For Alan and Leanne Wood, the decision to officially have their Markwood property certified organic was not a giant leap – they had already been following similar farming principles for 30 years.
Milawa Organic Beef is situated in the Milawa Gourmet Region of north-east Victoria, and produces organic beef from a herd of about 110 purebred angus cows, 40 yearling heifers and 40 steers on 200 hectares.
The property has been owned and farmed by the Wood family since 1874, originally operating as a dairy farm.
In December 2012, after a lengthy three year process, they received full organic certification with Australian Organic.
However, they had already chosen not to use chemicals and pesticides to develop the pasture and cattle a long time before that. The certification was simply a way of cementing their status.
“We are very passionate about good clean food and good health, as well as looking after the environment and natural resources for future generations,” Leanne said.
“I work in the health system and see prevention as a better option than "cure".
“We wouldn't want to produce food that we aren't completely happy to eat ourselves.”
The Woods have a dedicated clientele, who are appreciative of the way things are done on the property.
Their organic methods mean their animals live chemical and stress-free.
“They can really taste the difference and say it doesn't lose moisture upon cooking like conventional supermarket meat,” Leanne said.
“They like to learn about how and where the beef is grown and that the animals have a good life.”
The classification means their farm management practices are devoid of hormone growth promotont (HGP), chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, with only certified organic inputs permitted.
The Biological Farmers of Australia do not permit the use of worm or lice drenches, vaccines or antibiotic use on certified stock.
Where antibiotics are deemed necessary, cattle are kept in quarantine paddocks.
Any of the cattle treated with antibiotic products will never be sold as organic meat.
To grow their cattle naturally and end up with an animal with plenty of condition, Alan and Leanne maintain their pastures using minerals and compost teas, which are produced on-farm.
All the Milawa Organic Beef cattle are independently assessed and scanned to meet high standards of yield, tenderness, temperament, maturity pattern and structure.
We are very passionate about good clean food and good health, as well as looking after the environment and natural resources for future generations.
From the moment an animal in born on the property, they enter a life as close to that as nature intended.
In order to minimise stress to their cattle, they are transported to an abattoir located in Wangaratta – only a short 15 minute drive from their property.
By minimising the time in transit, they alleviate the stress to the cattle, which in turn ensures the meat is tender.
The bodies are returned for distribution direct to the public via online sales, as well as Milawa and Violet Town produce markets, and Almar Organics, Lavington.
They also supply steers to Cherrytree Organics, who have numerous outlets in Melbourne.
Find out more at www.milawaorganicbeef.com.au