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Clean milk helps Barrys Bay cheesemakers win big haul of medals

March 3, 2016 –

Barrys Bay cheesemakers are praising the “clean milk” supplied by a Motukarara dairy farming couple after winning a big haul of medals at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese awards.

Owners Mike and Catherine Carey, of Barrys Bay Cheese, took home 19 medals, including five gold medals for their cheese. The big brands of Fonterra and Goodman Fielder won more medals overall, but the small family-owned cheese making operation at Barrys Bay won the most medals for a single factory site.

Mike Carey said they enjoyed working with Banks Peninsula farmers Simon and Myra Manson who supplied the milk which went into their cheese.

“Certainly getting their milk which is of consistent high quality and very clean gives us a great raw material to work with. … They bring their team to the factory to understand what we do and we love the milk their largely grass fed cows produce.”

He said the top medal performance was satisfying as it showed their techniques were working and this was being recognised by international judges.

They were extremely proud to get their Maasdam – their signature cheese – to gold standard, he said.

“We are particularly pleased because it reflects the effort put in by our small cheese making team of Pete Corbitt and Craig Church. Every one of our Dutch style wheel cheeses we entered won gold.”

The 19 medal haul of five golds, five silvers and nine bronzes surpasses the gold-less 15 medals they won last year. Gold medals were received for their aged gouda, aged edam, maasdam, edam and gouda.

The Careys won the champion of champion cheese with their gouda in 2014. Their team of 12 staff processes 600,000 litres of milk a year into cheese.

The Careys took over the historic peninsula factory 10 years ago. They believe they have been able to lift the cheeses to award winning standard over this period because of the work they did to understand what makes a great cheese and by putting those lessons into practise.

Carey said co-operating with other cheese makers helped them to lift their game and this was being recognised by repeat business from shoppers supporting their cheeses.

Another Canterbury cheesemonger, Karikaas, won five golds and a silver at the awards.

West Coast dairy co-operative, Westland Milk products won the champion butter at the awards with their Westgold butter which has been sold internationally and will be made available to the domestic market next week.

TIM CRONSHAW

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