STORY AND PICTURES BY RICHARD CORNISH
Tammi Jonas has a problem with authority.
The outspoken Eganstown cattle and pig farmer produces high quality and ethically raised free-range beef and pork. She has built an on farm butchery and promotes pasture fed animal production of the highest quality. For her effort she is constantly locking horns with the food police. "Life is good," says the American born farmer. "We have good volcanic soil. We have access to market. Our customers are really well educated," she says.
"The biggest problem is that we small farmers are over regulated," she says. "We come under the same meat regulations as big multinationals. It can take me two years to get a product on the
shelves due to regulation." She gives the example of some smoked pork hock she wanted to sell. Authorities would not let her sell them under vacuum in plastic bags like she does raw meat as the hocks had been cooked. "I was told people might want to eat them straight away," she says. She suggested she simply put the words COOK BEFORE CONSUMING on the pack. It took two years of paperwork before common sense prevailed.
She runs Jonai Farms with her husband Stuart and three children. Most of the meat they produce is sold through a community supported agriculture programme. In this, subscribers agree to take a certain amount of the production of the farm. The excess can be bought at the farm gate that can be found on the farm along a small country lane. "We invite customers to go for a walk and see how we grow the animals before they buy the meat,"
says Jonas. "They can see how animals should be raised." Amongst other local food identities including Gary Thomas from Spade to Blade, Jonas is one of the organisers of the inaugural Slow Meat Symposium being held in Daylesford and surrounds on September 3-5. "Industrial livestock agriculture is a pox on society," says Jonas vehemently. "Meat animals need to be raised on pasture and people should have access to that meat. People need to have access to meat from animals that are not kept in inhumane and environmentally disastrous conditions." The Symposium has farm visits, talks with chefs and farmers and ethical food meals. The mantra for Slow Meat is "Eat better meat less." A belief Jonas shares wholeheartedly.
To find tickets Google search ‘Slow Meat Australia’ . Visit Jonai Farms find the details at www.jonaifarms.com.au