We’re there….almost

We did it!

Or that’s what I’d planned to say. And we have to a large degree, so lets celebrate that!

Our license has come through!

As you all know we’ve been working non-stop for the last 18 months to build this dairy. There’s been so many ups and downs. So much physical, mental and emotional support from so many people. There has definitely been blood, sweat and tears from both Oli and I on multiple occasions, and we got there.

We had a final race towards the inspection day, finally cleaning up the building site to be a space filled with pride. 21 months after I first applied to Dairy Food Safety Victoria, 18 months after writing the draft of my Food Safety Plan, 2 year’s after buying our pasteuriser vat and 3 Food Safety Officers later, we had our inspection.

We are now a licensed dairy farm and manufacturer! Yippee! What a celebration!

Things weren’t completely straight forward. To our knowledge we have the first licensed mobile milking parlour in Victoria (I’d love to know of others around the country if they exist). I can’t wait to fully launch this to the world in a future blog post. I’ve been milking with it for 15 months now and it has definitely been the most streamline part of the build. I’m so excited to be supported by DFSV (Dairy Food Safety Vic) to showcase this alternative model for milking. It has many benefits for land and animal health as well as being an affordable option for those who are not able to own the land they farm and invest in permanent infrastructure.

Using the parlour early on .

The Creamery is the factory of my dreams! It’s such a great space to work in. Oli and Sam have still been working round the clock to finalise the automation of the pasteuriser system and chasing leaks in the never ending pipework.

The mid year calving is over. Blue (Bluebell) is our constant source of happiness and has his mum Daisybell’s full attention as her years of prior udder damage omit her from being part of the milking herd. She is destined for retirement to the North East with her owner.

Blue

Olive mourned her still born boy but has been an absolute angel to teach the milking routeing to. She has opened my eyes to what ‘cream on top’ from a jersey really means!

Olive wanting back in after milking

We’ve bought what will, probably, be the last off-farm animal. Joyce, a 9 year old, certified organic, pure Illawarra Dairy-Shorthorn. Another old bag to join Berta at the head of the herd. She’s due to calve in 4 weeks.

Joyce

We have confirmation that Berta is pregnant with another Dairy-Shorthorn calf, due in March.

Caledonia was a very handsome Dairy-Shorthorn bull!

AND IT SNOWED! ON FARM! ON COWS!

So we’ve had ups and downs but are both feeling really excited about how far we’ve come and how close we are to selling! As I mentioned in the last blog, we will start selling within our friends and family network while we fine-tune the system. Then hopefully by mid to late spring we can open orders to the larger community. You can secure your spot for milk subscriptions on this waiting list.

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Then, just like a good soap opera, when you though ‘finally they’ve made it’, the cliff hanger. In testing the pasteuriser vat system, we discovered that the repair we had done 18 months ago had not actually been successful. Having to remove the pasteuriser from the factory and load it back on the ute to return it for the original repair to be redone was frustrating given how close things were to being operational. That was nothing compared to how we then felt when serious damage was done to it while off-sight getting repaired. Possibly irreparable.

So, yes we are licensed and ready in many ways, but the key component to the whole system has been taken out and we’re waiting to hear if it’s repairable or we need to get a new vat built. It’s been very frustrating getting this close and taking such a hit, but we’ll get there, it may just take a little longer.

In a place like this, with people and cow’s who warm my heart, magical snow and the smell of spring, life’s not too bad though.

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