The company was established in 1996 to deliver the finest beef to the customer. Since then, we have worked hard to deliver a product that is now regarded as the market’s premier beef brand.
We provide a product of quality and consistency widely used and recognised by some of Australia’s leading restaurants. Hopkins River Beef endeavours to provide maximum value to its customers with its award winning beef that is delivered on time along with offering product quality and professional service combined.
Hopkins River Pastoral Company has raised cattle amongst the graceful red gums under the picturesque Grampians at Dunkeld in the heart of Western Victoria for almost sixty years.
Hopkins River Beef has a two tiered product range that includes a grass fed and a grain fed system.
Grass Fed system: Cattle are grown and finished on rich pastures before reaching the ideal specifications for high quality grass fed beef.
It would be easy to write a novel about the debate of grass fed beef vs grain fed beef. From my point of view it doesn’t matter what you prefer just as long as its beef!! They are two different production systems and they both have their place in the cattle industry for different reasons. For this post I am not going to get bogged down about the finer details or positives and negatives, instead I will point out what I think are some important facts about each production system and what makes them different. At a later stage I will look more intensely into each production system and put forward what I feel are the deeper facts.
Grass Fed Beef:
Fresh Spring pastures
For an animal to be classified as grass fed it means that they have spent their entire life grazing pastures. This doesn’t mean that they have not been supplementary fed though. Due to seasonal conditions many farmers supplementary feed their cattle on a range of feedstocks like hay or silage and in some cases even grain. The fact that these cattle have not been fed in an accredited feedlot and instead been fed in a range/paddock situation means that they are still classed as grass fed. Within the cattle industry they would be considered as Supplementary Fed, however there are no beef labelling requirements for this type of system as it would be near impossible to govern.
Grass fed beef when finished on fresh spring pastures has the amazing blend of texture and flavour. Typically grass fed steak has a tougher texture than grain fed although it also has more taste. The different taste you will find when eating a grass fed steak is due to the flavour of the grass coming through in the beef. This puts truth to the saying “you are what you eat” for cattle production. The flavour you taste comes from the type of grasses the cattle have grazed and because of this different pastures can also give the beef different flavours, which along with seasonal conditions brings consistency into question. When something is given a flavour it will instantly give the consumer the choice as to whether they like it or dislike it. If it doesn’t have a taste you don’t rule anyone out and there is the opportunity to put selected flavours with it. Take a McDonalds hamburger for instance. The actual beef patty by itself has no flavour at all but it creates the base for the other ingredients to be put with it which appeal to the targeted consumer.
The process of the life of an animal finished on grass is: animal is born in a grass fed system > animal is weaned from its mother and put back into a grass fed system > animal is finished in a grass fed system.
Grain Fed Beef:
An example of a grain rations
For an animal to be classed as grain fed it must have been finished in an accredited feedlot for a required number of days. There are a number of different categories starting at a minimum of 60 days (predominately domestic) ranging right through to 300+ days (Wagyu type export markets). It is surprising how often that the number of days is misconceived by the average consumer as being the age of the animal. These animals actually spend the majority of their life in a grass fed system before being finished in a feedlot on a grain based ration.
The strength of grain fed beef is that it is consistent all year round due to the weather elements being taken out of the situation. Although much of Australia’s grain fed beef is exported to countries like Japan and Korea there is a growing demand for it domestically. This is due to the fact that many consumers are looking for consistency and grain fed beef can deliver this. Due to the finishing process on grain the eating quality and tenderness is improved. Other meat characteristics like marbling (intramuscular fat) are also increased all leading to more tender cuts. Grain fed beef doesn’t have as much flavour as its counterpart grass fed beef. If you ever tried eating a wheat bix (made from wheat) without any milk or sugar you would agree they are pretty bland and have very little flavour. Well once again the “you are what you eat” rule applies and the flavour of grain fed beef is not as pronounced as grass fed and this is why it has become a favourite within the restaurant industry. The beef is guaranteed to have good eating qualities and chefs can then put their own flavours with it to create exactly what they want.
The process of the life of an animal finished on grain is: animal is born in a grass fed system > animal is weaned from it’s mother and put back into a grass fed system > animal is finished in an accredited feedlot on a grain based diet (most animals spend approximately 3/4 of their life in a grass fed system).
If I had to choose my favourite cut of beef I would have to say a grain fed porterhouse. For me it offers the best balance of texture and flavour whilst also providing enough resistance, meaning that you still have to chew.
For more information about the different production systems please click here to see the “Feeding finishing and nutrition” section on the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) website
Wangara Poultry & Game
Unit 1-321 Arden Street
P: (03) 9376 8188
Shop 515 Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road
P: (03) 9826 0815
Warren & Hutch Provedores
156 Packington Street
P: (03) 5229 7720
Gourmet Meats on Bridge
320 Bridge Road
P: (03) 9429 1487
Cannings Free Range Butchers
100 Burwood Road
P: (03) 9815 2245
Cornels & Blackburn Butchers
32 Hamilton St
P: (03) 9890 2148
56 Jackson Court
P: (03) 9848 6388
Hopkins River Beef is now available in Coles Supermarkets under the Coles Finest label.
These premium hand cut angus beef steaks are grain fed for 100 days, ensuring they are well marbled before being aged to ensure a delicious, tender steak. You can purchase the Finest steaks with the confidence that they have been produced under our stringent restaurant quality guidelines and traceability in place.
Eye Fillet, Scotch Fillet and Porterhouse steaks are available in selected Melbourne stores (below) and selected Sydney stores.
Information about Hopkins River Beef along with cooking instructions can be found on the reverse side of the packaging.
Coles stores currently stocking the Finest steaks
Store number & name
512 South Melbourne
507 Toorak Road
545 Warringal Mall
668 St Kilda
508 The Glen
565 Balwyn North
646 Port Melbourne
524 The Pines
686 Victoria Gardens