It’s been brought to my attention that there maaaaay have been a noticeable lapse in these blogs…..which is absolutely true, seeing as the last thing I wrote was about having Pasteuriser issues…….
After months of impatiently waiting, our new Pasteuriser FINALLY arrived from Italy last month. We unpacked our wonderfully shiny, very fancy and expensive piece of equipment and marvelled at how wonderful it was and how much easier production would be. It is a 500L batch pasteuriser with all the bells and whistles. Compared to our old 100L pasteuriser it looked like beautiful behemoth….
Unfortunately, all was not as it seemed.
Small Business is....
A few words come to mind - Challenging; Rewarding; Frustraing; Exhausting; Fulfilling...
What we are finding out along the way is that with the highest of high comes the lowest of lows. Nothing is entirely predictible, nor do we always get to call the shots. We have had some of the most rewarding experiences over the last few months - meeting consumers and hearing feedback about our products. We love what we are doing and are excited to see it grow and develop.
This doesn't mean that its all plain sailing. Last week, in particular, was a little demoralising.
Alright, following on from my Beef blog last week we would like to introduce an idea to you…….The Pines Beef!!
Here at The Pines we have dairy cattle (obviously) but we also have a number of beef cows that we raise. Our Dairy cows prefer the prime grazing in paddocks that are strip grazed and slashed regularly, while the beef can be grazed on slightly rougher terrain. So, what’s the difference between cows? It’s a bit like comparing a Swimmer with a Weightlifter; both have similar characteristics like broad shoulders and upper body strength; but both do very different things.
Marketing is a huge area in any industry, and the Australian Dairy Industry is no different. The major players spend a lot of time and money to create their point of difference and increase sales. From the ‘Milk Price Wars’ between Woolworths and Coles that saw the milk price drop nationally, to the ‘Permeate Free’ labels that have popped up recently; there are a lot of different industry terms that float around and this can sometimes confuse things.
I thought I would put together a little bit of information to help clear the way…..
We never started out wanting to bottle our own milk. We didn’t really consider it to be a possibility until a few years ago. The thing is, we had always just been Dairy Farmers. We milked our cows, the tanker arrived to take the milk to the processing plant and we got a cheque in the mail! It wasn’t until a few years ago that we seriously started considering it as a business option.
We have always know we have amazing milk…not only is it clean – as in no physical dirt or medication in it – but it is also particularly clear of the bacteria that can sometimes be found in raw milk. How do we know?? We test it. Every time the tanker arrives to collect our milk, a sample is taken. We get a cell count and plate count. Generally a lower somatic cell count indicates better animal health, while the bacteria plate count indicates improved equipment sanitation. We have always prided ourselves on having very low readings for both our cell and plate counts and have been recorded as one of the cleanest dairy producers in NSW.
We often get asked about our cows. What kind are they? How do we breed them? How many do we have? How much milk do they produce?
Well…. The Pines has been a predominately Holstein herd since the 1950’s when Kels’ Grandfather decided to move on from using the Illawarra Shorthorns and mixed breed cattle that had previously featured in The Pines milking herd. He gained interest in the Holstein breed due to their larger frames, higher quality & quantity of milk, and their ability to adapt to environmental conditions.
It’s an idea that been tossed around in our house for a few years now, ‘Lets start a blog and write about what we do. People might be interested in this stuff….right?!’ So here we are, a few years down the track and we’ve finally found time to put some thoughts down for you to share……
Ours is a journey that started some time ago; back in 1854 when an Irishman by the name of George Grey set up his family on a piece of land near Kiama, brought a few cows and started ‘The Pines’. Well, we know it was much harder than that, but you get the idea. Since then a lot has changed but the Greys have remained Dairy Farmers. We are the 6th generation of Dairy Farmer here at The Pines, however, we’re also the first generation to try something just a little bit different……