We use bacon, ham and pork sausages produced by Freedom Farms at Cafe Royale because Freedom Farms pigs are raised outdoors in paddocks in New Zealand; the pigs aren't fed growth hormones; and their meat can be traced from farm to plate.
One might think that free-range, paddock-raised piggies would be the norm in a country as big and empty as New Zealand. Sadly not. While most New Zealand pig farms are phasing out sow stalls under regulatory pressure, farrowing crates and fattening pens are still common (sows can give birth in crates so small they can't turn and see their piglets). So is extensive antibiotic use to control the illnesses that result from all this intensive pork production.
Whilst the New Zealand pork industry is subject to welfare audits by the Ministry for Primary Industries, pork imported into New Zealand doesn't have to have been raised to the same standards. And most ham and bacon eaten in New Zealand is made from imported pork.
Next time you buy a packet of bacon, look at the label. Does it say "product of New Zealand"? It means the pork was processed but not necessarily raised in this country. The meat could have come from anywhere, been raised under any conditions, been treated with any number of growth promoting drugs.
Does the label say "made from local and imported pork"? So helpful! Everything comes from somewhere.
Does the label say "made from local and imported ingredients"? Really? I see those words on a packet of bacon and I think "is it even pork?" I think "adulteration, horsemeat, no traceability, no accountability." New Zealand doesn't just put foodstuffs into the vast global supply chain - it consumes them as well.
At Cafe Royale, we like our supply chains to be short and our produce to be local.