Meet the Maker – Tolpuddle Cheese

tolpuddle cheese at mansfield farmers market
tolpuddle cheese at mansfield farmers market

Welcome to our “Meet the Maker” series where we ask some of our regular stallholders about their business.  Farmers’ markets are a great place to meet the person behind the product as there is an opportunity for a chat as you fill your market basket.

This week we say hello to the faces behind Tolpuddle Cheese –  Donovan and Melissa Jacka

Tell us a little about what  you sell…

Every  Tolpuddle goat cheese is made by hand in small batches using milk from our herd of Saanen dairy goats.  We are a true “pasture-to-plate” producer using only the freshest milk and traditional methods to produce cheeses of outstanding quality.

What is the story behind your product? 

At the end of 2013 our family – the two of us with our two children Mackenzie and Harvey – decided to leave their comfortable inner city lives in pursuit of a better way of living.  We packed up and moved to Tarrawingee in NE Victoria to set up a small goat dairy cheese factory.

We have converted an original 1850s stone building on our property into a cheese manufacturing and packing space that includes a a 35sq m“cheese cave” in the cellar below.

Our farm includes an eight-stand dairy and they are currently building a farm and tasting and sales area.

The backbone of the operation is a herd of 50 Saanen dairy goats and a cheese factory that can process up to 300 litres of fresh goat milk per day into small batches of hand-made, specialist cheeses.

Melissa: “From the get-go we have planned for this to be a lifestyle business for us and we don’t want to get into something that’s huge and out of control.  We want a hard life but a good life, hopefully making beautiful products for people.”

Both Donovan and Melissa spent about a decade working for unions in media and health so it is no accident they have named their 50ha property Tolpuddle Farm.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of English agricultural labourers who started a “friendly society” in the 1830s to call for better wages.

After being arrested for unlawful assembly, the six leaders were found guilty of “administering unlawful oaths” and transported to NSW.

The convictions were later overturned but their actions have long been recognised as paving the way for trade unions and the protection of employees’ rights.

“Their story taught me a lot about the simplest form of unionism,” Donovan said.

“It went back to the most basic reason people work, which is to provide a better life for their families and to put food on the table.”

“We turned up at this property, which was built at a time when labourers would craft things with their own hands and saw something that resonated.  I don’t think there is a more noble profession than getting a product from an animal and making it into something beautiful.”

(Reproduced from The Weekly Times Feb 27, 2015)

Where is your farm located?  

Tolpuddle Farm is a 120 acre property located just outside the the township of Tarrawingee, on the Great Alpine Road.

Do you have a favourite way to enjoy your cheese?

A cheese platter would not be complete without our Great Alpine Road, but an everyday family favourite is fresh goat curd and raspberries on fluffy pancakes.  Yum!

 

The crew from Tolpuddle had a break from the market over winter so we are excited to see them back this month!

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4th Saturday of the month

Come and join in the fun at our monthly farmers' market - a place to buy your meat, cheese, bread, vegies and more but also catch up with your friends.

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