Western Magazine: Big national win for Dubbo’s Little Big Dairy

“We’re coming over the mountains !” That’s the promise Dubbo’s Chesworth family have made after winning an Australian Grand Dairy Award for their less cream milk product.

On the back of the prestigious award, the Chesworths have signed an agreement with a dairy distributor to sell their Little Big Dairy Co products in Sydney at independent supermarkets, cafes and delis.

Last Wednesday night, Emma Chesworth, daughter of Erika and Steve Chesworth, and Emma’s husband Jim, who also helps manage the factory, accepted the Grand Dairy Award in the specialty white milk drink category at an awards ceremony at Albert Park in Melbourne. Just consider who some of the competitors were for the Chesworths: Fonterra, Norco, Lion and the best dairy regions in Australia, including King Island. And just consider that they only started their processing operation with 800 Holsteins at Rawsonville in 2014.

It’s a great accolade for a family who saw the potential of dairying in Dubbo by the Macquarie River. The former Denman family say they often get asked “Why Dubbo?”. Emma Chesworth replies: “we have secure underground water supply, we have dry heat, and we have access to all our feed suppliers in close proximity and all the silage we need”.

Emma controls the processing of the milk on Little Big Dairy where cleanliness is an absolute priority. She said judges at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards liked the family’s less cream milk for its “clean, fresh taste”. “The quality of the milk definitely comes through it.” The Chesworths feed their Holsteins on a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) diet and on pastures. At the moment they are grazing on Sudax, a forage sorghum crop. There’s also a heap of springers on the property at the moment – the Holstein Rawsonville herd grows and grows..

Their double cream in a jar was also a finalist at the awards.

Emma says the farm never compromises on quality and cleanliness in their processing factory. At the moment the company distributes in many places in central-west NSW. She was excited to reveal that the products were now “coming over the mountains” after clinching a distribution deal. The company enjoys support from independent supermarkets, especially IGA.

Mum Erika Chesworth says people should be prepared to pay that little extra for top Australian products. She lamented to The Land that people often buy the best food for their pets, but then the cheapest, sometimes export, dairy products for their family.

“People say it (buy Australian) but they often don’t do it.,” Erika Chesworth says.

“They are not willing to sacrifice anything. You’ll see them selecting the purple labelled pet foods but when they get to the dairy section they’ll buy the cheapest they can get. What we would like consumers to know is that when they buy with us we will put that money back into preserving our land, here, they are actually investing in keeping our property on the Macquarie in good shape. At the moment it is difficult to do that, we are almost producing milk for nothing.’’

The Grand Dairy Awards gave honours to some of the best dairy producers in Australia. The 2017 Grand Champion Dairy Product, was won by Queensland based gelataria, Milani House of Gelato, for its smooth and creamy Dark Chocolate Gelato. Norco at Raleigh also won a Grand Dairy Award for its flavoured dairy drink, as did Sydney-based Indian dairy processor Sharma’s Kitchen for its flavoured yoghurt.

For the first time, the public had the opportunity to judge the champion cheese in a new People’s Choice category. More than 3500 consumers chose King Island Dairy’s Black Label Double Brie as the inaugural People’s Choice Award.

Amanda Menegazzo, convener of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards said: “These Awards are the grand final of dairy competitions in Australia, recognising the talented Australian farmers and producers who bring such high quality dairy foods to our fridges.

“The quality and variety represented by our 2017 Champions marks a really exciting time for the industry and dairy lovers. It’s really pleasing to see some of the country’s well known and loved supermarket brands alongside new-to-the market, artisan dairy products.

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards are now in their 18th year.

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