Passion sparked in childhood pushes butcher to top of field
HIS dad would rise from bed about 3am, a sign to Wayne Carey that work at the family butcher shop that sat next to their home at Yangan was about to begin.
He helped his dad, Darrell, with all things from sweeping floors, packing orders and, by the age of seven, helping make sausages.
Now Mr Carey is at the helm of the shop, which sits on Locke St in Warwick, and has taken over those early starts.
He's also winning awards to prove their long-time commitment to quality has not wavered over the years.
The team just picked up two first place prizes - one for boneless leg ham and the other for bacon rashers - at the Australian Meat Industry Council Queensland Regional Smallgoods Competition.
Mr Carey said he never wanted to be anything but a butcher, a family trade that was brought to the Southern Downs 75 years ago when his grandfather John opened Carey Bros with his twin brother.
When Mr Carey's father passed away when he was 13, his uncles continued to pass on their knowledge.
"We've been butchering a long time, but that means nothing if you start selling meat that's not up to standard,” Mr Carey said.
While the winning recipe for the ham and bacon is the same one Mr Carey can remember his family using, he said there had been slight changes.
"You're always learning little things. I think that's what makes you steadily improve - you're willing to listen to others,” he said.
Mr Carey said he sourced quality meat locally, which was one of the keys to success, along with top curing ingredients, techniques and top treatment of customers and staff.
"We're lucky to live here because the quality the producers put out, you don't get better anywhere,” he said.
"We're in the toughest drought we've had and the quality is still coming through.”
Mr Carey and wife Natalie started a new chapter in the family legacy when they took over the butcher shop on Locke St in March, renaming it W. Carey and Sons Quality meats.
Their two sons are now helping out with the jobs Mr Carey used to enjoy as a child, like helping to roll rissoles.
Mr Carey said there was no pressure on them to continue butchery, but he did value putting time and energy into training the next generation through apprenticeships.
The prize-winning boneless ham and bacon will now go to the Ekka for judging.