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18 October 2012

Supporting your local businesses

I'm running a bit late today after a couple of hectic days. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

~♥~

One of the reasons we decided to settle in the area we live in is for the sheer beauty of this place. We are about a 15 minute drive from the coast and at the base of a mountain range called the Blackall Ranges. On the rolling green hills there are a few cottages, farms and towns in between the Bunya pines and pockets of rainforest. Part of the beauty for me are those rolling hills on which contended cows graze and if I lived here for another hundred years, I would never tire of seeing them.


They've had Guernsey cows at Maleny Dairies since 1948. I've written about my local dairy before, I'm a staunch supporter of their products simply because their milk is the best I've ever tasted. But I also think they're a very important part of the local business community, they employ over 60 local people, they're focused on sustainable agriculture and after building their own processing plant several years ago, they now process milk from six other local dairy families. Maleny Dairies is a third generation family business and very keen to keep their family tradition going into the next generation; with sales increasing, the future looks promising.

We pay a bit more for Maleny milk but I'm happy to do that because we're getting the very best product for our money. There is no watery milk or strange tastes. This milk does vary in taste, but they are seasonal changes, the changes you would expect in a fresh natural product. Sometimes there is more cream sometimes the milk tastes richer, but despite the variations, it's always delicious.

I've discovered something wonderful at the Maleny Dairies site. They have a cow cam! Click here to go there. Sometimes it just looks out over the paddocks with the sun shining, sometimes you'll see people and cows. If you're coming to Maleny, it's well worth a visit to the dairy for a look around. If you have small children, it will give them the chance to see cows in their natural setting and taste real milk.

I think the days of cheap at any cost are over. I hope they are. We don't want to pay more than what is a fair price for any product, but we should pay enough so that every part of the chain that produces what you buy receives a fair share. Often, that doesn't happen.

Do you have a local business or industry that you choose to support despite it costing a bit more?

32 comments:

  1. Our local butcher and vegie shop. The butcher is cheaper than anywhere, and has wonderful meat. The vegie shop is more expensive than other places, but he has fresh produce, and because he is there, he keeps the butcher in business.

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  2. We purchase chickens from a young couple who raise free-range, organic birds. They butcher the birds themselves and will package them for you whole or cut-up. We pay a lot more money for them but the taste and quality of these chickens is unbelievable and I love the idea of helping out a small business owned by a young family.

    Kristina

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  3. It's funny you should mention Maleny, as one local business we support is also a dairy! Tweedvale Milk is producing milk from local, happy cows that changes with the seasons. After having used it for over a year, we will never go back. I wish more people would pay attention to their milk, without these individual dairies, the milk war will win and we will lose local milk altogether. Buying local is better for the community, better for the environment, and better for the consumer! I am so happy to support these families that have worked hard on their land for many years, and hope they stay for many more.

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  4. Your comment, Rhonda, on the way the Maleny milk can taste different at different times of the year made me remember that as a child - something I had forgotten. Milk these days only tastes different if you switch from low fat to regular or skim!

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  5. Robyn from KilcoyOctober 18, 2012 12:02 pm

    I also buy the Maleny Dairy products. I really like that we are supporting a small producer rather than some multi-national company that is paying their milk suppliers unsustainable rock bottom prices. I am always willing to pay more for a local product rather than one from a large producer. I shopped in a Woolworths store for the first time in ages yesterday and I could really see that many more of the products on the shelves are Woolworths brand. If we don't all start supporting our small local producers, very soon we won't have any to choose from.

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  6. I buy meat from our local butcher...my Dad was a butcher, so the local corner shop has always appealed to me.......we pay a little extra for the meat there, but they have free range chicken available, and local honey which I buy there also...........
    I can buy milk that is fairly local, our dairy farms are a little down south from here but at the moment it is a little out of range in price for us...and unfortunately my children dont like the taste...it actually tastes like 'real' milk which they are not used to....crazy....

