Bodalla Dairy taking South Coast ice cream to the big city

The grass is looking green for Bodalla Dairy after milking a decent summer's trade and winning multiple gold medals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show - and the small dairy processor has even more exciting news to share.

Old-fashioned milk, Aussie bush-inspired cheeses and ice cream attracts travellers to stop at the Dairy Shed and Factory on the Princes Highway, Bodalla.

Soon, 200 Woolworths stores will stock two Bodalla cheeses and an ice cream shop will open in Sydney.

Owner Sandra McCuaig was over the moon and humbled by the recognition at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show - winning their first gold in the ice cream category.

"We feel hugely proud and confident to see that someone else has recognised that this [ice cream] is made from scratch with local milk, very pure and natural ingredients - it hasn't been made with a powdered mix," she said.

Bodalla Dairy owner Sandra McCuaig with manager Kelly Motbey celebrate a successful summer despite bushfires, floods and pandemic.

Bodalla Dairy owner Sandra McCuaig with manager Kelly Motbey celebrate a successful summer despite bushfires, floods and pandemic.

Ms McCuaig's daughter, Jane Stuart, was set to run the Bodalla Dairy ice cream shop on Queen Street, Woollahra.

"It will help promote the South Coast; there will be maps on the wall and my daughter is an excellent marketer," she said.

Ms McCuaig said the key to Bodalla Dairy's award-winning ice cream and cheese starts with their unhomogenised milk.

More than 70 companies entered milk to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and Bodalla Dairy took out gold.

"We're very gentle with the milk," Ms McCuaig said.

"We don't put it through hot pipes, we don't homogenise it, we treat it so it stays very natural - there's only two of us doing it that way in Australia - the old fashioned way."

Bodalla Dairy produces 1000L in an hour, whereas larger companies can produce about 20,000L per hour.

"We will always stay small, we just want enough milk to make beautiful ice cream and cheese," she said.

"To make any money from white milk is a struggle."

Because supermarkets had set the challenge with the one dollar milk, Ms McCuaig chose to focus on cheese and ice cream instead.

Ms McCuaig bought a dairy farm at Bodalla in 1989, not long after the Bodalla Cheese Factory closed down.

"It seemed a great pity everyone was still coming to Bodalla for cheese and milk products and it wasn't here," she said.

Bodalla Dairy offers 22 flavours of home made ice cream. Cathryn Overton serves up their award-winning Kakadu Plum and Rum ice cream with a scoop of vanilla.

Bodalla Dairy offers 22 flavours of home made ice cream. Cathryn Overton serves up their award-winning Kakadu Plum and Rum ice cream with a scoop of vanilla.

With "wishful thinking", Ms McCuaig purchased Bodalla's newsagent and motel, turning it into the Dairy Shed and Factory in 2008.

"We wanted to showcase the beautiful milk which was being disrespected and trucked out of the town," she said.

Ms McCuaig said the dairy farming industry was difficult.

"In Australia the milk production volume is dropping, whereas in other countries it's looking up," she said.

"Farms are going out of business, not getting the younger generation keen enough to go into hard work."

She said hours were long and there were uncertainties with a perishable product: "a commodity that has varying returns."

Ms McCuaig said the family-run farms of Bodalla Dairy consisted of "hard working people born into the business".

She was pleased to showcase their milk, continuing Bodalla's legacy as a dairy farming town.

In total, Bodalla Dairy has received 40 awards over four years in Sydney Royal Easter Show and Dairy Industry of Australia competitions.

This year's awards were:

  • Gold for Bodalla Dairy non-homogensied milk
  • Gold for Kakadu Plum and Rum ice cream
  • Silver for Gumleaf smoked cheddar
  • Silver for Go Wild Ice Cream
  • Silver for Berry Cheesecake Ice Cream
  • Bronze for Smoked Halloumi

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