Producer In Focus – Moorlands Bio-Dynamic Lamb

Story and images generously provided by Zair Ahmed.

Moorlands Bio-Dynamic Lamb provides award-winning, high-quality, and environmentally sustainable lamb, behind which lies a fascinating family business running for over 160 years.  As one of the earlier stallholders at the Capital Regional Farmers Markets, Vince Heffernan has seen the market and those who walk through it change over the years.

Frustrated by the selling tactics of the supermarkets, Vince decided to directly sell lamb through the Farmers Market, which allowed him to coordinate orders more efficiently as well as offer individual cuts that would suit customers’ preferences.

From the beginning, Vince knew he had something unique to provide. “First year, we were trying to build a following, convince people to give us a go.  Our narrative was different.  We were genuine farmers.  We were in the paddocks with our animals the day they were born.  It’s a different perspective and I’m pleased that the markets have worked hard to ensure producers are authentic.”

Yet, despite many years at the markets, Vince remembers his first customer to this day.

“My first customer was very early in the morning, a person known to many.  He had alpacas in a little Mazda 323 and would take them to old people’s homes and the like.  Lovely guy.  He came up, introduced himself, had a chat and bought some sausages for his partner. He explained he was a vegetarian but was keen to buy good meat for his nearest & dearest.”

“My son, Jack, looked at me and said, ‘If we can sell meat to vegetarians, this is going to be good’.  I had to laugh.  He was right.  It’s been such a positive experience and people appreciate the ability to look the farmer in the eye and engage, ask questions, and learn about the story” behind the lamb.

It is the direct engagement with customers at CRFM that Vince holds dear to this day. “We can offer huge discounts for buyers compared to what they charge and we get a fairer premium for our better produce.   The markets allowed us to tell our story.  We do vast amounts of environmental work.  We have an obsessive focus on animal welfare.  All these things matter to consumers.  CRFM allows that clear line of sight to our farm to come through.”

Over the years, Vince has seen the market, and its customers, change and their priorities evolve.

“We have been coming so long that some of the young children who came with their parents are now parents themselves! People are better informed and focused more on health and understand that our diet impacts our physical and mental health.  Whole food, nutrient-dense food, food produced without destroying the landscape, food produced without adding to global warming; these issues are all important to customers in 2024. I love the sophisticated, well-educated, curious & informed customers you meet in Canberra.”

The two big changes, however: “We now have a website www.moorlandslamb.com.au and take payments from cards!”

Looking to the future, Vince looks to continue the quality service and customer relationships he has formed over the years.

When starting at the markets, “I think my son was a young teenager [now in his 30’s with his own children!]. My son will in time take over the farm. We would love to keep the simple task of bringing Australia’s best lamb to homes across Canberra at affordable prices going.”

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