I MAY be about to start the 2013 Ballarat smallgoods war.
The spunkiest brother from Istra Smallgoods in Daylesford has gone solo.
Sebastion Jurcan is making amazing smallgoods in Ballarat.
I must, must, must have his sensational produce.
But I also must, must, must have Rob from Midvale Meats’ ham and bacon, John Harbour’s ham and bacon, and all the great produce Jay’s making at Meat N More in Alfredton. Oh woe is me.
Suzi: Okay Sebastian, so what’s the name the foodie peeps of Ballarat need to look out for?
Sebastian: I sell my smallgoods under the name Country Style Smallgoods (CSS).
Suzi: Which restaurants and cafes around town are using your fine products?
Sebastian: From the very start, I have had great support from Viv Mason at Masons, Liam and the crew at The George Hotel, Hugh at The Unicorn Hotel, Scotty at the Mid City and Shannon at Craig’s. I also sell to Melbourne, so some chefs may be unaware they are actually using a local product that travels to Melbourne and then returns under another supplier’s umbrella.
Suzi: Is the local retail market hard work? I would think local suppliers would jump at the chance to sell your smallgoods.
Sebastian: There are really only three key players locally that I am aware off – Wilsons, The Olive Grove and Campana’s. It is very tough and I am not the pushy salesman type.
Suzi: I’ll be pushy – Ballarat, I want to be able to purchase CSS products on my way home from work. I don’t want to have to go to Casa Iberica in Fitzroy to get my local fix.
Casa Iberica is the mecca for all smallgoods fanatics. Even just thinking about Casa Iberica, you can smell the salami, gammon and porky goodness.
Suzi: Do you have a team that brings your products to the people?
Sebastian: I am still very hands-on. It’s a bit of a one-man show at present. If one of the restaurants need more bacon, for example, I just slice more and take it in. I have just returned from my regional run this morning.
Suzi: Where do you go?
Sebastian: I do my drop-offs in town then head to Ballan, where the local IGA deli is selling our products, then to Creswick, Trentham and Clunes.
Suzi: What have you been preparing this week?
Sebastian: Whatever I get requests for, I will try two or three times and then we get it going. So salami, sausages, lots of pork. I’m playing around with a few different ham styles. The one we have been selling is a good farmhouse-style with good flavour and easy to slice, but I’d really love to put something out there of a very high quality – the real bee’s knees. Bacon has been really popular. And I’m also working on some venison sausages.
Suzi: Sounds like you are extremely committed and working very hard to bring such great local produce to Ballarat. I figure you may have some helpers?
Sebastian: I do have three unofficial juniors in training. Nine-year-old Alexandra has been educated in the kitchens of Istra and here in my workshop at Ringin’s Butchery in Sebastopol. I can still see her as a tiny little girl munching on kabana. I also have Lachlan, seven, and little Leo is four. The kids really inspire me to be my best.
Suzi: Starting a new business and doing it all yourself is stressful stuff, especially with three little mouths to feed.
Sebastian: My wife Sky is always there to support me. Sky works very hard as well in the family services field. We met here in Ballarat at a nightclub and have now been married 15 years. We can’t imagine ever being anywhere else – the kids love Ballarat.
Country Style Smallgoods is available at Campana’s Stockade Cellars, Mair Street, and Ballan IGA.