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  7. Earlier this year we had a new greengrocer shop open in Gympie and when I saw it I did a happy dance. Well I would have if I could dance!
    It is called Farmer and Son and has lots of produce from their own farm in the Mary Valley and stocks products from other locals such as Maleny Dairy and Kenilworth cheeses. It has become my favourite place to shop and I sing their praises to all who will listen. Trena has become my new best friend and it is great to talk to the people who actually grow the food. Have a great weekend Rhonda and Hanno and everyone else :).

    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

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    1. Karen, it's good to know these small shops selling local goods are popping up and great to know they're stocking our local milk and cheeses. I hope you enjoy your weekend too.

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  8. I believe returning to a local community based life style is the way of the future. How we achieve this while still living in dense cities and with modern telecommunication, will be interesting. With modern technology we can to a degree live beyond our local environment, but lets face it we are physical beings, requiring physical contact, eating physical food, wearing physical cloths, etc. The laws of physics unfortunately are bound to locality, and I can't see any signs of them breaking.

    A few years back an organic store opened up near me. At first the store was close to empty, a far cry from providing a families food. Keen for them to grow we showed them weekly loyalty and purchased everything they had that we required. I even showed the shop owner our shopping list and said I will buy all of these things from you if you stock them. And today we pretty much do.

    We have come to know the owners personally, even my children know the owners by name. No other shop do I feel so comfortable in. They are a fundamental part of my community.

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    1. It's good to see that kind of support for the small providors, Jason. Well done.

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  9. Yes I support my local butcher we have 5 supermarkets in our area 2 Coles 2 woolworths and 1 iga now we just got Tasman meats I think that. soon we will have no choice the big supermarkets under cut the smaller guys and when they are all gone we will have no choice and they will charge what they want

    Linda

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  10. Yes I support my local butcher his meat is good and fair priced I think if we do not support they will be all gone then the big guys can charge what they want it will be a sad day for all

    Linda

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  11. Yes! I am always content to pay a little more for a product when it is clear it is produced locally and honestly. Same with shopping at stores where the staff know their product e.g. butcher, baker, candlestick maker. You can learn so much from simply chatting to people. I also know that if I don't support them now they wont be there when I want them. It's good shopping karma :)

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  12. There needs to be more sharing of our food system and how it works. Where I am in the States, I am right smack dab in the middle of a large agricultural state, but yet, our kids even in my area, were asked on a local news program here where eggs came from, and the kids told the news anchor that they came from cows. I almost fell out of my chair.
    I wish we had a local dairy. Years ago, we had a state dairy at the State agri experimental farm. We got our milk, cream, and eggs from this place, and the dairy was so awesome and rich. Something I miss terribly.
    Excellent post to start the day with.
    Regards,

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  13. We live over in Mapleton and also love Maleny Dairy! Last year we took our son there instead of having a birthday party. We brought along our own cupcakes and bought some flavoured milk to enjoy with them. Then we did the tour and it was a wonderful way to celebrate his 3rd birthday!

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    1. What a wonderful birthday celebration. I'm sure he'll remember that for a long time.

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  14. Well written - having moved to the Riverina in NSW I try to buy Riverina milk. I also in general try to buy local products as long as they fit within my other ethical standards, e.g. I bought locally made soap and then read in contained palm oil so won't buy that anymore.

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  15. Hello Rhonda,
    We live in Tasmania's Huon Valley and are blessed to have many local sources of fresh food. It takes a bit of effort to seek out local (or Tasmanian) sources for as much of what we eat as possible, and yes sometimes it does cost a bit more; but it is oh-so-worth-it!! We buy unheated honey from the man down the road, organic apples & pears from the orchard up the road, meat from the butcher which was raised by the butcher, milk produced by a dairy here in the valley, bulk grain, salt and sugar from a family run business in the north of the state; and in the growing season there are local producers of stone fruit, berries, tomatoes ... the local IGA also stocks a wide range of local products. If I can buy local within our budget (my husband has been unwell, and so is working part time indefinitely), then I do so (we are a large family with 8 beautiful children). I figure each little bit counts, so we just do what we can to support our local producers. Buying locally is also a great way to meet some really lovely people.

