A Nelson dairy farmer is jump-starting a craft milk industry. By JULIE ILES.
Seventh-generation dairy farmer Julian Raine’s family has been dairy farming for more than 80 years.
The family is now on a mission to bring back “how milk used to be” to the mainstream market.
“We are not highly industrialised, we are kind of the equivalent of craft beer in the dairy industry.”
Oaklands supplies milk in re-useable glass bottles to cafes and homes, and it is also available from vending machines at sites around Nelson.
The company has also expanded into selling milk in glass bottles in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch under the name Aunt Jean’s Dairy.
It is currently available at Farro Fresh in Auckland, Moore Wilson’s in Wellington and Raeward Fresh in Christchurch. There are plans to expand further.
“It has probably taken us by surprise. We are still growing every month.”
Raine said he had 600 cows spread between his Stoke farm that borders Saxton Field and a farm in Motupiko.
The Stoke farm was established 174 years ago by John Saxton. The family sold land to build Saxton Field.
“We are one of the oldest continuous farming families in the country.”
Raine believed the growing demand from consumers to trace the origin of their food and for sustainable farming practices.
“What we’re trying to do is get the consumer closer to where their food is being produced because I think we’ve kind of lost the knowledge as to where food comes from,” said Raine.
Raine said his stocking rate was not intensive and his cows were not fed palm kernel as a supplement.
“I can tell consumers what our cows ate yesterday and what they’ll eat tomorrow.”
Raine said their milk was pasteurised – heated to 73 degrees for 15 seconds – to kill bugs.
While it was not raw it had no permeate added and was non-homogenised.
This meant it still had fat that rises to the top and was in a similar style of milk that used to be delivered fresh to letter boxes.
“We haven’t smashed the fat up”.
Raine said they also were proud of the fact that they only A2 tested cows. Milk from A2 tested cows contain the beta-tested gene that was reputed to be more “tummy friendly” and easier to digest than other milk.
Raine said they still supply their surplus milk to Fonterra.