Every Christmas Bega Cheese boss Barry Irvin returns to his dairy in the NSW country town, and he is always asked the same question: should I sell my Bega shares?
He always has the same answer.
"I say I'm happy to keep running the business but I leave it to others to decide whether they should invest or otherwise," he said.
"I'm not a valuation expert."
This holiday season the question had some fresh context.
Shares in the NSW dairy group surged 30 per cent to a record high $7.50 in December and the company's market value broke through $1 billion for the first time.
"It is a material thing for Bega Cheese, which maintains its head office in Bega and still has a lot of its shareholders in Bega, to go through a billion dollar [market] cap. It does make a big difference in people's lives," said the executive chairman Mr Irvin.
The company's transformation from a sleepy regional dairy co-operative to a major listed business means that dairy farmers and big-city money managers alike are keeping a close eye on the share price.
Mr Irvin made Bega's dairy farmers millionaires when the company shed its farmer co-operative structure and floated on the Australian Securities Exchange in August 2011.
But the nation's fifth-biggest dairy processor has come a long way since then, and its shareholders are now richer.
Bega Cheese raised $35 million when it sold 18.35 million shares, almost 15 per cent of its equity, at $2 apiece in its initial public offer. The IPO valued the company slightly above $250 million.
The $1 billion milestone has given Mr Irvin a lot to think about.
Between December and January, the dairy-farmer-turned-dairy-executive always returns to his farm in Bega in south-eastern NSW.
"At this time of year, I do... return to my roots. I give my staff time off and return to being a dairy farmer, get up at 4am and milk my cows, and remember how all of this started," Mr Irvin said.
Over the last year the spotlight has (rightly) been on market darling Blackmores as shares in the naturopathic health group skyrocketed more than 500 per cent.
A joint-venture deal between Blackmores and Bega Cheese, announced in October, has been a key catalyst driving both stocks higher.
Under the 50-50 joint venture, Bega Cheese will be the exclusive supplier for a "range of nutritional foods", including infant formula, "which will be available early in 2016".
"We haven't announced the launch dates yet. We are working feverishly getting ready to launch in the first half of the calendar year," Mr Irvin said.
"People realise it is a very good partnership."
Demand for high-quality infant formula, particularly from "clean and green" agricultural producers like Australia, is exploding.
Cash has been pouring into the local dairy sector and a spate of dairy food businesses have joined the local sharemarket, ushering in a significant new group of listed companies.
In the last five years Bega Cheese, Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, A2 Milk, Beston Global Foods and Bellamy's Organic have all listed in Australia, while Warrnambool Cheese & Butter left the ASX following a $500 million takeover by Canada's Saputo.
Those dairy companies that are primarily exposed to infant formula, rather than volatile commodities such as milk powder, have markedly outperformed.
In the past year shares in Bega, A2 Milk, and Bellamy's have jumped 42 per cent, 217 per cent and 737 per cent respectively.
"It is observable that the investment community is moving toward food-type stocks," Mr Irvin said.
"While we'd love to say it is all about us there are a lot of stocks moving to value-add to agricultural products."
The strong share price performance has come despite a huge boom and bust in dairy commodity prices and stubbornly high farmgate milk prices in Australia.
Mr Irvin said that global commodity markets are still challenging.
"Not as challenging as last year but not where you would hope they would be. If you produce commodity powders you are forever exposed to volatility so our business model is to forever move away from volatile commodities," he said.
Infant formula is a major part of this shift.
But the Bega deal with Blackmores is not a single product partnership.
Mr Irvin said that Blackmores is outstanding at delivering supplements to different age segments and Bega will be the partner for a range of nutritional products.
Infant formula is just the first of these "lifestage nutritionals".
Back in the town of Bega in regional NSW, local farmers continue to stop Mr Irvin in the street and ask if it's time to sell their Bega Cheese shares.
Close to half the company's share register, worth around $600 million, is still owned by farmers.
Bega Cheese has been investing $25 million back into its farmer suppliers to keep them on board, rather than move to supply a rival milk processor, and to encourage them to grow their milk supply.
The investing program and buoyant share price have led to a spike in new dairies in the Bega region.
Farmers lucky enough to hang onto their shares can always get a nice lump of cash to grow their herd or buy equipment simply by selling some Bega Cheese shares.