Royalburn Station wins big at NZ Food Awards

Nadia Lim has never been one for a quiet life. After winning MasterChef New Zealand back in 2011 she has written bestselling cookbooks, launched the My Food Bag meal kit business, created several television series – and grown her family with three children. But at the heart of it all is Royalburn Station, the spectacular farm that she and husband Carlos Bagrie own in in Central Otago.

Nadia Lim and her husband Carlos Bagrie

Royalburn Station won the Primary Sector Award at the 2023 NZ Food Awards – held last night in Auckland – for their Royalburn Fine Lamb. The innovative station, located on the outskirts of Queenstown, has fast become a leader in ethical, regenerative farming, and sustainable food production.

Fifth-generation farmer and Royalburn Station owner Bagrie says it was the first time Royalburn had entered the prestigious annual awards, and they couldn’t be happier with the result.

“We have a very dedicated, hard-working team at Royalburn Station and this award is a credit to them,” he says. “Royalburn Station grows enough food to feed at least 20,000 people so it’s a large-scale operation, but we are demonstrating that it is possible to be a genuine farm-to-plate operation producing excellent-quality food that’s sympathetic to the animals and the environment, as well as being a profitable enterprise.”

Royalburn Station is one of only a handful of farms in NZ with an on-farm micro-abattoir and complementary butchery which is an integral part of producing its ethical – and hence, tastier – lamb. The station supplies direct to many of the country’s top-rated restaurants and premium food specialists.

NZ Food Awards head judge Kay McMath says they were impressed by the tender, succulent lamb, as well as Royalburn Station’s commitment to an integrated and sustainable approach.

“Royalburn Fine Lamb is a high-quality, dry-aged, 100% pasture-fed NZ lamb specifically bred for its meat-eating qualities,” she says. “The lambs are raised and processed on the station using their own micro-abattoir – it’s a true representation of the ‘paddock to plate’ operation.”

Royalburn Station was also a finalist for two other awards at the NZ Food Awards last night; the Artisan Award (Royalburn Fine Lamb) and the Business Innovation Award.

“It’s motivating for us to be able to connect people to their food and how it’s grown,” adds Bagrie. “Royalburn Station is one of Aotearoa’s oldest farms and I think we now have an awesome opportunity, and a responsibility, to help bridge the gap between what’s on our plates and how it’s grown to ultimately build a more resilient and sustainable food system in NZ.”

The NZ Food Awards focus on innovation, sustainability and excellence and are open to food and beverage manufacturers of all sizes, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies. Nearly 400 entries from 124 companies from around the motu were submitted, and finalists were subjected to one of the most robust judging processes in the NZ food industry.

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