James Lord

Keeping tradition alive

by Huon Valley

When the Cradoc Hill abattoir was facing closure in 2011, there was a real cause for concern amongst the local community. With the current owners retiring, the imminent closure would force local farmers to send their livestock north for processing, making it impractical and often uneconomical.

That was until James Lord of Longford, spotted the sale advertisement in the local paper and decided it was worth a look. Within a week, James had a handshake agreement to purchase the business.

“I’d heard the Cradoc Hill Abattoir was closing, and I didn’t want the smallholders in the community to lose a valuable service. Growing your own animals to feed your family is a longstanding Huon Valley tradition, and I wanted it to continue.”

Quality over quantity

After completing his Bachelor of Science and at the age of 25, James was living in Melbourne working on large infrastructure projects. It was around this time that he identified an increasing appetite for top quality produce, where provenance was preferred over budget cuts and the cheapest prices.

Growing up on the family farm in Longford, this was an ethos that was shared.

“My time interstate gave me the perspective to believe in the future of Tasmania as a producer of high-quality produce. We can’t compete on price. We’re too small. So we must be the very best.”

Huon Valley Meat Co

Taking over the abattoir with little experience was always going to be a challenge – learning the trade, meeting your customers, building new markets, and managing staff.

It’s with great ambition and the support of the community that the Huon Valley Meat Co. now supplies products direct to customers at their Hobart butchery and on the plates of top restaurants across Australia.

“I believe in producing quality product using traditional skills and craft passed from generation to generation, tempered with a bit of contemporary innovation.”

I believe in producing quality product using traditional skills and craft passed from generation to generation, tempered with a bit of contemporary innovation.

- James Lord

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