The Pines has always aimed to engage and encourage our staff to share our passion for sustainable practices. We provide opportunities for the team to explore their interests. Some staff naturally want to be involved on a farm with the animals, and some prefer to work in the store – sharing our story and selling products. Where-ever possible, we encourage natural areas of interest – sharing resources, learning material etc. or offering flexible working conditions, which may look like milking cows some mornings and cheese production on other days.
We’re only a small team, so providing opportunities to be on the dairy farm or selling our award-winning cheeses at an event can help build their emotional investment in our business.
With our community, we build direct relationships to tell our regenerative story authentically and compellingly.
Ideally, we would love to invite people to our dairy farm for learning and workshop experiences, as seeing sustainable systems first-hand is often incredibly valuable. In the past, we saw little support from the local government for on-farm activity, but in 2021, we worked with the NSW State government to help guide their draft amendments to Agri-tourism and submitted our story for use as a case study. Thankfully our local government voted to adopt this Amendment to Agriculture Policy in July, which allows for more permissible farm gate activity. This would include on-farm education, farm stays, cellar door activities and much more. This exciting opportunity will allow us to engage more schools, community groups, public interest groups, corporates and the public in on-farm experiences. We genuinely believe being on the land first-hand is a compelling experience for learning and connecting to the land.
In the meantime, we continue to share our love and knowledge for regenerative farming practices through our social media channels and face-to-face at farmers’ markets, national events, and in-store. We engage in agriculture commentary with the view to inciting change without fear through news stories, podcasts, written articles and speaking on panels when invited.
By using sustainable business practices, we have improved our business operations considerably.
We started sustainable practices seven years ago; in that time, we have gone from working as a husband and wife team to a family dairy farm to employing a full-time cheese maker, operations manager and delivery driver. We have also hired a part-time gelato maker, three retail managers and four casual staff at the Pines Panty.
Our original offering has gone from gelato, and bottled milk to now excels in artisan cheesemaking, where the story of all our hard work to improve our soil and maintain herd health flourishes in the end product – seasonal cheese made from pasture-raised, chemical-free animals.
We have been named a state finalist five times in the delicious. Produce awards, and in 2020 our cheese ‘Pearl’ – was awarded a gold medal. Winning these awards is enormous for us, as the delicious. Produce awards not only look at the end product but also ask for a fully detailed application of what sustainable and regenerative practices we have implemented and why.
The outcome of this hard work has paid off, and recently multi-high profile chefs asked for exclusive access to our newest cheese, Three Daughters Cheddar. Now with a waiting list – this cheese is aged over 12 months and has caught the attention of some of Australia’s best food industry people. In 2022 our products will be a feature on the menu at multiple hatted restaurants around Australia. We now get asked to attend National events to showcase our award-winning cheeses and regenerative farming practices.
It’s more than just the product people want. It’s the story, told authentically and passionately, about why good food matters, why soil matters and why we should all give a damn.
From Dairy Farming to cheesemakers, farmer markets and retail outlets, We love what we do and hope that comes across in the food we produce and our passion.