A labour of love for cheesemakers
'It's not your average dairy farm. For a start, the cows are milked through a one-bale shed – almost certainly the only one of its kind in New Zealand.
The milksolids payout is probably a record – a whopping $35 a kilogram. And the best performer milks upwards of 29kg a day – double the district average. Who are these supercows? Well, there are three of them, answering to the names of Gwendolyn, Violet and Babon.
Cheesemakers Biddy and Colin Fraser-Davies have turned their pet cows into a thriving business. On three hectares (7½ acres) of wind-buffeted and rain-drenched land in the shadow of the Tararua Ranges south of Eketahuna they are obliterating the myth that lifestylers are letting good farmland go to waste.
The milk from Gwendolyn, a big Jersey, and from Violet and Babon, two diminutive Dexters, is being made into cream, butter and cheese with an inventive range of flavourings, including cumin, coriander, allspice, mustard seeds, smoked sea kelp, ruby port, scrumpy cider, dark beer and the inspired piquancy of juniper berries.'