Pilbara beef on a plate

Sophia ConstantineThe West Australian
Annabelle Coppin at work at Yarrie, the Pilbara cattle station she manages.
Camera IconAnnabelle Coppin at work at Yarrie, the Pilbara cattle station she manages. Credit: Nic Ellis

A local cattle station owner with a passion for getting Pilbara product back into the region has been working on a vision to provide beef directly from her paddock to consumers’ plates.

Guided by this philosophy, Yarrie Station owner Annabelle Coppin said the station had been working on a project to build their own brand — Outback Beef — for years, recognising the shortage of local produce available to Pilbara residents.

The station, located about 90km north of Marble Bar and 230km east of Hedland, has spent the past 15 months slaughtering cattle, selling it into Marble Bar as part of a pilot project.

After the success of the pilot, the station set its sights on Port Hedland as the next location, sending off the first batch in recent weeks.

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“Our aim is to focus on the Pilbara, that’s where we want our market, mainly because there’s no local beef in the Pilbara,” Ms Coppin said.

“The industry has been here forever and will be here forever and people aren’t eating the local product,” she said.

Ms Coppin said creating a brand of beef holding a natural Pilbara flavour had always been an ambition for the family-owned station, which has been in the Coppin family for five generations.

“We have always wanted to have a certain amount of cattle that we sell going into our own beef brand,” she said.

“It’s about having a small amount of our beef going into a branded product, which helps with our social licence to produce beef.

“The main aim is to break up our market so we aren’t reliant on one market.”

Ms Coppin said there had been many hurdles, cost risks and logistics associated with the process, including the need to sell the whole carcass to sell paddock to plate.

“The taste of good beef is dependent on the type of animal, what they are put through, and what they are fed, which was what customers were interested in,” she said.

“The beef industry at the moment is a bit like the wine industry. When you walk into a liquor store, you get your story and the flavours behind the items.

“When you buy beef at the moment, there’s none of that.

“Every piece of beef has a different story ... in the future we need to sell our story.”

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