Posted: 17 Nov 2013

Five of the best Christmas hams

HamDo you really know your ham comes from? The meat might be smoked and processed in Australia, but where was the pork grown? As we slide into Christmas, the season of fabulous ham, let’s talk about the facts.

PorkMark logoSadly, most ham in our supermarket fridges uses pork grown overseas. Every week, about $10 million worth of frozen imported pork arrives on our shores to be processed into ham and other smallgoods. That’s 2.7 million kilos of meat, or about 52,000 pigs… and there’s no way of knowing how those animals were raised. Unless you buy a ham direct from the butcher or pork farmer who made it, the only way to guarantee Aussie-grown is to look for the Australian PorkMark logo (left).

This month, the PorkMark Ham Awards celebrate the best Aussie-grown ham. Winners include Melbourne’s own smallgoods giant Bertocchi (Australia’s best boneless ham, Fabbris Smallgoods, Aspendale Quality Meats and Peter Bouchier. For the full list of winners, go here.

These are my favourite places to buy pork. Get in early with your Christmas orders, as they sell out quickly.

1. Greenvale Farm

873 Willaura-Wickliffe Rd, Willaura, 5354 1343

PORK doesn’t get more free-range than this. Anthony Kumnick is known to follow muddy trotter tracks to find his Wessex Saddlebacks swimming in the Hopkins River. Anthony’s delicious ham is worth the drive to his Western District farmhouse, where city families can learn about living on the land at farm stays, but he also delivers to Melbourne (if you order early).

2. Bundarra Berkshires

929 East Barham Rd, Barham, 0458 532 333

Just over the Murray River, Lauren and Lachy Mathers grows some seriously well-fed Berkshire pigs on the rich riverbank grazing land in Barham (avocados from the neighbor’s farm might the secret ingredient). Order by November 24 for a pick-up in Melbourne on December 18, or at a local farmers’ market.

3. Andrew’s Choice

24 Anderson St, Yarraville, 9687 2419

Andrew Vourvahakis is famous for his Christmas hams, stocking good butchers and delis around Victoria. His hams have won many awards, especially the ham on the bone (which sells out every December). Pre-order to avoid disappointment.

4. Wattle City Meats

85 Napier St, Maryborough, 5460 4637

John Bartlett is one of those country butchers everyone wants around the corner. Take an Esky on the two-hour drive north-west of Melbourne and pick up a leg. It’ll be worth the trip.

5. Istra Smallgoods

36 Wheelers Hill Rd, Musk, 5348 3382

On a farm in Victoria’s central highlands, the Jurcan family uses slow, traditional curing and processing methods developed over generations in Croatia and southern Europe – a sharp contrast to the fast factories used by big smallgood companies. Find their hams in good delis and supermarkets, or visit the farm for a tasting.

Putting the ham into burgers

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