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TAS Country : September 23rd 2010
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, September 24, 2010 News Researchers see gold in boutique spuds From Page 3 ‘ Harvest Moon and Websters and distributors on the mainland have jumped on board with this. ’ Chefs have been given samples of potatoes to de- termine the best way to cook them and the next step in the project is to grow a larger quantity un- der more controlled con- ditions on the TIAR re- search farm at Forth. Mr Wells said the project was a step-by-step process which carefully watched the potato market. It was not designed to elbow Simplot or McCain out of the way, he said. ‘‘We are trying to pro- vide another alternative,’’ Mr Wells said. ‘‘A farmer might have 30ha going to Simplot but he also might have 2ha down the back that he puts one of these boutique or heritage varieties in and he might turn around just as much profit.’’ Mr Wells was respon- sible for a highly success- ful marketing campaign in Sydney where Tasmanian produce was labelled and sold in upmarket grocery stores. The highly visible cam- paign is ongoing and the number of stores has grown from 20 to 120. ‘‘People like Harvest Moon and Websters and a number of distributors on the mainland have jumped on board with this,’’ Mr Wells said. TIAR wanted someone with marketing expertise and employed Mr Wells, 58, a marketing expert with 30 years of experience, two years ago. ‘‘My wife and I have been here several times over 10 years for holidays,’’ Mr Wells said. A long-held dream of producing cheese from their home- grown goats’ milk is now a reality for Mike and Gina Butler, reports Karolin MacGregor MIKE and Gina Butler milk about 300 does on their property near Tunnel in the state’s North-East and started making their first commer- cial batches of goat cheese a few weeks ago. Mrs Butler has spent a number of years perfecting her cheese-making techniques in her home kitchen and has also spent some time with well- known cheese maker John Bignell at Bothwell. Now with a purpose-built cheese- making facility next door to the couple’s dairy, the Butlers are pro- ducing small amounts of cheese to sell. Most of the cheese they make will be sold through their own farm cheese-tasting facility which is cur- rently being built. Positioned to take advantage of the stunning views, the cheese-tasting area will include a large outdoor veranda as well as an indoor tasting area. Mrs Butler said the idea was to give visitors a unique experience. ‘‘We want people to be able to come here, sit down with a tasting platter of our cheese and have a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards and just enjoy the views,’’ she said. Visitors will also be able to see the cheese making in action through the cheese area windows if they visit during a weekend. At present the Butlers are making several different cheeses, including fresh chevre, marinated chevre, chevre rolled in ash, blue goat cheese and a marinated cow’s milk fetta with milk from a local dairy farm. Mrs Butler said the plan was to gradually expand their range to include some of the more traditional- style French cheeses. ‘‘We’re making handmade-style cheese and we’re trying to use the traditional methods, but just using more modern equipment. The Butlers’ cheese-making fa- cility sits right next to their dairy, which means fresh milk can be piped straight into their 400L pasteuriser ready for cheese making. The facility includes a production area, two curing rooms, a packing area and a cool store. Mrs Butler said, while it was time- consuming and could be hard work, she thoroughly enjoyed her time spent making cheese. Mrs Butler said one of the chal- lenges of making cheese was dealing with the fluctuations of milk quality as the does move through their natural lactation cycle. Experimenting with new varieties and different marinades was all part of the process. ‘‘There is a bit of art in cheese making,’’ Mrs Butler said. ‘‘Even though we’ll be making the traditional-styled cheeses, they will take on some unique characteristics because we are using milk produced here and in that way it’s a little bit like wine.’’ Kidding is almost finished at the farm and Mr Butler, who handles most of the milking, said it was a busy time. | LOWER growth | LOWER sale price | LOWER fertility | REJECTED by feedlots | REJECTED by stud operators | REJECTED for export | GREATER hassle and treatment cost CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO VACCINATE? 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September 16th 2010
September 30th 2010