January – February News
Stock & Land Beef Week 2008
Get a Taste for Wagyu!
We are thrilled to be part of this major Beef industry event and in partnership with Oasis Collection Centre, will be displaying our donor cattle and some of our younger bulls and heifers on Sunday February 3rd 2008 at Glen Alvie in South Gippsland. Please see “Beef Week 2008” page for more information, including maps and how to get there. There’ll be free tastings of Wagyu beef!
Beef Week – Spectacular Success!
Our Open Day at Oasis Collection Centre at Glen Alvie, Victoria, turned out to be a great exercise and we were pleased to meet so many Wagyu aficionados, as well as growers of other breeds who came to look at our strange, exotic animals.
The tastings of Wagyu rump and porterhouse were VERY well received and Kevin Oates did a great job in cooking the meat to perfection on his state-of-the art barbecue. Thanks must go to CWB, the “House of Quality Meat”, 27-29 Booloora Rd, Springvale, who supplied the superb steak.
We even had a visit from a local chef, Lee Macdonald, who on trying the Wagyu, came up with a veritable stream of inspired recipes straight off the top of his head. Can’t wait to try some of them, hopefully at his restaurant, Divas, in Korumburra. We can really recommend Divas, which we had only discovered the night before and where we had a brilliant feast.
Our entry in the Beef Week project generated a lot of interest from the Press too, with articles in the Weekly Times as well as the local papers and of course, the Stock and Land.This is the article on the calendar page of the Weekly Times. Don’t our bulls look great!? The Guest book at Oasis shows that we had guests from Queensland to Tasmania and all places in between. Everyone seemed to enjoy the steak and the Yarra Valley wine especially designed to complement Wagyu, and they all oohed and aahed about the cattle on display. We are planning to join Beef Week 2009 as 2008 was a fun day all round!
Our export programs are going very well and our first consignment to Ireland is about leave Australian shores shortly. We were right about exporting to the Eu being not for the faint-hearted, but at last all hurdles seem to have been cleared and there is nothing between our embryos and Ireland except six more inspections en route!
March – April News
How’s this for “out of the blue”!? We were contacted recently by a production company in the UK who are in the process of producing a new show with the notorious chef, Gordon Ramsay, to be shown on UK television this year – “Gordon Ramsay’s F Word”. They will be doing a special episode featuring Wagyu beef and they found OUR website during their research. They want to show the site on their show (that is, one of their presenters will be shown looking at our website – we’ll more or less be background, I would think, not exactly “featured”). They needed our approval for copyright reasons and so on. We had to sign a contract and everything – the princely sum of One Pound has been offered, but I doubt we’ll even see that! Still, fame at any price. Make sure you look out for the show when it goes to air. Good to see Wagyu’s profile is growing… and growing… and f**ing growing!
June – July News
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but our first consignment to the European market has finally been despatched and arrived safely – hopefully the first Wagyus to arrive in Ireland are now snug inside some lovely Irish recipients by now and this time next year will be scampering around the Irish landscape to the wonder of the locals. The whole exercise was a saga of red tape and protocol from day one, but perseverance and patience finally won out. The last few days were a bit tense, once the embryos passed their (twentieth) inspection and jetted off for London and thence to Ireland – waiting to hear if they had arrived, worrying about which airport had them, what inspectors worked which day, even how long the liquid nitrogen would last (100 days as it turned out, so our five days travel time was nothing). All ended very happily. Congratulations to all concerned. We did it!
No, it’s not the Tardis, nor is it a Dalek…
It’s our tank full of embryos heading off for Ireland!
Attention is now focused on the logistics of sending several more consignments to USA, a doddle by comparison. We are also getting down to the nitty gritty of protocols to South America – each South American country has different protocols, so it’s interesting, but still nothing to the nightmare of Eu rigidity. The good bit is, having achieved export to Eu, now we know we can do ANYTHING!
Our friends at Austrade helped us distribute some flyers throughout South America recently – see our gallery page for pics of our export donors. We’re very proud of the Spanish translations.
We are planning to send some embryos to Colombia to put into recipient cattle there, so we can sell live animals into South America without the problem of export. We are also planning to send embryos to both USA and South America on consignment through an agent. This will speed up delivery times to our buyers, who won’t have to wait for the drawn out export process.
A large consignment of our bulls has gone off for a holiday in Queensland. They are stationed now in Texas, on the Queensland border (some of our embryos are going to the other Texas, but it’s not at all confusing!) and this is reducing transport costs to our Queensland and NSW buyers. By all accounts they love it there and are very smug about their brothers and sisters who remained behind in the cold of Western Victoria.
