Conventional? Not Nomad Farms. This trailblazing business is based on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula and continues to gather acclaim for its range of beef, poultry and botanically dyed wool. Since launching in 2013 the focus has been on practices kinder to animals and the land sustaining them.
Owners Tom Bradman and Verity Slee – plus McLaren Vale Hotel executive chef Simon Burr – will feature in our new Storytellers Series in the Tasting Australia Town Square on Sunday 8 May. We caught up with the couple to learn more about their vision.
Tell us about Nomad Farms. What are your objectives, goals, ethos and mission?
Nomad Farms is a multi-award-winning family owned and run farm in the Finniss Valley on the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. Nomad Farms began in 2013 with a passion for regenerative farming practices and a love of good food. This turned into a focus on food service supply and premium pasture-raised poultry production. We have continued to build this enterprise as well as grow our beef, sheep and botanically dyed wool enterprises.
At Nomad Farms we place a huge emphasis on the connectedness between soil, plant, animal and human health and wellbeing. We believe a thriving, abundant landscape will build animal, human and community health and this is encapsulated in the quality and flavour of our products. The name Nomad Farms embodies the constant movement of all our animals across the farm which is so crucial to our systems, the constant state of change of the natural systems we mimic in our regeneration effort, and of course our desire not to become a mad farm.
How do you define/explain regenerative farming?
Regenerative farming is more ambitious than sustainable. We want something more than the status quo, so often characterised as an antagonistic point at which economics and ecological aims clash head on. We believe these aims as well as human and animal health can share a positive path.
In a nutshell, to us regenerative farming is practices which build rather than deplete the resources on which they depend, be they ecological, social or economic. We want to see a positive feedback cycle where good food is highly valued with its production well remunerated.
What regenerative farming practices does Nomad Farms use?
Nomad Farms provide the natural conditions for our animals to thrive, moving them regularly to fresh, chemical-free pasture and relying on sunshine, rest and biodiversity to cleanse and refresh the landscape. This includes a diversity of species moving across the landscape at different times. (Our approach) mimics the way animals move across the landscape in natural systems and is important for landscape, animal and plant health. We follow grazing practices demonstrated to increase carbon cycling, which has a range of benefits. Ultimately we think it also produces a product which is tastier and more nourishing for humans.
What are the benefits/importance of regenerative farming?
We believe regenerative farming can regenerate soil carbon levels and other aspects of landscape health, forming the basis of the fundamental ecosystem services upon which the human species relies. For example, a functional water cycle is crucial in ameliorating climatic extremes and building a resilient and abundant environment.
Does regenerative farming influence the quality of produce?
We believe our practices produce healthy animals, which of course in turn produces good quality meat. Our pastures are managed to provide our animals with a diverse range of plants, growing in biologically active soil, allowing them to access the greatest range of phytochemical compounds for their health and ours. We believe it is primarily this diversity – and the management of the animals amongst it – which is responsible for producing the rich, clean and complex flavour profile for which our beef, for example, is known.
What is the history of Nomad Farms’ involvement with supplying produce to the Tasting Australia festival?
Nomad Farms has a long association with Tasting Australia, having been involved in a number of events at other venues and hosting some on our farm too. We have built our business around food service and working with many of the amazing chefs in South Australia.
What produce items is Nomad Farms supplying to Tasting Australia in 2022?
Nomad pasture-raised chicken, grass-fed beef and botanically dyed wool.
Why is Tasting Australia important to producers such as Nomad Farms?
Tasting Australia is a great opportunity to showcase local food and producers and to partner with the talented chefs South Australia has to offer.
What are you excited to do/see/eat/drink at Tasting Australia this year?
We wish we were heading to Coffin Bay, but we’ll be back here involved in some events ourselves.
The team from Nomad Farms are telling their story as part of our Storytellers Series this year, in a free Masterclass including delicious snacks featuring their fine produce. Book your tickets now!