The Cambinata business story

Cambinata Yabbies – fresh from dams on West Australian farms – are served in some of the finest restaurants in Australia and around the world. The family business was formed in 1990 by Mary and Michael Nenke, who ran a wheat and sheep farm near the tiny Wheatbelt town of Kukerin. Michael's longtime hobby had been catching yabbies, but a telephone call from a friend trying to source the crustaceans for a Perth restaurant turned his pastime into a thriving business. The yabbies are sourced from 700 farms in the region and, in a good year, the company sells 75 tonnes of yabbies, 70 per cent of which are exported.

The Nenke family has been farming since 1914. Michael and Mary initially spread yabbies across the dams on the family property in 1969 in order to supply their own table with the delicious crustacean. During the eighties, Michael started to farm them for some additional income. In 1991, Australia was experiencing the “recession it had to have.” With four of their six children being educated in the city, the Nenkes were spending more money on education than they were were making. Their eldest son, Paul, caught 50 kilograms of yabbies intending to sell them to wholesalers, however they were returned to the dam due to oversupply in the market.

But then the Nenke family's lives changed; a friend with a relation in a Perth restaurant rang, asking if they could supply yabbies. Today, Cambinata's state-of-the-art export kitchen and processing facilities make them a worldwide leader in yabby processing and marketing. “So we didn't set out to create the business – God organised it, not us – and we continue to seize the opportunities He shows us!”