Most people love nothing more than a luxurious cheese platter with a glass of wine. But how many of us have stopped to think about how the produce gets from the paddock to our platter?
Dairy farming is one of Victoria’s largest industries, with areas of farmland all over the state producing roughly 80 per cent of Australia’s total dairy exports.
There are three main areas that contain most of the state’s 4200 plus dairy farms – Gippsland, the south-west region (think Warrnambool) and northern Victoria up towards the Murray River.
So, back to how delicious milk and consequently other dairy products are making their way from a farm to your fridge.
Once a cow has been milked (by an electronic milking machine, gone are the days of a farmer sitting on an upturned pail in his flanny), the milk is stored in vats at 4°C. Then it is pasteurised and homogenised, which basically means sterilising the milk by heating and cooling it.
After the milk leaves a dairy farm, dairy producers such as Warrnambool Cheese and Butter are responsible for a whole range of testing and manufacturing to bring you favourites like Coon cheese slices, sharp blocks of Cracker Barrel and delicious butters and creams.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter are the oldest dairy processer in Australia and have been operating for over 125 years. If you visit the regional town and its surrounds, it is difficult to find someone who does not have some sort of connection to the company. Whether it is your friend who is a dairy farmer or the local café that will only use Sungold Milk (one of the many brands under the Warrnambool banner), the company is one of the pulses of the area.
Aside from undertaking processes to ensure the milk is safe to drink, the main concern for milk producers is what the hell it tastes like! This is controlled by the levels of fat and protein, which most producers standardise to ensure their products are consistent.
So, unless you’re lactose intolerant, pour yourself a big glass of milk, crack out the cheese and biccies and enjoy some of Australia’s best produce.
Data for this article was sourced from: