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Dairy family building a niche in gourmet cheese

KEN Cameron looks at his family’s 400 dairy cows and sees a lot of cheese.

The Legendairy cheesemaker, whose family runs a 364 hectare dairy farm at Boosey just south of Yarrawonga, Victoria, is slowly but surely gaining a reputation as one of the best in his field.

Boosey Creek Cheese is a genuine family run operation. Ken’s brother Robert manages the farm, while parents Don and Ada are out and about at farmers markets, and delivering cheese to supermarkets and specialty stores.

While Ken started off with a bang, winning a silver medal at the Sydney Show with his second batch of Warby Red, building a hand-crafted cheese business has been all about hard graft and muscle aching work.

Four days a week, the cheesemaker fills a 500 litre vat with milk straight from the herd.

“It’s very important that we have good milk if we’re going to make good cheese,” Ken said.

“We get it straight from our cows and it’s pasteurised on-site.”

The result is a variety of cheeses including Boosey Blue, Boosey Soft and Tungamah Tasty. But its Ken’s signature Warby Red washed rind that has cemented his name among cheesemakers and cheese lovers.

For Ken, the process of turning milk into a high-end value added product is extremely satisfying.

“Taking the milk, making it into cheeses and seeing people enjoy it … it’s a different and interesting process,” he said.

Currently, Ken uses milk from just 10 of his cows for his cheese-making needs. One day, he’d like to see his family’s entire milk production used onsite for Boosey Creek Cheese products.

“I think it could be a hundred times bigger than it is now. It’s so small now, which is where the problem is,” he said.

“The next few years will be about trying to get bigger. Trying to find finance or funding to get a two or three thousand litre vat rather than the 500 litre vat.”

“I can see the potential, because we’re only using milk from about 10 cows, but we produce about four million litres from the 400 cows each year.”

In the meantime, Ken is happy making cheese that is both unique and much coveted by discerning foodies.

“As a young kid said the other day, the Warby Red, which won Gold at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards last year, smells like brussel sprouts – which is right, because that’s what it’s supposed to smell like,” he said.

“But the taste is much more delicate than the smell.”