Since we started Bruny Island Cheese Co. in 2003, we have gained a reputation for pushing boundaries and making some of the best and most interesting cheeses in the country. But my dream has always been to have our own dairy farm, to produce our own milk to make our cheeses even better. Now we are hoping to realise that dream!
Work has begun on our new farm at Glen Huon, nestled in the Huon Valley in Southern Tasmania. This farm won't be like most dairy farms in Australia - it is small, organic, use rare breeds and be all about quality.
We currently have 55 pregnant cows enjoying the green pastures of the Huon Valley, our herd is made up of Brown Swiss, Australian dairy Shorthorn and Normande. If you were one of the lucky ones who got to name one of our girls then we'll be announcing this soon!
These gorgeous cattle are thought to be the oldest dairy breed in the world with Benedictine monks in NE Switzerland recorded as breeding them over 1000 years ago.
These cows are slow maturing, strong framed and lead long and productive lives. They also have the best butterfat to protein ratio in their milk for cheesemaking which makes them an excellent choice for us!
Like most traditional breeds they will either have a valuable milking heifer or a bull calf that is excellent for beef.
Most of our Brown Swiss girls came from Island Rock herd in Pomborneit in Victoria. Her breeders Daryl Riches and Satu Saarikallio farm their herd in the volcanic slopes around Lake Corangamite. They breed strong, hardy, calm cattle with excellent feet and legs!
This breed originated in Normandy, France. They are indelibly linked to the cheeses of that region, especially Camembert. However, they are the classic dual purpose breed with Normande beef being so prized for its flavour it is found under its own label in French supermarkets.
All of our Normande girls (and one guy, Nico) came from Allandale East in South Australia. Brian and Lorraine Robertson had seen the news of our dairy farm and contacted us to see if we were interested in some of their cattle. Needless to say we were so excited to find our they bred Normandes. They have been breeding them since 2004 using imported French bulls and AI genetics and they really want to see this breed showcased with a specialist cheesemaking facility. We are so very fortunate to have some of these much loved cattle on our farm!
This breed was once the main milking breed in Australia, now they are so rare that they're listed on the Rare Breeds Trust!
These girls are from the Mannes Dairy Shorthorn herd from Bendigo in Victoria. This farm has been owned for 5 generation and this herd has been milking since the 1920's. The Mannes brothers were the second dairy farm in Australia to gain organic status in 1993. Their milk is excellent for cheesemaking and they also produce a calf valuable for either milking or beef.
We have a duty of care (current and ongoing) that we take very seriously for each of our animals, including the calves. While we do not have a property large enough to keep and raise all of the calves we will strive to re-home them as house cows or beef cows locally. We will never send live cattle to the markets or sell these to unknown locations.
We will raise the majority of the calves at Glen Huon and on our property across the river. We deliberatly chose excellent dual purpose breeds of cows so that we we are able to produce both future milking cows and beef at the farm.
Our dream is to be able to supply you, our cutsomers, not only with amazing cheese but also with excellent beef, all bred, raised and cared for by us.