A novel solution that benefits producers and consumers alike has been developed to deal with wallabies that have a taste for King Island’s prime pasture.
King Island Multi Species Abattoir, trading under the name King Island Prime Meats, is working with Launceston meat and smallgoods producer Casalinga Gourmet Meats to create wallaby products for sale in Tasmania and mainland Australia.
Around half a million wallabies dine on King Island pastures, which are predominantly used for beef and dairy production.
Wallabies can consume up to 80 per cent of dry matter in a paddock, King Island Prime Meats executive officer Don Story said.
“We have a very novel approach to getting the product off the island,” Mr Story said.
“We have bought a chiller van, which will be going off the island each week to Stanley and delivering product all the way down the North Coast to Launceston,” he said.
Rob and Rose Perry at Casalinga will take delivery of the wallaby to produce a selection of wallaby items, including ham, salami, jerky, kabana and sausages, produced with King Island salt, honey, pepperberry and garlic.
Fresh wallaby cuts, such as leg roast and fillet, are also available and Mr Perry is trialling a wallaby prosciutto that he hopes will be available by Christmas.
Mr Perry grew up eating wallaby on Flinders Island and has been selling the meat for more than 30 years.
The high quality King Island product, in conjunction with cooking shows introducing new meats to consumers and its nutritional benefits have all contributed to the meat’s popularity.
“It’s a natural source of protein and iron coming straight off the King Island pastures,” Mr Perry said.
“The island product is such a good product.
“The wallabies go for the best pastures. The salt grass pastures adds to the flavour,” he said.
Casalinga plans to start processing King Island wallaby products by the end of September.
Some of the continental products will go back to King Island Prime Meats for resale on the island and the fresh cuts and smallgoods will be sold by Casalinga throughout Tasmania.
“I want to open wallaby up to Tasmania, but also to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide,” Mr Perry said.
“We have lots of tourists coming to Tasmania for food and wine and they stock up on continental goods here before travelling around the state,” he said.
The King Island community contributed $600,000 to buy the abattoir building and land and refurbish it.