A runaway boar was the catalyst for Corndale hobby pig farmer and small goods maker Jerrod Henderson, of Esperanza Farm, to start selling his free range pork products at the local farmers markets.
“We were just doing (the pork farming) for family and friends at the start, but then the boar got out one day and got ‘round to all the sows,” he laughs.
“We had a lot of piglets all at one time and we were like’ oh my gosh I guess that’s the calling, it’s time to do the markets’”.
Two years later, Jerrod’s Esperanza Farm stall has established itself at local farmers markets as the destination for top-quality sustainably and ethically farmed free range local pork and smallgoods.
Jerrod says the quality and flavour is thanks largely to the breeds of pig he and wife Susana have chosen to raise on their farm – The Berkshire and the Large Black.
“The Berkshire has an excellent reputation for its marbled meat, and we chose the Large Black for the fat content which is good for the smallgoods,” Jerrod says.
Plenty of care and attention goes into raising the animals. Their free ranging lives are a stark contrast to those of most conventionally farmed pigs.
There are no sheds or sow stalls – the Henderson’s pigs live their lives outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, where they can engage in their natural behaviours such as wallowing, eating grass, and nesting before giving birth (things they are prevented from doing in many commercial operations).
Jerrod takes a sustainable approach to farming, which involves rotating the animals to new pastures and paddocks to give the animals access to fresh grass and to allow the land to regenerate.
At the markets, Jerrod has all standard cuts available, and takes orders such as quarter packs or other special requests.
“If people want to make their own sausages, we can give them mince, or if they’ve seen something on a cooking show for example but can’t find that particular cut, they can just let us know and we can do it. We love doing that.”
There are also sausages made using herbs from Jerrod and Susana’s garden, and smallgoods, including chorizo and salami cacciatore made using Susana’s own family recipe.
Find Esperanza Farm at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday.