"I don’t think I could choose another place in the world to live. This place has all the things in the world that I like. Tasmania, King Island specifically, gives me the opportunity to do all the things I love doing and to be who I am."
“There’s something simple and real here. A lot of people look at simplicity in a negative way. Simplicity is such a good value. Being Tasmanian allows you to be yourself, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else.”
On a typically sunny day, Ana Pimenta walks through the long grasses of her King Island beef farm. The wind is blowing softly. She steps ahead of the people on her tour, climbs a fence, and joins her quiet cows.
She waits a moment and then she calls out to them. And the cows answer, so loudly there is nothing else to hear. Ana turns back to her visitors with a smile.
These do appear to be the happiest cows in the world: they have plentiful grasses, ocean breezes, and a woman who cares deeply for them.
Ana arrived in King Island from Portugal, as a young woman seeking an adventure. The administrators of her six month work exchange program chose the island, from all of Australia, and in her early days she wasn’t sure about this place.
“At first I was disappointed coming here,” she says. “It was isolating, not having friends and family here. I was 25. Being such a social person it was hard. A lot of people come here and they move away, because they see it is not the place for them. King Island is like Tasmania on steroids. You really need to be comfortable with yourself to stay here.”
Her dream, since she was a child, was to someday have a farm and to cook for people, to share her passion for animals with others. Slowly she entered the King Island community, as an energetic, hard-working, and committed newcomer. She fell in love with a local. Today, it’s difficult to imagine King Island without Ana.
“After finding my people I don’t think I could choose another place in the world to live,” she says. “This place now has all the things in the world that I like. Tasmania, King Island specifically, gives me the opportunity to do all the things I love doing and to be who I am. I love nature. I love animals. In Tasmania you are so close and so connected to wildlife."
“And there’s something simple and real here. A lot of people look at simplicity in a negative way. Simplicity is such a good value. Being Tasmanian allows you to be yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. Everyone will figure you out anyway, so you just have to be true to yourself.”
Tasmanian beef is hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and GMO-free. After her Meat Your Beef farm tours, Ana gathers her guests in her garage that she has converted into a dining room and presentation space. She tells her story – from a small number of cows on leased land to a healthy herd on her own land – with honesty and openness. It hasn’t been easy, what she and her husband Tom have achieved in a short time, but nothing worth having is easy.
“I measure success in people thinking I have become a part of their life,” she says. “I have changed their minds about farming and about communities. I could see a gap between what farmers actually do and what people hear and think. Farmers are usually introverted people, yet they are so knowledgeable.”
In the early days of the business, when she decided to launch a farm tour business while operating a growing cattle farm and a growing family, her early guests joined her in the house. Little kids were running around, the kitchen isn’t huge, but Ana knew she had a good idea and she ran on passion. She still hears from early customers who say they remember, from years ago, how her farm tour changed them. Her energy is infectious.
“I feel connected to people,” she says. “I feel connected to the environment, the ocean and our beautiful beaches. Often your footsteps are the first ones there. I feel my work is appreciated on the island and I feel secure. Tasmania gave Tom and me the opportunity to do what we love, to grow a successful business. You come to King Island and you think you are going to have a relaxing lifestyle. That is not remotely true. Ask anyone who has moved here. Everyone has three jobs, everyone volunteers and invests in their community. How lucky am I?”
Ana Pimenta is one of 18 Tasmanians featured in our short film about the Tasmanian story. Ana's scene was filmed on her farm on King Island.