Introducing Taylan and Megan Atar of Seven Hills Tallarook. Their story is number #34 in my quest to feature 52 farmers in 52 weeks in celebration of the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Summary of your family and farming enterprise
Megan and I were both Optus World Franchisee’s for some 15 years. 10 years ago we purchased Seven Hills as a bush block that nobody wanted. A country escape for us to stay sane and keep our children well grounded. There was no infrastructure here at all. Since then we have built 10kms of roads, 42kms of fencing. 15 Paddocks.
Today, Seven Hills Tallarook supplies farmed goat meat to the Melbourne restaurant trade. It is a high-end, most sort after product. The business focuses on a niche that is 100% paddock to plate. We don’t work with any middle men and from the time the carcass leaves the farm to get to the plate we control all aspects of the process.
All animals are handpicked for their special destination, we drive them to the abattoir, pick them up from our butcher and hand deliver each one to the restaurant, once inspected. We also produce and make a range of small goods, Goat Pastrami, Goat Ham, Goat Chorizo, Traditional Italian Gourmet Goat Sausages and even Goat Burgers and Pies.
Seven Hills is about 100km North of the CBD in a small township with a population of around 600. Our three boys Tarkan, Kaylan and Tanner, 7,6 and 5 respectively go to the Tallarook state school with a population of 50!
The entire enterprise is set up around Farm Stay, Training/consulting and all things goats. We have a fully self-contained cabin that comfortably sleeps 8, about two kms from the main homestead. The main homestead is split into two wings and is horseshoe shaped with a Pool in the centre, it has two fully independent residencies that are also open to Farm Stay. The goats generate enough interest that we are lucky enough to be booked out most weekends.
As Seven Hills is quite unique in what it does, we are a feedlot, a depot, agents for Farmed Goats, and a supply chain for the goat meat industry and we attract growers as far as NSW and SA. In fact we operate the business much like a franchise where we have 33 other growers, “Alliance Partners”, that we work with who grow to our specs, to help keep up supply and consistency. Without the help of our partners we could not deliver the consistency and quality that the market is so desperate for.
We have 1,500 Breeding Boer Goats of our own with the entire 600 acres devoted to the goats. Our paddocks range from 300 acres as a resting paddock to 40, 20, 10, 5, and 2 acre lots. Each paddock has its own shelter, 5,000lt rain water tank, automatic hay and lick feeders. The farm is very modern and self-sustaining. We are totally off the grid as far as power is concerned, our water is captured rainwater, and our power is derived from wind and solar. We also have a Fodder shed where we have the capacity to grow 1.5 tons of fresh fodder a day that is germinated from malted barley.
We are all about promoting Goat Meat and encouraging people to enter into Goat Farming, we run training courses, offer advice, do farm tours and promote Australian Boer Goats to the International Market as best we can. We work closely with The Australian Boar Goats Breeders Association, Meat and Live Stock Australia and all our restaurants and Chefs to better the industry. We have been finalists in the ABC Delicious awards three years running.
Out of necessity and not being able to source farming product at reasonable rates we also took our business knowledge to open up www.thefarmstore.com.au Now Australia’s largest online farming store. Farmers helping farmers.
For you, what is the best lifestyle factor that you enjoy as a farmer?
Working hard, fresh air, fresh fires, the people and community, seeing the kids happy and free. No traffic, no congestion, open spaces being self-sufficient.
What do you foresee as your biggest short term and long term challenges in farming?
The cost of farming and producing a high grade product has enormous costs to it, getting our traditional butchers and community to understand that to get service and quality sometimes a higher price needs to be paid.
Living on a farm is a life style choice, and it comes with some costs. Unlike city folk every time we run the shower, washing machine or dishwasher there is a cost to the valuable resources we consume – be it water or electricity. Labour costs are very high and incentives from government would be welcome.
What message would you like to put on a billboard in Collins Street?
Taylan & Megan Atar of Seven Hills Tallarook
Ph: 1300 7 Hills