Dr Joshua Butt, a gastroenterologist and Head of Endoscopy Service at Northern Health is also a farm owner and the state winner of the prestigious “delicious. Produce Awards”. He has been working at Northern Health for five years, and has been a farmer for only three.
“The land where my small South Gipsland farm is on actually used to belong to my wife’s grandparents. They sold it in 1990 to another family and I just happened to just come across the farm for sale, not knowing it used to be in her family, until she looked at the photos,” he explained.
It was a twist of fate that the first week Joshua ever looked for his farm property that he came across this land. That was a sign some great things are about to happen there.
The forty acre farm now gives new life to dairy cows that have finished their milking days and is home to the prestigious food award. While uncommon in Australia, beef from older cattle, called txuleta beef, is a delicacy and a gourmet products in Basque region of Spain.
“After a lot of research, I came across the information that meat of older cattle is especially popular in Spain, due to the depth of flavour and increased natural fat and I decided to give it a go and introduce new flavours to Victoria,” he explained.
Joshua and his wife Dr Jyoti Blencowe embarked on this adventure together, while still working at their day jobs.
“It was kind of a project of hours and labour of love. We only started selling our meat to the butchers about a year ago and soon after we were invited to submit our produce for the “delicious. produce” award.
They submitted a few steaks for the award and won. Their product “Txuleta 1882 beef” was one of almost 20 Victorian products named state winners in this year’s awards.
“We are actually still learning about farming and about this business. Especially about marketing, as this was a new product on the market. It has been a bit of a learning process of how to process the meat and how to cook the meat. This type of meat is traditionally cooked on charcoal or a wood grill, 3-5 minutes a side. Outside needs to be salty and crispy, with the middle raw. Now we are selling a small amount in Sydney as well,” he said.
Since starting the small farming business, life has been very busy for Joshua and Jyoti.
“We go there every weekend or every second weekend. We have some help from our farm caretaker, but there is a lot of work on the farm. It’s been good to remind me that life is not all about work and the farm helps me balance the work with my personal interests. That has been the biggest benefit – and the extra space we have there to get away from the city life,” he said.