Buffalo blue cheese wins top gongs and drives Victorian farm’s expansion
A Victorian buffalo farm is going from strength to strength thanks to growing demand for Australia’s first buffalo blue cheese.
Since starting his buffalo farm four years ago, Bryan Jans’ herd of Riverine buffalo has grown to 120 at his Giffard West farm, south of Sale.
The buffaloes are milked daily and the milk is turned into a rich, creamy blue cheese by a cheesemaker at nearby Fish Creek.
“The milk’s picked up by Berrys Creek and they take it back to the factory and process it into Riverine Blue,” Mr Jans said.
“It’s the first of its kind and we’ve got that on the market and we haven’t looked back.”
Winning awards at cheese competitions around the world had boosted demand for the unique product.
The gongs included gold at the Guild of Fine Foods in London and silver at the 2016 International Cheese awards in Nantwich in England and the San Sebastian World Cheese Awards in Spain.
Back home, the cheese has picked up medals of all colours at food and wine shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
“[Cheesemaker] Barry Charlton and all the team at Berrys Creek do a really good job and he enters a lot of competitions across Australia and overseas and it’s picked up a swag of awards,” he said.
“Demand is really there, people are always wanting more so we just try and keep up.”
This buffalo blue cheese has picked up awards at cheese competitions across the world. (Supplied: Apple and Tree Photography)
Not just milk and cheese
Along with running his dairy, Mr Jans said he wanted to increase consumer appetite for buffalo’s lean meat.
Mr Jans said buffalo was sent to New South Wales to be processed and hoped to encourage the market locally in Victoria.
“That’s definitely something that we’re working on down here in Victoria, providing a bit more of a market,” he said.
“It’s heart-smart, and pretty lean generally, so we’re hoping to have a crack at that.”
Mr Jans said he chose buffalo after seeing them travelling around Australia and thinking they were “pretty cool”.
“Once we looked into it we thought mainly meat to start with and then saw the dairy had good potential, so we thought we’d do a little bit of both,” he said.
Dixie is one of 120 buffalos at this Gippsland farm and her milk is used to make buffalo blue cheese. (ABC Rural: Isabella Pittaway )
Each buffalo has its own personality
Mr Jans has taken the unusual step of naming every one of his buffalo and said their names often reflect their personality.
“All the girls have a name and the fellas too, it’s not just a number around here, we’ve got Dixie, Clara, Hildy, Sailor,” he said.
“It’s usually a matter of having a good look at them first and seeing what name suits them, not just picking one off the list.
“They need to look like they suit the name — they’ve definitely got a mind of their own,” he said.