Our heifer herd is proving very popular – everyone wants females! However, we need to keep a good range of genetics for our donor herd, which gets bigger as the demand for embryos expands. We have two donor herds now, one for domestic and one for export orders. The export herd are under quarantine and the domestic herd in similar, but less strict, luxury. We nevertheless have a good stock of heifers available for sale.
Have a look at our gallery of lovely ladies.
Hawaii – American Wagyu Breeders Association Conference
We’ve been “off the air” for a few weeks, but behind the scenes, things have been really popping. For one thing, we have been hard at work slaving away in Hawaii at the American Wagyu Association annual conference. Someone must do it…! We had a fabulous stay at the conference venue, the Mauna Lani Bay Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. Wow, what a place! As first timers in Hawaii, we had no idea about the scale and extent of the lava flows that make up the island. Black, bare rocks as far as the eye can see, and then right in the middle of a barren coastline stand huge resorts, with coconut palms and banyan trees and lush tropical gardens everywhere. Apparently everything you see has been grafted onto the living rock at huge expense. The people were so friendly (not just at the resort, but all over the island) and we felt immediately at home. The resort is built around ancient fish ponds built by the Hawaiians centuries ago and they take maintenance of the tradition and ecology of the ponds very seriously, growing endangered turtles and other species to be released once a year on “Turtle Independence Day” (4th July)! We especially loved the hammerhead shark that greeted us each morning. We slept to the soft sound of island breezes and the waterfall just outside our balcony.
But we were there to work, attending the American Wagyu breeders’ conference. What a great bunch of people! We met old friends from previous Australian conferences, other “email” friends and clients and we had a wonderful time talking about all things Wagyu. One of the highlights was a field trip and barbecue to the Richardson’s ranch where we learned all about cattle farming, Hawaiian style. Hawaiians have to transport their cattle by boat to the mainland, often in very roundabout ways, owing to American problems with quarantine and so on. We were very impressed with the efficiency of their methods. Also, being Hawaii, tourism is a great opportunity for them and the ranch is well set up to cater for tour groups of all sizes and interests. The view from the top of their own private mountain is breathtaking.
During our stay on that side of the island we went to Kona and had a trip on a submarine. I highly recommend this trip if you have young kids. The children on our tour were beside themselves when two 5 foot long sharks detached themselves from the wreck we were inspecting and lazily inspected us! They were only harmless reef sharks, but they certainly look the “Jaws” part and the kids were all delighted.
We saw the place where Captain Cook died, and a stunning temple nearby, and another huge temple complex dating back about five hundred years, with enormous wooden tikis standing guard at the water’s edge. Of course, the camera broke on the first day, so we have very little evidence of our stay!
However, we will never forget our trip to Hawaii. The sunsets through the coconut trees listening to ukulele music … sounds a cliché, but somehow, it was simply perfect. No wonder they call it Paradise. NO flies, NO mozzies, NO creepies at all! My kinda place. (It didn’t hurt that Kevin Costner’s house was just down the block, either!)
After the conference we went across to Hilo and spent a day crawling around the live volcano, and down to where the lava falls into the sea in an enormous cloud of steam that rises miles into the sky. Then to Honolulu for a few days, most of that time spent crawling around the innards of the US battleship Missouri. Then, sadly home again. Isn’t it amazing where Wagyu can take you.
Australian Wagyu Association Conference, Tamworth, NSW
Unfortunately, we missed the Australian Wagyu conference in Tamworth the same week, but as it’s the first conference we’ve missed in ten years, I guess we had a good excuse. From all accounts, the Australian meeting was a very positive one and people have very high hopes for the coming year in Wagyu.
It’s certainly started out that way for us. Since we came back the phone has been running off the hook and projects that have been bubbling away on the backburner for some time are all coming into force. We are starting to worry now about keeping up supply!
The dire economic news around the world is a worry, but perhaps having money invested in Wagyu is not such a bad idea!
As well as fielding orders from around the world (we’re pleased to welcome South Africa to our client list) our resident technical genius has been hard at work revamping the website and has simply blown us away with the new pages. They are proving to be very frustrating as they are technically quite complex and a lot of older browsers just can’t “see” the new pages; however he has plans for overcoming this aspect and we are hoping to launch the new site soon. Wait till you see what we have for you!
We’re very excited about our embryonic (pun intended!) new project. Meet our new ladies, who have just come down from Queensland to join the herd:
– Ta dah! Red Wagyu
Aren’t they gorgeous? They are exactly the same as Black Wagyu except for the colour and some say do very well in tropical areas. We have had a lot of enquiries from South America for Red Wagyu, so we will begin flushing these girls as soon as they are old enough and begin a new herd of Red ladies for that market in due course.