Saturday, May 20, 2017

Udder Delight Cooking from the Heart

Milk is getting some old-school treatment up in the Hunter Valley. Family operated Udder Farm Dairy at Luskintyre is packaging up non-homogenised cow’s milk in glass bottles and by-passing Coles-worths to sell direct to local corner stores.
When cows are milked, a layer of cream settles at the top. Back in the day, it was this layer of milk that indicated the quality of the milk – the thicker the layer, the better the milk. All was needed was a good shake to disperse the creamy layer throughout the milk before pouring yourself a glass. Homogenisation is when milk is forced through tiny tubes to break down the size of fat molecules in milk so they disperse throughout the milk and stay dispersed, removing any chance of a cream layer forming in bottles of stored milk. In a hark back to the old days, Glenn took a punt on people’s penchant for reminiscing and decided to bottle up his milk un-homogenised and in glass bottles.

To say the public reaction is positive is an understatement. The Haines family’s operation has been featured in local media numerous times over the last few months.  People are raving about how beautiful the milk tastes, either on its own or in homemade ice-cream and ricotta. Production continues to grow month by month.
Glenn Haines had always farmed, be it vegetables or dairy. But, while most other people his age are planning their retirement, Glenn decided to start a new venture bottling milk the old-fashioned way. The impetus was dwindling profit margins supplying milk to big supermarket chains. There was also the matter of Glenn not wanting to retire. He is looking forward to dairy farming for many decades yet and this new project would also help keep things interesting. With the help of his sons, Jamie and Tim, producing a product with a unique selling point has meant driving sales locally and independently at a price point of their choosing.

The next issue is keeping up with demand. The Haines are in the common predicament of successful entrepreneurs where the demand is growing fast, but not yet at great enough quantities to justify an expensive labeling and bottling machine. So all the family chip in to apply by hand all the labels on every bottle of milk, yoghurt and cream. When we arrived to visit, there were two people busily sticking labels on the family-friendly two-litre bottles.


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