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  16. We are now doing the same thing with our local dairy Red Cow, we buy by the returnable 5L demijohn. It is more expensive but very, very worth it for all the reasons you covered :)Living in Tasmania provides so many local options we are spoilt! :)

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  17. I love Maleny milk, I don't buy any other and always stop in at the factory to get yogurt and cheese :)

    Shari Hawkins

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  18. We love the Maleny dairy milk, the kids complain about the cream on their cereal...lol! Our small dairies need to be supported and I only buy their milk unless I simply can't get it if I am out of town. It does cost extra, bu you can see and taste the difference.

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  19. Oh beautiful photos now you enter something about which I understand, farming.
    People should support their local farms and business because you may think they will always be there when you need them and run off to buy cheaper milk at maybe a Walmart and eventually find that farm or local business that you drive by is gone because you thought it would always be there. Support it or lose it. Farmers work hard to bring quality products to you but they cannot survive if you do not support them. B

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  20. I love the 'Cow Cab'. What a brilliant idea!
    It looks beautiful where you live with the rolling hills. No wonder you settled in that area

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  21. It is a grand thing to support local producers. The quality is better. The money stays local. People get their fair share. The animals are treated as more than mere money-making objects. So many positives in each local purchase. We local wheat flour, garden seeds, honey, garlic, and a few other things (we're a non-dairy household) from within our beautiful Yellowstone valley. They're a bit more money and worth every penny.

    Ha! I just tried the cow cam and it must be at night over there across the world!! Silly me...I should have known!

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  22. We buy a lot of semi-local produce and meat courtesy of farmers' markets, CSA shares and farm stands. We also check the locally owned hardware store first for those needs. It doesn't have the selection of the "big box" stores and the prices can be higher, but the staff is incredibly helpful.

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  23. I feel the same way about the place where I live: I never tire of seeing our lovely hills covered with olive trees, and herds of goats grazing.

    When we first married, we used part of our wedding present money to buy a bed from a local carpenter. We paid an arm and a leg for it, but it's so beautiful. I love buying local/artisan products whenever I can.

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  24. Fantastic post, Rhonda :) We feel VERY strongly that by supporting local producers of organic, non-GM food, we are helping them to grow their farms and in that process, (hopefully) securing future availability of healthy locally grown food. We HAVE to support these small farms if we want them to stay alive...

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  25. Here we have local food cooperative (Varna, Bulgaria). A lot of tasty, fresh food with perfect quality! A lot of vegs and fruits growth with love and care, most of them organic and GM free. Milk, eggs, meat, even cosmetics. :) It's wonderful!

    Last month via our cooperative we organize to buy 10 tons of organic lentils from local farm, to prevent exporting it in other country and to be returned in Bulgaria with higher (almost double) price from non-Bulgarian food brand. After that... a lot of happy people, including the owners of the farm. :)

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  26. Wonderful post and i agree. Loved my visit to the cow cam.

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  27. i support my local sunday markets which has honey & soaps 1st & 3rd sundays of the month, not sure if this is counted. i very rarely visit my local butcher anymore as he doesn't do his own butchering but gets it in from kilcoy & maybe nolans in gympie, his prices throw me off as they went up when it changed hands & therefore became too expensive. i am sorry to say but i buy my chicken (thighs only) from woolworths when i shop there on the fortnight. we don't have much in the way of 'local' business' here in kilkivan itself & you have to travel to get most things.
    a wonderful post as usual rhonda

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  28. I love this post Rhonda. I feel like buying a little less stuff, but buying good quality stuff made by people who make a decent living off it is much more satisfying and responsible. Hope you and Hanno are well.

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  29. Allan McKeown is committed to at the bottom of the convergence through aid,pro-bono services,board/committee representation and participation in convergence actions.

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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