The NT’s  first integrated beef-growing and on-farm abattoir and butcher shop is thriving on Old Cameron Downs station.

 Story + Photos Kerry Sharp

If it’s not top quality and super-fresh, it’s not on the menu at Martin Wildman’s award-winning Darwin clifftop bistro Needle in a Haystack. The English expat’s disdain for less than best is a legacy from his training at world-class European Michelin Star restaurants, and he has carried those ideals to the farm gate of Eva Valley Meats near Batchelor, 100km south of Darwin.

The ground-breaking beef-growing and processing venture operates from Old Cameron Downs station, where owners Fiona McBean and Peter Cogill take great pride in watching their fat cattle free-ranging on the station’s lush, nutritious spring-fed pastures. The 300-strong sustainable herd of mostly Senebrah (a Brahman-Senepol mix) cattle has been pivotal to their business success since launching the NT’s first integrated beef-growing and on-farm abattoir and butcher shop in 2015. 

Fiona says Eva Valley Meats’ sales have exceeded all expectations, with solid support from urban and regional restaurants, independent supermarkets, remote community stores, school canteens and everyday consumers who love the quality of the meat and the way it’s farmed. 

“With the Territory catching on to the worldwide movement of consumers wanting to know their food provenance, we could see a strong demand for a venture like this,” Fiona says. “It was the perfect fit for our personal skills set and matched our keen interest in healthy food and supplying local consumers with top quality fresh meat direct from our farm.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #133

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2020