Woolumbi Farm on the Mornington Peninsula is home to a variety of amazing fresh produce and products.
They farm their own pigs, which are then turned into a range of delicious pork and salami products as well as producing a unique cider from local fruit they have on offer.
Trading Plates spoke to Kenneth Neff, co-owner of Woolumbi Farm alongside his wife Sonya, about the salami and cider making processes.
Neff is not only the owner of the farm but is also a master charcuterer (charcuterie: the art of making smallgoods) and trained in Tuscany by invitation from the finest charcuterers in Italy.
“To get the quality of salami that we have here, it is all about the fat,” explains Neff. “We don’t feed our pigs any meat protein, because every flavour a pig eats is stored in its fat. When you eat this salami, the buttery mouth feel you get from this, which is unique to any salami in Australia, is because of how we feed and grow the pigs.
”The two types of salami we sampled at Woolumbi were a French style Saucisson Sec, which just salt, pepper, garlic and the meat.
Then there is the Italian version called Soppressata, which is salt, pepper, garlic and chilli.
“Our pigs do not get any canola, which commercial piggeries give them. The other problem with commercial piggeries is they actually inject their pigs with a particular drug that stops them putting on fat, which is only legal in Australia, Canada and Denmark and Sweden,” says Neff.
“We don’t use any of those, we only use the best quality back fat and we grow the pigs big.
“Our pigs would be at least 18 months old before they would go into salami. Anything younger than that doesn’t have the structure and maturity in the meat for good salami.
”Aside from delicious cured meats, Woolumbi also produce a methode champenoise apple and pear cider, called Long Legs, which is aged in French oak.
It has a unique dry, sparkling flavour and is about 12.5 per cent alcohol content, which is almost a cross between champagne and the fruity cider most Australians would be accustomed to.
“The reason we call it Long Legs is that when we were doing the original tasting we were swirling it around the beer glass and the legs on the cider were the full length of the glass. And I said, ‘look at the legs on that’ so that’s how we got the label,” says Neff charmingly.
“To produce the cider you firstly press the fruit juice and pour it into a big plastic container. Then we add a small amount of sulphur so that it stops the juice from oxidising.
“Normally when you make cider or wine the must is what you have mulched up to press the juice from, and that is not you would normally add the sulphur to. But in our case, because we feed the apple pulp to the pigs we can’t have any sulphur in it. So we put the sulphur in the juice instead of the must. We add enough sulphur for 1000L and then add to it as it dilutes more and more, which keeps it at this clear, bright colour.
“Once that is done, we add a chardonnay yeast bacteria and some yeast food to help promote the growth, make the environment better and balance the ph levels.
“And then off it goes, it ferments and bubbles away for any time from four to six weeks. The slower the ferment, the more complex the flavour.
“Then when it finishes we do all the tests we need to do to make sure everything is right, make any corrections and then chuck it in the barrel for a year.
Woolumbi Farm, 233 Coolart Road, Tyabb VIC 3913 Ph: 0417 523 17
Amy treks around Melbourne checking out all the latest culinary trends. To read more interviews with industry experts and find out the latest foodie news, visit Trading Plates.
This article first appeared in the Australia Times Gourmet Magazine.