Dairy milk goes directly from farm to gelato

OUT AMONG THE COWS… Working farm partner for Gelato Messina, Steve Arnold looks out over his jersey milking herd. Photo: Katelyn Morse

In an industry beset with seemingly, never ending problems, one newcomer to the dairy industry is turning their business around through dramatic changes in how they operate and how they engage with the industry at large, value adding to their end product.

Gelato Messina is a family affair, beginning in the suburbs of Sydney making gelato and with a flair for originality, looked to expand vertically. Initially with growing some of the ingredients that go into their gelato, hazelnuts, then strawberries and more recently, by buying a dairy farm in Numurkah.

The farm is bucking the trend in terms of conventional farm practice. For one, they only milk once a day. By doing so, although there is a drop in volume, they have been able to increase the butter fat content to over six percent which is ideal for their gelato production. They milk all year round and they do not send bobby calves off for slaughter, preferring to raise them out as grass fed steers.

At the dairy they have introduced an inline pasteurising plant that treats the milk on the day of production. It is cooled and then shipped directly to their gelato production in Sydney, obviating the need for any further, third party processing and claiming the full benefit of the value adding.

The working farm partner, Steve Arnold said, “Our interest was to get the highest quality end product which is why we are going against conventional practice and changing some of the ways we manage the farm. We are not getting up at four am to start milking.”

The farm is not certified organic however it maintains a predominantly chemical free farm. Weeds are chopped rather than sprayed, they utilise a no-till process to oversow pasture, 100 tonnes of gravel were brought in to eliminate the mud on the tracks and they don’t supplementary feed grain to the cows. The reduction in on-farm costs add to the overall bottom line.

The farm is now supplying to the company’s 19 gelato stores around Australia and is looking to continue expanding laterally as well as vertically.