After making cheese in the early 2000s before turning his hand to brewing beer on Tasmania’s Bruny Island, one cheesemaker has taken the next step of establishing his own dairy farm using heritage breeds.
By: Nick Bosly-Pask
Nick Haddow uses the herd to supply milk for cheesemaking and the farm would eventually provide beef for a niche market.
He has selected three heritage breeds for his property at Glen Huon: the Australian Dairy Shorthorn, the French Normande and the Brown Swiss, one of the oldest dairy breeds in existence.
Mr Haddow said the breeds were chosen for a number of qualities.
“All three of those breeds, they’re not only cheesemaking breeds, they’re all rare breeds but they’re also dual-purpose breeds,” he said.
He said having its own dairy herd, the cheesery could concentrate on the provenance and quality of its product.
“It’s about making great cheese and great cheese is cheese that reflects where it comes from,” Mr Haddow said.
“It’s having that control over the provenance of the milk literally from the soil all the way up.”
Farm manager Richard Butler, who hails from North Devon in the United Kingdom, said the three breeds were pretty distinctive and easy to work with, especially as the milking load was not heavy.
“We’re budgeting on five and a half thousand litres per cow per year,” he said.
Mr Butler also said managing a small herd was a bit of a luxury that required a change in skillset.
“It’s down to 120 acres from two and a half thousand,” he said.
“It’s nice to be back with the cows and not managing paperwork and people so much.”
Already, the farm at Glen Huon is supplying all the milk to the Bruny Island operation.
Within the next year, Mr Haddow said he hoped to have a new cheesery established on the Huon Valley property.