What was your inspiration behind bringing organic biltong and dried meat products to Northern Ireland?
I grew up in South Africa before moving to Northern Ireland. When in South Africa, I used to eat a large quantity of dried meat products to get my protein for sports training, but in Northern Ireland I couldn’t find a good range of biltong and I’m not a big fan of protein shakes. I decided to make my own. I teamed up with friends who had organic dairy farms and used their cows, as they are a byproduct of the dairy industry.
However, it took 7 years to bring it to market because of how humid it is here in Northern Ireland. We brought in commercial dryers from South Africa and now we can dry 100kg of biltong in 4 days and have complete control of the process, so that it is standardised and consistent.
Who buys your locally produced products?
It’s such a wide range. The only thing that they all have in common is they love dried meat products, they see their benefits as a lean source of protein. Expat South Africans are also quite committed customers. We have an online shop and go to markets around Northern Ireland. We are especially popular at our local market in Antrim. Markets are beneficial for us because we can bring in more new customers, we can let people try the biltong and can educate them on our work and what biltong really is.
Have you noticed an increased interest in sustainable food since in pandemic?
Yes, a big increase. It’s so important that people are wanting to make the changes to buy locally. When I meet with people at markets they are asking more questions about the beef, about the cows and how they were raised. It's great to hear people being more interested.
What are your best sellers?
Original biltong is the best seller, hands down. We also have a chilli ‘pain in the hole’ flavour which is quite popular. I think people love our biltong so much because it’s tasty, high in protein, and made with sustainable organic beef: it’s good for you and your environment. I’m a big believer in the saying 'it’s not the cow it’s the how', eating meat shouldn’t be avoided if you’re buying it from a supplier that’s benefiting the environment and local communities.