Great Southern dairy products with personality

Kate PollardCountryman

When Ruth Heady from Fairy and Co sells her hand-made yoghurt at the Albany Farmers Market, her customers know exactly which cow it comes from.

The boutique dairy owner based at Lowlands, near Denmark, processes milk from her four jersey cows individually.

"Our customers at the market have quite a personal relationship with the cows and always ask how they are," Ruth said.

"It also brings awareness to where their food comes from and the cycles that the animals go through.

"It makes it a bit more personal."

Ruth's team of milking ladies - Pippa, 10, Gemma, 10, Hannah, 5 and Charlotte, 4 - have plenty of personality and flavour to boot.

They can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes each to milk by hand, live on a diet of green pasture, hay, silage and can hear the waves of the Southern Ocean from their paddocks.

"Pippa and Charlotte have quite a lot of cream and Charlotte is probably sweeter than the others," Ruth said.

"Gemma is dry at the moment and has very sweet milk and Hannah has nice milk but less cream.

"Pippa is an A2 cow and people like to buy her milk because they consider it to be a bit more easily digestible."

Ruth's foray into the dairy industry started with a goat called Fairy making goats' cheese and led to the purchase of her neighbour's dairy cow business.

"My neighbour had already been labelling the yoghurt by the cows so a lot of the cows had been going to market for a lot longer than I have," Ruth said.

"My main reason for continuing to market the product by cows names is that I really enjoy the relationship that the customers have with the cows.

"It also reminds people that all milk comes from a cow, with a personality, moods, preferences and even if they don't have a name, they need to be treated with love and respect here and overseas."

The of amount product made depends upon the availability of milk, which is dependent upon where the cows are in their lactation.

Ruth makes yoghurt as well as soft cheese including feta and labneh, a yoghurt cheese.

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