A visit to Matakana Farmers Market

By: Jill Malcolm, Photography by: Jill Malcolm

MCD visited Matakana Farmers Market to check out Matakana Bacon Company that's famous for its mouthwatering, dry-smoked bacon

Three men in Matakana are bringing home the bacon. One evening, while cooking for their children, Steve Charnley and Matt Fox began lamenting the quality of the bacon they were frying—watery, over salted, sugary, and soaking in nitrates. Bacon, they decided, just ain’t what it used to be. Moreover, they shouldn’t be feeding such stuff to their kids.

Minor epiphanies are often motivational. The two men decided to go the whole hog and start making their own bacon. Their families and friends could be the recipients as well as the guinea pigs. They sourced pork that was produced from happy, cage-free pigs, and after months of research, trials and tribulations, they came up with a mouthwatering, dry-smoked bacon with no trace of nitrates, sugar, or added water.

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People who tasted the product begged them to make more, but there was a problem—they needed licensed premises.

The local butcher, Matt Watts, had already helped them out by letting them use his machinery to thin-slice the bacon. They approached him again, and after a bit of persuasion, he agreed to their use of all his facilities—the chillers, freezer, smokehouse, and packaging space. In return, he became a partner in the business that’s now the Matakana Bacon Company.

The intention was still to make bacon only for friends, family, and the Matakana Farmers Market. Intentions, however, can lead to unintended consequences. Once tasted, this delicious, dry-cured, manuka-smoked bacon sets bacon buffs on the 
path to heaven. Devotees’ demands just keep growing, and along with them, grows the number of retailers at which the product is available.

Recently at the company’s Matakana Market stall, I hogged two samples of the delicious stuff. "We want to expand the range, and it’s good to increase the outlets," Matt Fox said, as I slyly slid my hand towards the counter for a third. "But we’re moving slowly. Our concentration is on consistency and quality."

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Well, I am now a consistent customer, and I’m putting out a warning: if you want to keep eating ordinary bacon, do not try this product. Matakana Bacon is available at matakanabacon.co.nz, at the Matakana Market and butcher, Warkworth New World, the area’s Four Square stores, and other outlets.

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