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Great meat starts here!

Great meat starts here!

When it comes to the meat that ends up on your dinner table, most people have no idea just where or how far away it comes from.

Even a lot of butchers sourcing from large commercial abattoirs have little idea about the origins of their meat, says Stephen Tamplin, who has taken it upon himself to make a better option available to people in the Central West.

Stephen, who runs his own small herd of Dorper Sheep, had become unhappy with how his animals were being processed and decided he could do better.

So, he founded Tablelands Premier Meats, which is now the only all species licenced abattoir in the state and processes everything from quail to emus and rabbits to goats, sheep and cattle.

From just a couple of staff, Tablelands now employs a team of 11 people including slaughterman, packers, butchers, shop assistants and cold transport drivers.

At Tableland Premier Meats the focus is on providing a local service and guaranteed traceability from paddock to plate, said Stephen, who also operates a retail butcher shop in the Summer Centre, selling products almost exclusively sourced from his own farm.

“The thing about our abattoir is that our meat is locally grown, locally processed and locally available,” he said.

“We are a very locally focused business. We have our own farms and grow our own stock for our own butchery. We also supply a lot of local restaurants, motels and cafes with product that has a traceability back to our place. We know where our meat is coming from, we know that it is local meat and that our road miles are very short.”

Stephen’s Canowindra farm now supplies his butchery with lamb, beef, goat, pork, turkey, duck and chicken, while he sources rabbit, quail, emu and other poultry from suppliers who share his concerns when it comes to animal welfare.

“Animal welfare is a very important thing to us and to a lot of the owners of animals we process and also to a lot of our customers,” said Stephen.

“At our abattoir, the animals come in, they are rested, sheltered in their own undercover area and re-hydrated. We make sure the animals are not being stressed.”

Stephen’s own history working in the health sector has also made him conscious of providing meat products that are free of chemicals

“We don’t use any chemicals in our processing, so we have no chlorination, no fluoridation, no nothing in our water… we use an ultraviolet water-sterilizing high-pressure filtration which we then have independently micro biologically tested to make sure that it is fit for human use. So, we have zero carcass residues of any form of chemicals, which is good for those who've got allergy issues,” he said.

While Stephen is proud to supply his own local stock through his retail butchery, he is also keen to support other local farm businesses and provide customers with quality meat from a known source.

“We are helping local farms to build their own local meat retail businesses. They bring their meat to us and we do the full processing packing and we have a refrigerated van service to supply to their distribution points in Sydney or locally — wherever they want it to go,” said Stephen.

“We can provide them the chemical-free service that they want and the transport to a wholesaler or restaurant in Sydney — it's a one-stop shop. They can deliver the animals to us and we look after the rest of the process.

“And we're not linked to any major chain, so we have complete control from the paddock right through to the plate — well, to the counter anyway. We’ll let people put meat on their plate in their own way!”

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