South Coast Dairy - proudly Shoalhaven
The Shoalhaven dairy farmers who make up the Berry Rural Co-operative Society are the driving force behind the award-winning South Coast Dairy brand.
The Co-op was established by local farmers in 1911 and today consists of six families with a passion for, and dedication to, supplying the freshest, highest quality milk to the South Coast
Together they supply about 50,000 litres of milk each week, sold as South Coast Dairy throughout the South Coast, Southern Highlands and parts of Sydney.
Co-op General Manager Kara Duncan has the highest admiration for the farmers, who she says put their heart and soul into their business.
“We class ourselves as one really big family,” Kara says of the farmers and staff of the co-op.
“The farmers take care of their cows, give them the attention they require and in return the best quality milk comes to us from within half an hour of Berry.”
That short journey from farm to processing ensures the freshest possible product lands on the shop shelf.
Other milk suppliers in the region need to transport their milk to Sydney for processing, which is then transported back to the region.
“Our farmers milk their cows twice a day, the milk is transported to our facility, pasteurised, bottled, then sent to Wollongong, south through to Eden, the Southern Highlands and Sydney,” Kara said.
“It lands in supermarkets and stores in the quickest possible time.”
Reduced food miles, and increased quality and freshness, has been made possible through the construction of their state-of-the-art milk processing facility in Old Creamery Lane, Berry.The facility was commissioned in 2016 and built using local trades and skills.
“We were able to build the entire facility using local people.Our local engineer and boilermaker were fantastic.This was not an easy job but every skill we needed was right here in our local business community”.
The co-op doesn’t standardise its milk, leaving as much fat in as possible so the milk is creamy and natural.
The co-op is now venturing into new product lines, starting with flavoured milk. In 2018 there are further plans to produce South Coast Dairy butter, yoghurt and other milk-based products such as sour cream and perhaps soft cheeses.
Co-op chairman and dairy farmer John Miller knows a fair bit about what makes good milk - after all, his family has been dairy farming in the Shoalhaven since 1832.
John is passionate about his product and ensuring only the finest quality goods are sold.
“My children are seventh generation dairy farmers and they are proud to have that heritage and that connection with Berry Co-op,” he said.
“We produce, process, bottle and sell our milk locally in the Shoalhaven and up and down the coast. Since 2005 we have been named Champion Milk at the Sydney Royal Easter Show three times.
“I’m quite passionate about farming, about looking after the land, the environment and the health of our cattle and most importantly, the product we produce, making sure it is the Number 1 product we can get onto the shelf.”
John was born and bred in the Shoalhaven and says it’s a pretty special place.
“The people are special, they seem to be here for one another; the landscape’s special, the beaches, mountains and country are good. We’re close to everything but still far enough away to have that country feel - it’s a special place.”
John believes the Co-op is one of only two such organisations left in the country.
“If you want to support a wholly Australian company then buy our milk, because every cent you pay stays right here in the Shoalhaven and on the South Coast.”
The Co-op is a strong believer in supporting its local community and even supplies free milk to support school breakfast programs.
“Community is everything; without them, we wouldn’t have a market, we wouldn’t have the business we have today,” Kara said
Kara echoes John’s passion for the region. She and her husband moved their three young children to the Shoalhaven in 2004 and says it is “sensational”.
“The council and other business people here are amazing. We have very specialist skill requirements in our factory and we were able to find all of our people right here in the Shoalhaven.
“The community and the environment in which we operate is absolutely amazing. We encourage you to move here ... you won’t regret it.”
Contact: Kara Duncan and John Miller
Phone: +61 2 4464 1311