Organic Convos: Symons Dairy
Bruce Symons is from a long line of dairy producers. Way back in 1919 it all started when his grandfather established Sunnyside Dairies, which was later renamed to Symons Dairy by Bruce's father in 1953.
“I remember delivering milk [for Symons Dairy] by horse and cart with my brother when I was young and washing out glass milk bottles.”
After decades of changes and a 17+ year hiatus for the Symons Daily brand he's brought the business back to its roots by keeping things simple, honest, and made with traditional methods - just like the old days of his father and grandfather. But this time he's producing organic cheese and butter as the owner of Symons Organic Dairy. Why organic? Bruce says:
"Conventional farming has depleted the soil, polluted waterways, reduced biodiversity, and employed massive amounts of non-renewable resources to produce large volumes of ho-mum milk. Organic farming is proven to increase soil biology and support biodiversity. Choosing certified organic food is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways that we can help the environment."
And it isn't just something that improves the environment, organic farming means a better product.
“My business partner Matthieu Megard, a third-generation French cheesemaker from L'Artisan Organic Cheese found that organic milk gives him the best quality cheese”
“It's because the flavours of the milk come through in the end product. If the soil is healthy, the pastures are really healthy which means the cattle are healthy, so you don't need to treat them for disease with conventional drugs.”
Alongside Matthieu, Bruce plans on opening a new factory in Mortlake in the coming weeks, giving them more space and taking more control over their production.
“By owning our own factory we'll be able to work with a few key farmers where we know how they farm, and how they treat their cattle. It means you can talk to your customers holding your head up high and proudly tell them what the farmers are doing and what we do at the factory.”And more control isn't the only benefit of buying their own factory, it's also given them the opportunity to create things they weren't previously able to.
“There's things that I've been wanting to do for a while now that were more difficult to do when I didn't own my own factory. Things like organic cream, which I've been wanting to do for about 8 years. Because I own the factory, I'm able to work on all sorts of interesting projects”.
As we've seen in previous Organic Convo's, COVID-19 has had a major impact on their business, but luckily Bruce hasn't seen much change at all.
“My sales have been strong. This whole pandemic has people thinking more about their health, and with that comes a heightened awareness of healthy natural foods - so coming out of this I think there might be even more demand for products like mine.”
So what's the best way to enjoy Bruce's cheese? The ever-classic cheese toastie, or keep it simple with a cheese board.
“The Organic Vintage Cheddar is great in a toastie. It makes for a sharp and interesting taste. For a cheese board, I'd go with a Vintage Organic Cheddar and an Organic Ploughman's Cheese - which is kind of a creamy cross between a parmesan and a cheddar. Pair it all with a Pure Blonde and sit back and relax.”
You can learn more about Symons Dairy at their website: https://www.symonsorganicdairy.com.au