PROVIDING consumers with the very best red meat possible is what George and Anna Hetherington of Mitchell Grass Meats aspire to.
The Hetheringtons and daughters Josie and Evie have recently opened the Mitchell Grass Meats retail store in Longreach as the next step in marketing their chemical free, grassfed sheep meat and beef.
Over the past five years they have harnessed the power of the internet by selling their sheep meat and beef online directly to customers in South East and Central Queensland.
In April this year, the enterprising family took the next step in the supply chain and opened the butcher's shop in the main street of Longreach, giving them a chance to supply the local community as well as far flung customers.
The shop is staffed by two full-time, qualified butchers, Jed Marks and Shane Broomhill. The Hetheringtons and others assist at peak times.
"Feedback from locals has been very positive, although it has taken people a little while to realise we are selling small amounts across the counter as well as the bulk packs for our southern customers," Mrs Hetherington said.
All the sheep meat and beef sold under the MGM banner is raised on the Hetheringtons' property, Muyong, 100km north of Longreach, on natural Mitchell grass downs country.
The Hetheringtons are proud to be able to say MGM meat is produced, processed and packaged in the Longreach district.
The Hetheringtons have also established a good working relationship Australian Agricultural College's Longreach campus.
"The college has excellent abattoir facilities. It's great to be able to process our sheep and cattle so close to home."
The sheep the Hetheringtons are raising for their meat business are a Merino/Suffolk-cross.
"We've tried cross breeding with everything over the years but have settled on the Merino/Suffolk-cross as it seems to produce a flavoursome, sweet meat on our country.
"MGM beef is from our Brangus yearlings," Mr Hetherington said.
"We've been crossing Angus bulls over soft Brahman cows for about the last 10 years.
"The Brahman cows are hardy and good mothers and the Angus content gives us the softness, marbling and fat that we need."
The flavour of the meat raised on Mitchell grass is a selling point for the MGM.
"We get great feedback from our customers, especially our online customers, about the unique flavour and texture of the meat," Mrs Hetherington.
"Our experience is that the average health conscious person is frustrated in the search for meat that tastes good, cooks well and that they can trust contains no chemicals and no grain feeding.
"Many of our customers have health issues and they have been advised by health practitioners to source grassfed meat that is chemical free.
"The production of truly 100pc chemical free and grassfed animals is a much more difficult choice and we acknowledge a lot of challenges as we deal with normal seasonal issues that affect animal health.
"I'm not sure how we would tackle these challenges if we didn't feel so passionately about the importance of our meat nourishing those that consume it."
The Hetheringtons make deliveries to their online customers monthly, doing runs through Emerald, Blackwater, Rockhampton and Yeppoon, as well as to Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Their online customers have the option to buy either the 21kg whole lamb packs or a 10.5kg half lamb packs, 26kg beef packs or other cuts on request.