It’s one thing to be producing great regional produce. It’s another to have your hard work and passion recognised with awards at a state, national and international level.

That is what Barambah Organics has done by taking out the Champion Flavoured Cheese award for its Labna yoghurt cheese with fennel and sea salt at the 13th annual Australian Grand Dairy Awards earlier this year. The recipe is a yoghurt cheese popular in Lebanon and Israel made traditionally at home by wrapping the yoghurt in muslin and draining it over a pot. Once the mixture solidifies, it is rolled into a ball then in fennel and salt to be marinated in oil. The company’s sour cream products were also selected in the top three with entry to these awards permitted only after winning gold at capital city royal shows.

The awards don’t stop there for this New South Wales/Queensland border-based organic dairy supplier that took six gold medals at the 2011 Queensland Dairy Product Competition for their yogurt, cream, cheese and milk. Barambah’s marinated feta won gold at the 2009 World Cheese Awards.

The Barambah farm is located between Inglewood and Goondiwindi with organic certification attained in the late 1990s, cementing the conviction for sustainable farm management. “The herd is now thriving on perennial lucerne, and certified organic grains and molasses,” says the brains behind Barambah, Ian Campbell, its founder and a qualified nutritionist who believes passionately in organics and his products. “There is plenty of water from the river and bores and no cattle ticks. The river soils are responding well to organic farming and the earthworms are thriving.”

The average dairy farmer works a 16-hour day and it is not for the money. With the recent $1 and $2 a litre prices for milk at the major supermarket chains creating pricing pressure for the farmers, it may be that Australia has to import all milk products if dairy farmers cannot earn a decent wage for their efforts in feeding our nation.

“Like many dairy farmers, we do this for the lifestyle, as we love our animals and all family members can work together. Our girls, who are aged six and seven, love nothing more than to help milk the cows with their dad on a weekend and feeding the calves,” says Jane Campbell.

The business’s Oxley plant, where cheese products are made, was hit by Brisbane’s 2011 floods. The farm was also affected by the deluge that threatened the production output. “We had a tough 2011, so this year is turning out to be a rewarding one with the awards and in celebrating 10 years of business in Barambah,” Jane adds.

The website at www.barambah.com.au has a list of outlets that stock their products and plenty of information about each of their products and recipes using them.

Words by Janet Kieseker   |  Images supplied by Barambah Organics