Inglenook Dairy's success a credit to the community

Inglenook Dairy's success a credit to the community

Business Management
FOR THE INDUSTRY: Inglenook Dairy production manager Shane Browning and managing director Troy Peterken process more than 25,000 litres of milk weekly.

FOR THE INDUSTRY: Inglenook Dairy production manager Shane Browning and managing director Troy Peterken process more than 25,000 litres of milk weekly.

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A small-scale milk processor in central Victoria has plans to expand.

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If you've visited a cafe in central Victoria there's a chance you've noticed Inglenook Dairy's iconic milk cartons.

For the last eight years, the family-owned and operated milk processor at Dunnstown, near Ballarat, has built a loyal following throughout the region.

What started as a small-scale operation has steadily gained momentum in recent years with plans to expand its output and support more farmers within 12 months.

Troy and Rachael Peterken founded Inglenook Dairy to process Mrs Peterken's parents' milk in 2011.

Her family had been dairying on the site for more than 100 years.

"It took us two years to build and construct and then we launched our brand with 500 litres for our first production run," Mr Peterken said.

"Eight years down the track we're averaging about 25,000 litres a week, and growing."

At a time when farmers are shifting away from dairy and the industry faces increasing uncertainty, Inglenook Dairy is injecting a boost of confidence and reassurance to the changing sector.

"We want to support the dairy industry and if people want to sell their farms, we want them to sell their farms for their own personal reasons, not out of necessity," Mr Peterken said.

"In the last 12 months I've noticed where different suppliers are going and how people are trying to manage their raw milk supply because people are leaving the dairy industry in droves."

The processor receives its milk four times a week from an independent supplier at Learmonth who runs a herd of 400-450 Friesian/Jersey cows.

Milk is then processed into three forms and dispatched from the plant with a shelf life of 17 days due to its freshness.

"We've got unhomogenised milk which is the old fashioned milk where the cream rises to the top - it's still pasteurised but it's not put through the machine to homogenise it - and that's become very popular with cafes," Mr Peterken said.

"Then we do the low fat milk which also has a very good following as well because it still has that full flavoured body taste but it's reduced in fat and then we've got the full cream homogenised as well."

Within 12 months, Inglenook Dairy is expected to expand its capacity to produce butter.

"With the high-quality cream we've got, the butter is fantastic," Mr Peterken said.

"We've ordered a butter churn which is expected to be here in February so we'll process salted, unsalted and cultured butter and there's a fairly niche market for that kind of stuff."

The dairy also produces a Greek pot-set yoghurt.

Local support boosting brand loyalty

Inglenook Dairy's farm gate price it pays for its milk is kept a secret.

"We don't like to disclose that because if we did we would have 400 phone calls that we can't supply to," Mr Peterken said.

PROMOTION: Mr Peterken in front of a recently sign-written truck promoting the milk brand.

PROMOTION: Mr Peterken in front of a recently sign-written truck promoting the milk brand.

"But it is a really good price and if you don't pay the right price, you just don't get the produce."

While the farm gate price is kept under wraps, about 30 Woolworths stores throughout Bendigo and Ballarat and west of Melbourne retail Inglenook Dairy milk on their shelves.

"We also have a lot of support down the coast and from independent stores like green grocers," Mr Peterken said.

"A majority of cafes in particular purchase our milk because they want to give their customers the best product they can."

Inglenook Dairy production manager Shane Browning said the brand had also developed a strong following throughout central Victoria due to its "entrenched involvement" with the community.

"We consider our customers to be part of this business because they're helping to grow the industry that we care about," Mr Browning said.

"The goal for us is to ensure the sustainability not only for our business, but for the businesses and people who support us, because without that we don't have a business anyway and the industry will fall over."

The story Inglenook Dairy's success a credit to the community first appeared on Stock & Land.

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