An update from Flinders Island Meat.
On Monday 1st August we officially launched the “Flinders Island Wallaby” brand into Melbourne. The response has been phenomenal. A list of 180 restaurants were contacted via email from a database that we have been painstakingly constructing and compiling over the past 3 months, introducing them to Flinders Island, the quality of produce on the island, our philosophy as a brand, and most importantly, to the wallaby. Within 24 hours we had a significant interest from Vue Monde (Melbourne’s No. 1 rated restaurant) Melbourne’s Convention Centre, Guy Grossi, Jacques Reymond, MoVida, Pure South and a number of wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. We should also remember Peter Moore at the Royal Mail on Spencer who has been flying down to the island for years to source fresh produce – he was enthusiastic as ever at the prospect of having a regular supply to Melbourne!
The initial response, and follow up enthusiasm that i experienced when visiting these restaurants and chefs in Melbourne has reaffirmed my belief not only in the viability of Wallaby as a niche product into high end restaurants on the mainland, but also in the ability for “Flinder Island” as a brand to flourish and really find its feet in markets that are not familiar with it, and re-aquaint itself with markets that are.
The Flinders Island brand will find its way into restaurants with wallaby. Once we establish a foothold with unique produce, we can begin to introduce more mainstream products into the market and springboard off the success of the wallaby. Our original plan was to wait 3 months for the wallaby product to establish itself, then launch the “Flinders Island Prime Lamb” brand, and the beef brand another 2 months after that. This would allow us to get our supply line and distribution processes up to speed without place to much strain on them, and not overwhelm the market form the beginning. I am pleased to say that we are now looking at ways to bring that timetable forward because of demand! Not only are resturants interested in the wallably, many are also looking to source suckling and prime lamb as soon as they can from the Island.
I hope that the launch of the wallaby brand will be the beginning of a number of brands that will bring long overdue and well deserved recognition for the quality of livestock on Flinders Island, and the ability to the locals to bring out the best in their pastures and practices. I also hope that the success of the Flinders Island Meat brand will lend itself to other industries on the island, and reflect positively upon them. The success of the brand in the future will result in an expansion program at the abattoir to increase capacity, the implementation of an apprentice -ship plan, more employment opportunities for locals at the plant, the construction of a rendering plant, and the due rewards and recognition finally being aid to the farmers on the island for the quality of livestock.
This month we hope to put in a proposal for the construction of a rendering plant at the abattoir site for possible government funding. This project is very exciting, innovative, and unique. The rendering plant will process by-product waste from the abattoir and turn it into usable products. One of these products is tallow, or animal fats and oils, which will be refined into a pseudo bio-diesel. This bio-diesel will then be processed in a large generator to create electricity. This renewable source of energy that is readily available, and when incorporated with some inventive designs implementation, will be much more environmentally friendly than the current waste disposal arrangements, and currant traditional energy generation methods on the island. The plant will generate a significant amount of power, whilst there is a long road to go before it would come on-line, our preliminary plans allow for a power output of almost 30’000kWh of electricity per week. This roughly equates to around a third of the island’s energy usage, and is the expected output of the plant once it enters productions. This would be an invaluable asset to building the islands renewable future, and we love any feed back you may have on the idea.
We are looking forward to the tourist season with great anticipation at the Whitemark Butcher Shop as i’m sure many other retailers are! Following some appreciated feedback, the quality of produce at the shop now more accuratly reflects the standard of the livestock available to us on the island. We hope you enjoy the new philosophy, and will continue to support the shop. It is our hope that the quality of the meat in the butcher shop is some of the best in the country – We want visitors to the island, and locals, to experience only the best of what the island has to offer.
Yours most sincerely,
James Madden, Flinders Island Meat.
This artical was published in the 7th October 2011’s Island News.