Taking aim at sweet spot
A DELICIOUS and healthy new food item has been added to the Northern Rivers larder this week.
It's an ice-cream range made from goats' milk - the latest treat to come from successful producer Nimbin Valley Dairy.
"It will provide another income stream without us having to do extra work," said Paul Wilson, who owns the company with Kerry Wilson.
Two flavours are planned to start with.
Incredibly Chocolate is made with high quality Belgian couverture chocolate and offers a "deep, grown up flavour", while Vanilla and Rainforest Honey contains whole vanilla beans from Tahiti and honey from hives located near the Nightcap national park rainforest.
The Wilsons, who are not related, teamed up with Norco to work up the two launch flavours, but the big dairy company would only look at producing batches of 20,000 litres - way beyond their capacity.
So the Wilsons are sending the milk up to a small gourmet ice-cream manufacturer in Brisbane, and having two 200-litre batches sent back, in the form of 500ml tubs.
"There's no other goats' milk ice-cream on the market, and we expect it to appeal to two different consumer groups - as do our current milk and range of cheeses. On the one hand there's the foodies - people at the gourmet end of the market who want something different," Paul said.
"Then there's the people who want it for health reasons, either because they are lactose intolerant or because goats' milk products are easier to digest."
The ice-cream will be sold through the same retail outlets as their other products, such as Spar in East Lismore and a range of other health food and convenience stores.
It will also be available at several farmers' and community markets around the region.
But it's not just the local market that enjoys the products - soft cheeses, haloumi, even a cows' milk cheese - as well as fresh milk.
A lot of the fresh milk and cheeses go to Sydney and Brisbane.
Like all Nimbin Valley Dairy products, the ice-cream will have "no numbers in the ingredients list and no words you can't pronounce".
The dairy is milking 180 goats at the moment - providing a surplus of milk the ice-cream will help to take up.
The firm was trying to find its "sweet spot", Mr Wilson said - that point at which staff size, workload, volume, output and financial returns are in ideal balance.
The ice-cream is a smart step towards hitting that sweet spot.