Adelaide-based Beston Global Food Company (BFC) has launched a limited edition black wax cheddar as a tribute to the South Australian dairy industry.
The 220 gram cheese block, appropriately named “The Tribute”, has been made at the company’s Beston Pure Foods factory at Murray Bridge as a way of recognising the significant contribution which dairy farmers make to the economy of South Australia.
The Tribute original cheddar cheese was inspired by the hardships experienced by dairy farmers in recent times and is aimed at helping them through this period and beyond, by increasing the demand for milk.
Some of the funds used to make vintage cheddar cheese at Murray Bridge will also be diverted to a welfare fund for SA dairy farmers.
Beston will work with the SA Dairy Association to determine the fairest and most appropriate allocation of these funds.
Each block of The Tribute cheese has been hand crafted by the company’s cheese makers and is personally autographed by the Head Cheese Maker at Beston Pure Foods, Lewis D’Angelo.
A series of 2500 special release blocks was made available online this week as part of a hamper purchase sold via the newly launched via Beston Marketplace (www.bestonmarketplace.com.au).
The black wax cheddar is also being sold in selected independent supermarkets and speciality stores across South Australia in the next few weeks.
The cheese is being sold under Beston’s “Edwards Crossing” label so as to pay homage, also, to the history of the Beston Pure Foods factory at Murray Bridge.
Part of the proceeds from all “Edwards Crossing” Cheese sold by BFC will be used to build a “cheese bank” whereby additional milk will be taken in from farmers and turned into cheddar cheese, which will then be aged for up to three years.
Establishing the cheese bank will increase the drawdown of milk from dairy farmers in SA and also re-establish the state’s reputation as a producer of high quality vintage cheese.
Dr Sexton said the cheese bank would provide some short term assistance to dairy farmers in need and help the SA industry get back on a sustainable long-term footing, as well as create new opportunities for it to grow and expand.
The concept of the The Tribute cheese product has been developed jointly by BFC and local cheese distributer, Say Cheese Wholesale, as an initiative to provide support for dairy farmers and their families in response to the farmgate milk price crisis.
Beston Global Food Company chairman, Dr Roger Sexton, said the black waxed cheese had been produced on a limited edition basis as a way of enabling South Australians to provide tangible support for the dairy farming community, at a time when they need it most.
“The limited edition cheddar is truly South Australian – using only local milk, local hands to craft and hand-dip every block, and local stores to sell it,” he said.
“Consumers have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our dairy farmers and recognise the role which these farmers play in SA and the efforts they make in continuing to supply milk in times of considerable hardship in the industry.
“The initiative represents a commitment by BFC to help put sustainable long term growth back into the dairy industry in SA.”
Cheddar was produced at Murray Bridge just weeks after Beston re-opened the factory last September, having bought the former Dairy Farmers plant from its then insolvent owners United Dairy Power nine months ago.
“It’s something extra special for us and we think it deserves to be shared with everyone,” Dr Sexton said.
“Within two months of acquiring the Murray Bridge plant and facilities, we had turned the factory back on and commenced cheddar production.
“Not only have we resurrected the plant and rebuilt cheese-making operations, but close to 40 jobs have been developed for local staff and cheesemakers.
“Our vision for the Murray Bridge factory is to move it away from its previous commodity-style, mass-production practices to producing high-quality style cheeses.
“The Edwards Crossing brand recognises the more than 50 years of history that underpins our factory, and has been adopted as a means of celebrating the re-opening of the factory and the bringing back of dairy processing in Murray Bridge, where it belongs.”
“Edwards Crossing” takes its name from George Edwards – one of the original settlers of the Murray Bridge region along the banks of the Murray River – where paddle steamers and river boats began to voyage, and industry soon recognised it as a key transport corridor
George built the ‘Edwards’ homestead overlooking the river, where many local farmers would cross with their herds as they made their way to Adelaide - hence the original name, Edwards Crossing.
In 1883, the area was officially named Mobilong, and despite everyone referring to it as Murray Bridge following completion of the first bridge over the river in 1879, the name wasn’t officially changed until 1924.
“Edwards Crossing Cheese Company pays homage to the pioneers of yesteryear,” said head cheesemaker, Mr D’Angelo.
Mr D’Angelo – who has been making cheese since he was 17 – has worked at the plant since 1987.
The now 54-year old has been responsible for crafting the Edwards Crossing black wax cheddar and has assisted in the hand-dipping of every limited edition block.
“The limited edition black wax cheddar is a superior-quality cheese that is creamy, smooth and full of flavour,” he said.
“Adopting a slow process when crafting the cheese, we never use adjuncts to artificially speed up the process, ensuring optimal texture in every block.
“Our philosophy is to remain true to traditional cheese-making methods and use only the best natural ingredients.
“Being closely located to grazing dairy pastures in the fine dairy regions around Murray Bridge and the South East means we use only the freshest local milk.
“We are a proud SA dairy company supporting local dairy farmers.
“Cheese-making is an absolute passion for me and I take great pride in producing what is a high-quality premium product for South Australians to enjoy.”