Family farm success story lands Pam a place in Italy

PAM Johnston from Nowra Hill will represent the Shoalhaven as one of 3000 international delegates at the International Slow Food Festival in Italy.

Her family farm company Porkery Hill Produce was nominated by the Slow Food Association to to attend the world’s largest festival of food in October.

The farm produces free range pigs, an idea of her late husband Tim in 2009.

At that time the couple changed direction from lawyer and bookkeeper to primary producers.

“Tim and I noticed there was not an abundance of quality free range pork in the Nowra area,” she said.

“We were also aware consumers were becoming more selective about what they ate, where it came from and what the produce itself had consumed.”

She remembers her husband repeating the saying “we are what we eat” and adding “some of the things we eat I don’t want to become”.

So the couple and their family set about filling a gap in the market for humanely farmed pork that was antibiotic and hormone-free.

Mr Johnston died in 2010. Mrs Johnston’s family and friends rallied around her and helped convince her to continue with the farm.

The following year, rather than give it away, Mrs Johnston and her eldest son Joel pushed on and the business grew.

“Initial sales were largely bulk orders. We then moved into selling cuts at the Berry Market,” Mrs Johnston said.

Word of the product’s quality quickly spread. 

The farm has sold more than 6000 kilograms of pork which is sought after by a number of South Coast restaurants.

Celebrity chef from My Kitchen Rules judge Colin Fassnidge this week requested two pigs to use in the TAFE annual celebrity chef dinner on Tuesday night.

Mrs Johnston said she was excited about her trip to Italy and looking forward to learning more and sharing what she knows.

“I’m booked into lots of classes and workshops,” she said.

“One of those classes is with the best prosciutto makers in the country.

“I love farming, and animals.

“We just work together well as a family farm.

“It’s good fun and a good lifestyle,” she said.

FARM FRESH: Pam Johnston from Porkery Hill Produce has been nominated to represent the Shoalhaven at the world’s largest festival of food in October.

FARM FRESH: Pam Johnston from Porkery Hill Produce has been nominated to represent the Shoalhaven at the world’s largest festival of food in October.

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