Producer Profile – Chris Higham
We’re pastoralists and I value-add our goat and lamb. It started off with the campground next door wanting me to supply camp oven meals. The goat curry became my signature dish. I started going to the markets selling meal packs, and then pies -that’s gone pretty crazy.
I started selling our goat and lamb as meat, and doing some value adding like sausages, burgers, and even a goat ham.
We were normal pastoralist before: we would trap and load the goats and off they’d go. It was all about numbers.
Now it feels like I’m an educator, particularly at the Perth market. The consumer wants grain-free, free-range etc., but they don’t understand the food production system.
Their requirements are quite restrictive, and we need to educate them. I’ve been telling them it’s about animal welfare – we can’t hold animals in yards and not feed them, for example. I quite enjoy setting them straight. One lady who was a vegan is now a goat sausage eater.
I get a lot of fun out of creating new products. What on earth haven’t I learnt over the past few years? The whole process has been a quantum leap in terms of learning – I’d never even had a commercial kitchen.
We were farmers down south, and thought we would purchase a pastoral property so we could bring our stock north in a good season and grow more crop down south.
We came up for 12 months just to get a handle on what we’d bought, and then we were going to put on a manager and head back south, but we’re still here more than a decade on.
We really enjoy the Gascoyne, I think because of the diversity. There are lots of different industries, not just food.
The area has got a bucket-load of potential, but all industries need to work well together. I try and pair my meat with other local products; I use a lot of seconds like onions, capsicums, and tomatoes.
I enjoy chefs cooking up my meat for the long table lunch we hold here. Being a part of Food Council has been tremendous in terms of networking with chefs.