The old Yiddish asage 'man plans, and god laughs' is certainly an apt description of how SJ Pienaar became owner and head cheesemaker at The Second Mouse Cheese Company in Orange, NSW.
After growing up in the outback town of Mt Isa, SJ was well into an engineering career when she received a gift of a cheesemaking course.
Something awoke in SJ.
She put aside engineering and spent a year studying at the Artisan Cheese Making Academy of Australia in Adelaide before starting her cheesemaking career at Second Mouse.
When the opportunity arose to purchase Second Mouse about 13 months ago, SJ could hardly contain her excitement and jumped at the chance.
"I always enjoyed eating cheeses, but my passion for it did not really manifest until I did the course," SJ said.
"You never really know what you will end up doing.
"Now my team and I, four women, are all very passionate about cheese.
"We take great pride in producing our high quality European style cheeses.
"They are 100 percent hand made using only the best milk sourced from local family-owned dairies.
"We are firm believers in the importance of independent businesses.
"While we sell a lot of our stock at farmers markets, high end produce shops, direct to chefs and at wineries, we also support the independents like IGA."
The Second Mouse Cheese Company's fanaticism towards their European cheeses has led to a unique line up of products.
Their cheeses include:
- Roobie Blue
- Double Cream Brie
- Fetta and
"While each cheese has its own appeal to different cheese lovers, the Double Cream Brie is definitely the favourite," SJ said.
"What's not to like about it?"
The Second Mouse Cheese Company uses 1000 litres per week, producing between 100 and 150 kilograms of cheese.
Hand-made cheese is a niche product and SJ and the team are gauging opportunities for growth.