- Anne Marie Monda and Carla Meurs, searched for this 200 acres for many years, having worked on a number of small and large farms in both Australia and Europe.
- Their holistic approach to farming, from pasture care, animal health, medicine and husbandry earned them the Royal Agricultural Societies prestigious Presidents Award in 2010
- All of these disciplines and their commitment to sustainable practices, create new heights in cheese making; with observance to traditional techniques, unique milk quality and intuitive natures, they focus on how to honour terroir.
- Their farm, Sutton Grange is located in Central Victoria on a belt of Granite with undulating hills and boulderous outcrops. The goats graze on native perennial grasses which provide a good foundation for the milk in these beautifully crafted fresh and white mould cheeses.
Using the traditional French technique of lactic acid fermentation and intensive care through maturation, they have achieved a small but extraordinary range that is shipped along the East Coast of Australia and has attracted much interest from visiting French Affineurs.
In the same family of soft ripened’s, is the elegant Brigid’s Well, a smaller version of the La Luna Ring with a fine ash coating which emerges through the bloom, to reveal shapes like a Celtic Cross.
A Goats Day
On approach, the girls are either heads in the trough, making their way up the ramp onto the line, or heads down, calmly surrendering their pendulous udders to the suction cups. A rhythmical tapping resounds, as the milk pumps through the line into the vat.
Carla is massaging their udders, one after the other, feeling for any congestions, monitoring their health and recording any abnormal signs. It’s all just so female and like the quiet purposeful measure of a maternity ward as the job gets done.
I was thinking of all the common perceptions about goats, their temperaments often associated with ‘capriciousness’ – not these little milkers.
Anne- Marie is herding them elsewhere, a ritual performed twice a day, everyday. I am filled with admiration and fascination for how ‘at one’ these women are with their environment.
We have come to watch, learn and talk about how we can assist them and other cheesemakers in achieving their goals of sustainable profitable business models.
The Australian Specialty Cheesemakers Association is looking to build a stronger services platform for their members and we need to hear what the priorities are.
We are putting together a template questionnaire that we will take to each of the cheesemakers in the coming months.
The Meeting of the Day
Working towards the future….. in the middle Carla and Anne Marie, Holy Goats’ cheesesmakers
But first, lunch.
We’ve bought Alison’s pumpkin and lemongrass soup, terrines from Piper St. Store and plenty of cheese.
The fresh country air and watching the girls at work seems to have increased my hunger, so we all hook into the soup and then we move on to the cheese board.
Rebecca has brought some Pyrenees Ewes milk, Alison, Jura Mountain hard cheeses and my contribution is Kris Lloyd’s Drunken Goat with pressed grape-must on the surface.
While we have all spent many years training our palates to identify flavours, we agree that there is always so much to learn about this wonderful food.
We have our meeting down in the woofers quarters, in a little cottage in the adjoining paddock and come away with a head full of ideas, enthusiasm and the good strong bones
of a working paper.
THE ASCA WORKING PARTY- The girls with the girls behinds
All pictures on the farm taken by Lynne via iphone
You will find Holy Goat cheeses at specialist cheese shops and David Jones food hall , Sydney.