to 16 days using the above method. Frozen ham it will keep for about two months.

Ham can be refrozen provided it was cooked. Wrap it in cling-wrap and store in the freezer.

Topics:  central queensland farmers pigs

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