She told the March Stock and Land U3A group that was the final straw. “I’d found them [the statutory authority designed to regulate the safety of meat, poultry and seafood across Victoria] very difficult to deal with and when I heard about the new guidelines I decided to close the shop.
“Prime Safe allowed restaurants to dry age but not me and introduced new guidelines without consultation”. The hanging process tenderises and intensifies the flavour; “the meat is more juicy and the flavour is stronger."
Sandy said some regulations were necessary but not the often extreme “Mafia like” measures resorted to by Prime Safe. At one time it was clear two large suited heavies were sent from Prime Safe to intimidate her. “A customer was so alarmed she stood between them and me,” Sandy said.
The beginning of her interest in direct selling farm produce, started in the late 1960s from a farm at Kingston, south of Hobart where she ran about 30 dairy cows. She packaged milk from the herd into half pint bottles which she delivered around Hobart.
Another business and four babies intervened until Sandy and her husband acquired a beautiful but quite rough 250ha farm at Warrenbayne. They bred Devon, Santa Gertrudis and Angus in a three way cross which produced small calves with hybrid vigour. The Leathams killed cattle at about 20 months yielding beef with desirable three to five scores for marbling.
“My interest was in producing healthy grass fed cattle and sheep, without resorting to supplemental grain, because grain alters the otherwise beneficial omega three fatty acids in meat,” she said.
Sandy and her husband initially had two cattle and six sheep killed each week. But the sheep dropped by the wayside because the Leathams reckoned to produce the best possible mutton, they would have had to irrigate.
For the first seven or so years of Hook and Spoon, Prime Safe assured Sandy that if she abided by local government regulations for meat preparation and sale their products would meet all health requirements.
“But then Prime Safe said it had to regulate Hook and Spoon, despite most of our meat being cooked.
Than started a raft of nonsensical requirements like checking the temperature of hams halfway.
Our guest speakers for April – Libby Price and Lach Lidgerwood; followed in early May by a visit to a local sheep property.
Stock and Land convenors Kathy Murphy and David Palmer.