Cargo Fresh snags snare a following

Cargo Fresh paddock to plate business a popular choice

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Jeremy Evans (front) of Cargo Fresh, Cargo, with some of his Mongolian Mongrel sausages and Tim Brown of Magics Meats, Manildra. Photo: Rachael Webb

Jeremy Evans (front) of Cargo Fresh, Cargo, with some of his Mongolian Mongrel sausages and Tim Brown of Magics Meats, Manildra. Photo: Rachael Webb

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Central West paddock to plate business with a twist gains momentum.

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Sausages with not only different flavours, but memorable names, are building a following in the NSW Central West region for Cargo Fresh producers Jeremy and Nicole Evans, Courchevel, Cargo.

Mongolian Mongrel and Shaun the Sheiks, a Moroccan lamb sausage with honey, sultanas and almonds, are just two of the popular products that the Evans have produced as part of their paddock to plate business with a twist, that they operate with their children Otis, 6, and Elwyn, 7.

The Evans first moved to Courchevel six years ago after wanting to give their kids a country upbringing and have a crack at growing their own food, free from anything unnecessary and having a say in what went into their bodies.

Mr Evans said for the first year or so they agisted cattle and then started trading stock, before they came upon a line of 37 young Angus heifers.

"We thought - why not grow them out and start our own herd ... so we did," he said. "The heifers grew and filled out nicely to be well framed, beautifully calm stock, and with an annual holiday with the neighbour's bulls, they produced some terrific calves.

"These calves, along with a small flock of 30 Dorper ewes from Canowindra and a ram from 20 Mile White Dorpers, were to be the start of Cargo Fresh."

When the first lambs hit the ground, Mr Evans was processing them himself.

"I was killing them myself ... so took the kids out to the meathouse to show them a hanging carcase," he said.

"They touched and poked for a while, but not a word was spoken so I was worried I showed them too much .. (but) later that night three-year-old Elwyn sidled up to me with breadcrumbs and lamb fat from ear to ear and whispered 'I think we should kill another one'."

Nicole and Jeremy Evans with children, Otis, 6, and Elwyn, 7, Courchevel, Cargo, with Gilmandyke-blood cows and their two to three-week-old calves.

Nicole and Jeremy Evans with children, Otis, 6, and Elwyn, 7, Courchevel, Cargo, with Gilmandyke-blood cows and their two to three-week-old calves.

Mr Evans said "the idea of Cargo Fresh was born, as so many great ideas are, hungover on a car trip returning from a reunion of some sort".

"A mate and I were laughing as we thought up names for sausages for an upcoming barbeque event he was holding," he said.

That was their point of difference - a memorable name and a great flavour.

"There were a lot of people already doing grass-fed meat due to the proven health benefits such as an increased proportion of omega three fats, but none had catchy names you'd remember," Mr Evans said.

"I thought maybe I'd get the punters in with the different snag flavours and hopefully the meat sales would flow from there."

Meat is processed using Magic Meats, Manildra, and Woodward St Quality Meats, Orange, with half and whole lamb carcases plus lamb sausages, and beef by the cut being marketed.

Cargo Fresh sell their products direct to customers as well as through Cargo Markets and Cargo Store. The Railway Hotel in Parkes have also approached them to stock their meat products.

"People want to buy local and eat local. Our name is getting out there and we are getting more and more repeat customers," he said.

Mr Evans said it has been a terrific journey improving their products, streamlining systems and establishing relationships with customers.

The ongoing drought impacted Cargo Fresh producers, Jeremy and Nicole Evans, Courchevel, Cargo, with dwindling pastures resulting in breeding stock being sold last year.

"At the time a good mate with an organic vineyard was exploring weed control options for under his vines ... we ended up selling the flock to him halfway through last year, and we buy back all his wether lambs," Mr Evans said.

"It's perfect for our business as those lambs are now grazing year round green feed from under the drippers and we know they haven't had contact with any chemicals."

The cows were sold around Christmas, as they were looking at buying another load of hay and reports of another dry winter ahead.

"We set a reasonable price for them on AuctionsPlus and let them go. We were happy at the time but I had no idea I'd miss them so much," he said.

Recently Cargo Fresh has restocked with a mob of pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers purchased from the Gilmandyke Spring Sale in August, with calves hitting the ground recently.

"The people from Kangaroobie have done a great job; the calves are small but sappy and I've only had to pull one calf so far," he said.

"This time round, we'll keep a smaller mob of cows to use just for the business and trade cattle when good feed opportunities permit."

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