When we moved to our current home we had been looking for an area where the climate made food production an easy option and where good food was being produced in the community as well. We have fruit and vegetable farms nearby, coastal fishing 15 minutes away and, just up the hill, one of the best dairies in the country.
Maleny Dairies is a family owned business, established in 1948 by the Hopper family. Just after the milk industry was deregulated the Hoppers built a milk processing factory on site. Instead of sending their milk away to be mixed with milk from other dairies, and then sold to the public, they processed their own milk along with milk from a small group of local dairies. And the milk is the best I've ever tasted. Along side their milk, they developed other award-winning products. Flavoured milks, Guernsey cream, yoghurt and a delicious gluten-free custard.
I took these photos when I visited the dairy to pick up my supplies last week. This was a tour just about to start.
Always smiling, the staff there will make you feel at home. If you buy direct from the dairy you'll pay lower than the shop price.
An ideal place for any cow to live her life. They eat natural food, live in the open air, safe and protected in their herd.
And over-crowding is never an issue.
One of the staff with milk bottles for the babies - here there are calves, sheep and goats.
If you're on a tour, you'll have the opportunity to feed the babies.
And this girl walked into the milking stall when I was taking photos. They are such placid animals.
Over the past few years Maleny Dairies have entered all their products in the Brisbane Ekka and the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Every single product has won a Gold, Silver or Bronze at least once, if not multiple times. I think that proves the quality of their products, the rich Guernsey milk makes a real difference. I use their Farmer's Choice milk, which is non-homogenised, as our milk of choice to drink and for cheese making. Occasionally I get their large cream containers to make butter and cultured butter. I can also recommend their yoghurt and custard if you're having a busy period and don't have time to make it yourself. Here is a post from earlier in the year when I made butter.
But the Hopper family was not content to just tend their herds, milk, process and sell their products, they've provided the Maleny community with a beautiful looking dairy and much needed employment for local people. I've visited the dairy many times and always see smiling faces when I'm there. The dairy is set on rolling hills, and dotted around you see the Guernsey cows, with their beautiful light brown and white markings, grazing and resting. The cows spend their lives living a good life on those hills. Twice a day they walk up to the dairy to be milked, it's quite a sight as they spontaneously form a line and start walking up the hill.
You can visit Maleny Dairies. There are tours every day from Monday to Saturday at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm. You can look through the processing plant, taste the products, feed the baby animals and generally connect with life on this beautiful and productive working farm. They also cater for children's birthday parties. Phone to book a tour or party on 5494 2392
Over the Christmas holidays the dairy will be closed Christmas Day - Wednesday 25.12.13, Boxing Day - Thursday 26.12.13, and New Years Day - Wednesday 1.01.14. The dairy will be closed and there will be no tours on those days. Remember, the dairy is closed on Sundays too but all other days you're welcome there to buy your milk and other goodies, at a reduced price. You can also bring a picnic and enjoy the view or have morning tea, afternoon tea or lunch at their little shaded, open air, cafe. It's a great place to take the kids to show them that milk doesn't come from a carton and that healthy cows on rolling hills produce the kind of milk that our grandparents used to drink.
If you want to buy your dairy goods at Maleny Dairies, bring an insulated bag, and grab a free ice brick from the dairy's freezer to keep everything cool on the drive home.