Bangalow cheese has smooth future
CHEESE maker Justin Telfer’s growth strategy for the Bangalow Cheese Co is like his award-winning cheese – mature with room for seasonal variation.
Mr Telfer came away last month from the Sydney Specialist Cheese Awards with a gold medal for his Federal Fetta, which is based on a traditional brined feta that is firm yet creamy and a favourite with local restaurateurs.
A few weeks earlier, he picked up a gold medal for the same cheese at the Brisbane Cheese Awards where his Byron Bay Blue was named Best Blue Vein Cheese trophy at the 2008 show.
However, Mr Telfer is wary of becoming too big, too quick. The cheese maker said his vision for a cheese factory on his land at Nashua with frontage on Bangalow Road was in sight, but for the moment he is happy to keep churning at his Corndale premises.
“It’s win win for the area,” said Mr Telfer, who pays a premium for milk from local dairy farmers and embraces the seasonal variation of milk. “Our cheese is consistently good, not consistently the same,” he said.
As a teacher at the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia in Victoria, Mr Telfer quietly admitted that he knew what he was doing, and that his slow approach to cheese making had paid off.
The company’s cheese making technique is based on processing small amounts of milk and a slow pasteurising process that retains more vitamin and minerals. “We handle our milk very gently and use buckets rather than pumps. It’s literally done by hand,” he said.
A strong supporter of local community events, the company is sponsoring the new category of the best home-made dairy products at this year’s Bangalow Show.
Mr Telfer said the company had made inroads into expansion, recently employing an assistant cheese maker.
“We have just started to sell at markets in Sydney, and we are always getting inquiries,” he said.
Bangalow Cheese Co cheeses are available weekly at the Byron Bay Farmers’ Market held at Butler St Reserve, Byron Bay, and every Thursday from 8am to 11am, and at Bangalow (behind the pub) every Saturday from 8am to 11am.