3 Sep 2009 - 4:12 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

I thought I wanted to run a business. But by 1am the day before our
first market day at Salamanca, I just wanted to fall in pit and sleep. Up at 4am, filling the truck with rillettes (hand shredded braised pork shoulder), pork sausages, dry cured bacon, stone ground Tasmanian flour. Not much considering the work we’d gone to.

Ross O’Meara and I are market stallholders. Well, actually, Nick Haddow from Bruny Island Cheese and Ann Dechaineaux from Tassie Tastebuds are stallholders. We just rent some space from them. We’re provedores of artisan produce, mostly from rare and old breed animals. Rare Food, we’ve called ourselves, painting the business neatly into a corner. And Rare Food feels like it will be extinct if it takes this much work to get enough product to market each week.

We have access to Berkshire pigs. An old black breed, whose feed is enhanced by whey from Bruny Island. The flavour, because the pigs are slow grown and free ranging, is intense without being offensive, complex without being overblown, seductive without being annoying. It makes great roasts, we know from too many fine cracklings we’ve had on roast legs. And great sausages, too, we’ve found from a day of making them for ourselves. But here, with several hundred other stalls, at a market that caters more to the tourist than the food fancying local, facing away from the market and onto the footpath, will it be enough?

We sell out. Just about. We sell enough to cover food costs and give us beer money. Not bad for six days’ work. And our four figure investment.

The farm is looking rough, so I’m pleased when the sheep arrive, my mobile lawnmowers. I’ve gone for an old breed, a meat breed, because I have no interest in shearing these. Wiltshire Horns shed their wool, all I have to do is keep them on enough grass, watch that the fences are in good nick and get the ram onto them at some point. I bought three ewes (females) to get fat lambs from and a wether (castrated male lamb) to make plump for the pot. They’re from Fred on Bruny Island, a breeder of the unusual horned sheep. I also borrowed Fred’s ram, because it’s the tail end of the season and if I don’t get the girls pregnant now I’ll have to wait nearly 18 months for my first Puggle Farm lamb.

The ram gets on with his job straight away, following one ewe around the paddock but she shies away and all I can do is cross my fingers and wait until October.