Pyengana Dairy Company produces the most famous Cloth Bound Cheddar Cheese in Australia. Its truly farmhouse Cheddar has just about won every cheese award available and its strength in character and integrity is second to none.
The lush valley of Pyengana in Tasmania's North East is a verdant display of fertility. Our own Friesian dairy cattle roam in the most lush pastures in Australia ensuring what you taste is always rich and creamy with a nutty mouth feel. Established in 1992, Pyengana Dairy Company and its cheeses are all about three things, quality, quality and quality!
How did you get started in the industry?
Jon Healey established Pyengana Dairy Company in 1992 in an effort to diversify his family's long held and long suffering dairy farm. At that time deregulation of the dairy industry was on the radar and Jon could see that the farm would not survive in its current format. Being only 18 at the time, he jumped head first into his grandfather's trade of cheesemaking and travelled to Europe to see how it was done!
Tell us a bit about your cheeses.
Our Stir Curd Cheddar Cheese is unique within Australia. This style of Cheddar making is a tradition in Pyengana where Jon's forefathers made cheddar in this format right back to 1898. The technique has not been changed or modernised. It is hard physical work that involves the cheesemaker being truly a "cheesemaker".
What is your favourite part about being a cheesemaker?
Because we are super fussy and will only utilise our own milk that is not standardised, variances occur minute to minute to previous cheese makes. Dedicated, skilled personnel are required to make our cheeses and patience is of paramount importance.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
The biggest challenge to our industry without a doubt, is finding qualified cheesemakers to fill roles. More regionalised training is required to make this more accessible to all of Australia.
What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian specialty/artisan cheese industry?
Educating the population on good quality cheese is a crusade that is changing. People are becoming more learned on such matters and are seeking out "real" products. Thankfully our industry is growing and developing but the ASCA and its entities need to hold true to their values and not sell off to easier, less taxing style of cheesemaking and maturation.
What does being part of ASCA mean to you?
The ASCA is a voice of like minded parties that strive for good quality cheese making. It is instrumental to the longevity of traditional cheese making techniques and being a portal for questions, queries on the industry to be tabled at a national level through the Australian Dairy Conference.website: www.pyenganadairy.com.au