The producer: Richard Gunner and his family have been primarily farming beef in Meningie in South Australia for the past 30 years. He started Richard Gunner Fine Meats out of necessity: to get the right price for what he believed was a superior product. After establishing the Coorong Angus Beef brand, he started Pure Suffolk Lamb, and he has developed farm to plate products under brands that are recognised for quality.
The product: Richard farms the distinctive Black-faced Suffolk breed of sheep, which has an amazing depth of flavour and a modest amount of marbling flecks present in the meat. Pure Suffolk Lamb is derived from a 100% meat sheep with no wool breeds, such as Merino or Corriedale, in its breeding. This results in a far higher meat quality in terms of meat grain, texture, marbling and overall flavour. Another unique aspect of the breed is its size. At 7 months old, the purebred Suffolk weighs around 65kg compared with a standard lamb, which weighs approximately 45kg. This increased size gives rise to lamb loin chops that can be up to 50% bigger than a conventional lamb chop.
What our finalists’ say: “It was terrific to see how passionate and genuinely excited Richard was about his product. His meticulous understanding of every facet of the farming and processing is indicative of his goal to consistently produce quality products. One particular point Richard impressed upon the chefs of our group was to buy lamb with the fat remaining and whole where possible. This enables them to see first-hand the stamping on the carcass, which displays all the information regarding the provenance of the animal, and therefore one can be confident in the quality of the lamb and that it has been handled and treated in the proper manner.” Danielle Doffay and Jacob Davey, who visited as part of the 2013 produce tour.