Meet Saskia Beer – the next generation

Born and bred in the Barossa to food icon Maggie and game bird famer Colin, Saskia Beer was always asked whether she would be a chef. “I would always say ‘no way’, because I could see what hard work it was,” she says. But spending half of her day between the farm and the vineyard and the other half in her mother’s restaurant, Saskia gained “a unique perspective of food not many restaurant kids get”. “I could see how mum would control her ingredients by telling dad what she wanted her pheasant to be like – that’s how I learned. Growing the food and cooking it in our restaurant was fantastic – we were living it well before it became something sexy to do.”

Combining Saskia’s knowledge of the paddock to plate process, her chef training and even the 1000 pheasants she received from her parents as a wedding gift, Barossa Farm Produce was born in 1997. The range of poultry and pig products includes whole chickens and portions and seasonal products such as minestrone, terrines and smallgoods. All products are grown on SA farms, preservative free, inspired by Beer family recipes and adhere to her sustainable farming principals of free-range farming and using the whole animal. Saskia controls the flavour and texture of her produce by maintaining close relationships with farmers and managing the animals’ diet, exercise and sunlight hours. “It is always about food and flavour and making high-quality produce by knowing everything about the animal and determining how the animal is raised,” Saskia says. “The big challenge for us and others is to recognise we are part of the food chain.” Products are exported interstate and until now, have only been available in SA at the Barossa Farmer’s Market, where Saskia gets feedback on new recipes from her loyal clients.

Saskia is now bringing the Barossa to the city, with her products available at the Adelaide Farmer’s Market at Wayville. The proud Barossa woman says there is something special about the region’s food scene. “The Barossa still lives food traditions,” she says. “Particularly when I was growing up, you would and still do see the smoke house working at the butchers, the bakers waking up early and farmers dropping produce they’d grown themselves off to restaurants.” Saskia says food is an integral part of life in the Barossa. “I don’t think we realised what we had, but there is still a staunch local culture where we have fruit trees, chooks in the backyard and slaughter pigs – that’s what we consider to be normal.”

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