By Cass Selwood
A beef producer from the state’s South East has won top honours in Delicious magazine’s National Produce Awards.
Mayura Station at Millicent on the Limestone Coast won Best Product From the Paddock for its full-blood Wagyu beef, as judged by a panel top-heavy with some of the country’s most respected chefs.
“We’re over the moon,” says Mayura’s owner, Scott de Bruin. “But it’s almost as if we had an unfair advantage. We’ve got the rolling green hills and, it being the Limestone Coast, beautiful soil full of calcium, which is just what growing animals need.”
Mayura, founded in 1845 as one of the state’s first pastoral leases, came under the stewardship of the de Bruin family in the 1980s and the first Wagyu herd was imported from Japan in 1998 by Scott’s father.
At first they focussed solely on producing breeding stock, but Scott soon realised there was an opportunity to do more, so he bought some cattle from his father and started his own breeding program, focussing on the production of prime beef.
His hunch paid off when he took some samples to Adelaide. Mayura Wagyu first appeared on a menu at The Grange, headed by iconic SA chef Cheong Liew, and its popularity just exploded from there.
“Consistency has always been the key for us,” says Scott. “There’s a lot of science behind delivering a product with the best possible flavour and texture.”
The cattle go through a carefully regulated management regime to maximise the quality of the meat. The final stages of feeding, at what Scott calls the Mayura Moo Cow Motel, include some unusual ingredients; e.g. chocolate.
“Yep, chocolate,” he confirms. “Usually factory seconds – Kit Kats are a favourite. It gives the meat a genuinely unique flavour that’s instantly recognisable.”
“Traditionally beef production is focussed on rapid growth at the lowest cost,” Scott continues. “But at Mayura our focus is on quality – slow, steady growth, which gives the beef a fine texture and a beautiful mouth-feel.”
Their hard work has certainly paid off, if the number of awards Mayura has received over the years are anything to go by.
Mayura Station is a major employer and tourism drawcard in the Millicent area, particularly since opening The Tasting Room, an award-winning on-farm restaurant that showcases prime cuts of export-grade Wagyu, matched with a range of top quality local produce and “museum wine vintages” from around the region.
“We’ve always had a strong emphasis on locals supporting locals,” says Scott. “Through our Wagyu Experience, Head Chef Mark Wright introduces diners to some of the delicious but lesser-known cuts of beef, matched with the best local ingredients and wines.”
For the record, Scott’s favourite cut of Mayura Wagyu is the Zabuton – a small fillet named after the Japanese pillow that it resembles – grilled over charcoal.
“One of the great things about good quality Wagyu is that nearly every cut is a grilling cut,” he says. “A couple of minutes each side and it’s ready.”
Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>
These inspiring regional stories are made possible by: