LOCAL butcher Country Meats obviously knows the secret to crafting some very tasty bacon.
The Goonellabah-based butchery, with additional outlets in Lismore and Ballina was recently named the NSW runner-up at the Australian Pork Mark Bacon Awards.
Besides the fact that it tastes great, it's also 100% local - unlike most of the smallgoods Australians consume.
Country Meats marketing manager Mel Bryant admitted she was on a mission to raise awareness about imported pork; about how the majority of ham and bacon available in supermarkets, delis and the like was not from Australian soil.
"We get all our pork in from a local 5th generation Northern Rivers pig supplier. To produce bacon it's then gluten-free cured, which is important because there are a lot of people with certain dietary requirements," Ms Bryant said.
"The pork is then naturally smoked in-store, not chemically injected with the smoke 'taste' which is common elsewhere."
The issue of local production is one close to the butchery's heart and one reason why Country Meats licensed itself with the PorkMark logo.
"More than 80% of the smallgoods we consume comes from imported pork, which is why the PorkMark program was originally setup to support Aussie pig farmers who are leading the way in animal welfare," Ms Bryant said.
The PorkMark brand was developed by Australian Pork Limited to clearly differentiate smallgoods grown and made entirely from Australian pork from the majority of those on the market which use frozen, imported pork.
The more typical "Made in Australia" statement does not necessarily mean the pork was produced here, as the labelling laws are quite confusing.
So buyers should look for the pink PorkMark logo to guarantee the product is 100% Australian.
When it came to the all important flavour - cheap bacon often tasted like "soft cardboard" with little to no flavour compared to the sweet, smoky flavour of quality bacon, which shone through in any recipe.
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