Farmer Story – Ilan Goldman from Mirboo Pastured Poultry

There’s a 2015 edition of Epicure in The Age, with a big roast chook on the cover, that provocatively decides to answer, “Why this chicken is worth $40” and the author, food writer Richard Cornish, in the article, declares that, “This is some of the best chicken I have seen in Australia”

The chicken in question is a Mirboo Pastured Poultry chicken, and the farmer is Ilan Goldman; he’s been on the Prom Coast Food Collective since the very beginning.

We consider ourselves very lucky to have such poultry on the Collective.
From a small farm in Mirboo North, Ilan farms chickens and turkeys which are raised outdoors, scratching about for bugs and insects to supplement their diet. The meat is near legendary, with many customers on the Collective finding their way to our store, in search of his chooks.

One of my favourite stories about Ilan’s poultry, starts very very early on Christmas morning in 2020, when Mikey, known as Mikey’s BBQ Safari on Instagram, started posting about his Christmas turkey, which was so large that it had to be put on at 4:45am in order to be ready at lunchtime. “6 hours later and I am stoked with the outcome” is the post that followed. Ilan’s turkeys filled our Instagram pages that day.

But Ilan might not know exactly what his fanbase says about this chicken or turkey, as Ilan is not sutured to his social media feed, preferring to let the meat tell the story, and allowing for him to be in the paddock, farming.

See the full arcile here

Question and Answer with Ilan Goldman

  • What did you do before you were a farmer?
    I worked in IT, in Melbourne.

  • Tell me about how you got into farming. How long have you been farming?
    I was always interested in moving to the country and there was certain things I wanted, like an orchard and chickens. So, then I came across Joel Salatin via the author, Michael Pollen. Salatin spoke about farming and income from small acreage, and that’s when poultry came in for me. It seemed like the right fit for me. I did my first batch of poultry in 2012.
 
  • Farming influences? Who’s your farming hero?
    Joel Salatin. David Holmgren. Holmgren is a “systems thinker”; he’s not looking at a crop and thinking, let’s maximise the yield, he is here’s an ecosystem, let’s maximise the ecosystem.
 
  • What makes your product different, from say, a supermarket product?
    My chickens have more flavour; have a firmer texture. They take longer to grow; they eat grubs and insects. This is due to the fact that they spend all their time outside. No sheds. They are moved everyday onto fresh pasture. My model – fresh pasture everyday.
 
  • For people wanting to get into farming, what’s your key advice?
    Get experience in the enterprise you are interested in. Don’t wait for land, get experience first.
 
  • How did you hear about the Prom Coast Food Collective? Has it helped?
    Very much. I’m weak on the marketing side, so that’s done for me. And the weekly income from the Collective is so important. Farming can be “lumpy” in terms of income, a weekly payment makes it more consistent.
 
  • What’s one thing that we might not know about you, outside of farming?
    I was born on a kibbutz in Israel. I spent 2 years there; that’s my agricultural connection. Then my family migrated to Australia.
 
  • Favourite farming book?
    Pastured Poultry Profits – Joel Salatin
 
  • Favourite non-farming book?
    Fooled by Randomness – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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