Casey and Sara Anning are two sisters who believe in convenience without compromising the quality of a good, home cooked meal. To them, there should be less time allocated to preparing the food and more time spent enjoying it with family and friends. So they turned this philosophy into a business.
Casey and Sara Anning know good beef. After all, their family are sixth generation cattle graziers from North West Queensland. The premium quality beef from their family property has been the heart and soul of their families meals for decades and now they’ve decided to share their passion with the world. Both Casey and Sara saw a gap in the market for high quality grass-fed and hormone-free beef, packaged as convenient ready-made meals. And so, after a few months conceptualising ideas and finding their footing, Casey and Sara successfully launched Black Rock Beef Co. in December 2015.
The idea to start Black Rock Beef Co. came about very organically. For starters, cooking wholesome and beautiful food made with love had always come naturally to Casey and Sara because that’s how their Mum had done it their whole lives. “Our friends and family had always requested Mum’s meals when they came to visit and the idea of taking those meals to retail markets had come up many times over our regular dinner conversations. We threw ideas around for a while until Casey and I both realised we were ready to do our own thing and make this crazy idea come to fruition. It was a way we could be creative and still closely connected to our home and heritage. It also meant we had the opportunity to add value to our existing family operation” Sara adds.
It was hard work. The girls took their mothers recipes and backed themselves. The name Black Rock Beef Co. came from their home, Wongalee Station, a 60,000ha holding situated 40km north of Hughenden; taking inspiration from the land covered in basalt black rocks. From the name, to their business philosophy, family is at the core of everything the girls do. “Our family is as close as you can possibly be. I can’t imagine doing all of this without my family. They are my best friends and business partners – conflict resolution consists of making each other a cup of tea and business meetings are held over breakfast!” Sara says. Casey adds “We needed Dad’s enthusiasm, his total unwavering support and his faith in the product. Without Mum, we wouldn’t have the recipes and the endless moral support; and without our brothers Luke and Jake, we wouldn’t have been able to steal Mum and Dad away for months at a time. They held down the fort, so we could build this one.”
“I still feel the biggest sense of achievement when I get a message from a happy customer who has appreciated the easy dinner, loved it and believes in what we’re doing. That sort of appreciation and encouragement never gets old.”
Black Rock Beef Co. is built around Casey and Sara’s Mum’s homemade recipes, but with a modern spin. “One of our favourite things growing up were pies, but Mum was concerned with the ratio of meat to pastry she was feeding us so she started making ‘parcels’ as a way to make sure we were getting more protein than pastry. These parcels then became our signature frozen meals that come in a variety of flavours. There’s Chilli Con Carne, Savoury Mince, Roast Beef & Traditional Gravy and other favourites like Lasagne and Bolognaise Mince Sauce,” says Casey.
At Black Rock Beef Co. the girls are committed to ethically producing 100 per cent grass fed and hormone free quality beef, the natural way. “We started BRB Co. believing that we wouldn’t want to give any family a meal that we wouldn’t want to give to our own” Casey mentions. “Knowing where our food comes from is important to us and so we provide the convenience without compromising the quality of a home cooked meal. This means there’s less time preparing the food and more time actually enjoying it with friends and family” adds Sara.
Black Rock Beef Co. is currently stocked in North Queensland at: Lamberts Fresh Produce, Whites North Ward Grocer, Family Life Organics, Essentially Fresh, Otto’s Fresh Food Market, Christo’s Deli, Strand Gourmet Meats, Skinny’s Deli, Del Santo’s Deli in Ayr and Charters Towers and Cloncurry Foodworks. But the two young entrepreneurs aren’t stopping at North Queensland. Casey says “We have recently started working with a distributor in South Queensland and we now have well over a dozen high-end stockists in the Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast region that are gaining some wonderful traction and support. We’re also in conversation with distributors in New South Wales, ACT and Victoria, so we’re excited to see where that goes. We’re looking forward to expanding into more product lines and eventually more stockists around Australia.”
Even though they’re growing at a rapid rate, both Casey and Sara remain grounded. Casey says “I still feel the biggest sense of achievement when I get a message from a happy customer who has appreciated the easy dinner, loved it and believes in what we’re doing. That sort of appreciation and encouragement never gets old.”
Black Rock Beef Co.
815 Flinders Street Townsville
0497 491 192