Meet the Farmers: The Geritz Family

Finding a time to meet with Neil and Jade Geritz, one of the nine farmers who supply Maleny Dairies with raw milk and who featured in our TV ad, was an achievement in itself. With the Geritz power couple often working 14 hour days, a quick cup of coffee overlooking Maleny Dairies’ fields was a rare chance to reflect on their growing business and family.

A Farming Family’s Routine

Maleny Dairies Farmer's, The Geritz Family

Neil and Jade Geritz in Maleny Dairies’ TV ad.

While Neil’s parents were dairy farmers, Jade is a self-confessed ‘city girl’ who is proud that their three daughters can enjoy the outdoor lifestyle of a farming family. Neil on the other hand, attended Maleny State School and often helped the Hopper’s out at the farm. The Hopper’s were then able to lend a hand to the Geritz family by taking them on as suppliers when Neil decided to swap bricklaying for dairy farming around 8 years ago.

Neil’s day begins at around 4:30am, like all dairy farmers, when he gets up to milk the cows. The day continues with feeding calves, cleaning, checking, fixing, spraying and back for the second round of milking at 2:30pm. Neil is usually home at 6:30pm for dinner and has some time with their growing brood before hitting the gym.

Staying Sane in the Dairy Game

Neil is not just a dairy farmer, he is also a competitive bodybuilder who takes up to 12 months to prep for one of his competitions.

Maleny Dairies' Farmer, Neil Geritz

Neil Geritz on the front page of Challenge News. (Image courtesy of isuu.com)

“Every night when he gets home from work, regardless of if he gets home at 9pm at night, he will go to the gym. It’s the only time we get away from the farm and to ourselves.”

Jade’s day begins with the school run and then the drive into Brisbane which Jade makes 6 days a week. With the ever-increasing price of grain, the Geritz’s decided to substitute one feed a day with bread left over from big supermarkets and now have farmer’s agreements with 8 supermarkets in Brisbane. According to Jade;

“Neil is a thinker and a ‘Googler’ and we don’t rush into anything.”

After dealing with the housework, meal prep for the following day, dinner for the kids and the bedtime routine, Jade hits the gym as well. When asked if she ever runs out of energy Jade replied;

“As a mother, you know you just have to do it, it’s not a choice.”

Sugar-Coated Free Dairy

Maleny Dairies Farmer's, The Geritz Family

Neil and Jade Geritz with their youngest daughter, Harper, 4 at Maleny Dairies.

With Neil’s parents living 3 hours away and Jade’s father working overseas, the couple had to rely on themselves and some great friends to get the business to where it is today.

Jade admits that she thinks a lot of people underestimate dairy farming;

“It is a 24/7, 365 day a year job. You have to leave the house on Christmas Day to go milk the cows.”

The Geritz family refuse to sugar-coat the reality of dairy farming and admit that while it is satisfying to work hard and see the slow progress, they would encourage their children to explore different paths unless it was something they truly loved. Jade says to be a successful dairy farmer you do have to have a little bit of heart in it.

The Next Generation of Dairy Farmers

Maleny Dairies' Farmers, The Geritz Family

Mia, 6, Harper, 4 and Amber, 8.

Out of their three daughters, Jade believes Harper, 4, looks the most likely to continue the family business as she has such a love of animals. All three daughters earn their pocket money with their dad on Saturday mornings when they visit the farm and enjoy feeding the calves and riding with their dad on the motorbike.

Neil and Jade have both watched friends and family forced out of business by large processing companies. Neil’s own father would still be dairying but, according to Neil, they got to a point where they were going backward.

Neil and Jade’s outlook is now more positive and they are glad to be with Maleny Dairies. Jade is enjoying the good relationship and open communication and knows Maleny Dairies look after their farmers.

“We are happy with how the future looks for us and for our kids.”

 

READ MORE

Maleny Dairy defies downturn in milk market

rosssally

It is now 16 years since the Hopper family opened Maleny Dairies processing plant.

The business is continuing its slow and steady expansion and is set to sign a contract with a ninth farmer supplier.

“Our sales are going good, our customers are demanding that we keep it up and we’re looking for the ninth one shortly,” Ross Hopper said.

“We’ve got a list of farmers that have put their hands up over the years on the waiting list; we’ve just got to time it right and obviously, when they’ve finished their contracts, they can come across.

“We processed 49,000 litres on Monday. That’s a lot of milk locally coming into the factory.”

READ MORE

My Lil Pouch

Sarah Hansen from MyLil Pouch

Sarah Hansen from MyLil Pouch

At Maleny Dairies we are passionate about people who see something could be done better or differently – and do it! Today we share the wisdom of double twin Mumpreneur, Sarah Hansen of My Lil Pouch and her journey to reusable food pouch success…

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and one day whilst feeding her two sets of twins the My Lil Pouch vision was realised. The mess, frustration and sheer exasperation of four tiny people who wanted to be independent was enough to make Sarah realise there ‘must be a better way!’ show image of Sarah

Having years earlier researched the pouch idea and established the available products were mostly available overseas, expensive and not ticking all her boxes it was this moment of adorable family mayhem that saw Sarah recognise her idea was a truly good one.

2012 saw the launch of My Lil Pouch and the rest, as they say is history! My Lil Pouch is stocked internationally and Sarah runs the business in conjunction with family life.

Sarah Hansen from MyLil Pouch

Sarah Hansen from MyLil Pouch

Maleny Dairies: Tell us about yourself Sarah…

Like many other Australian women I wear many hats. I’m a wife, mum, friend, daughter and business owner. I am not your traditional entrepreneur, much like Maleny Dairies own story I saw there was a gap and looked to fill it. I balance family life with two sets of busy twins and running My Lil Pouch with enthusiasm and an appreciation of organised chaos.

Why would Maleny Dairies’ customers love My Lil Pouch?

Really, there are so many reasons! Firstly it’s an Australian owned family business. We’ve developed a product that is practical, saves money and is environmentally friendly. We’re passionate about making family life easier and it’s also a great food aid for mum’s facing challenges with managing allergy, preservatives and additives. If you like a product that celebrates real food and nutritional focus this is for you. I definitely think these are all things the Maleny Dairy customer would respect. Even better, much like your own story I’ve faced numerous hurdles along the way, triumphed as a little guy and produced something that’s a genuinely great product!

What’s your family’s food philosophy?

We live a busy life as two working parents and four small kids. I like to give my kids nutritional, natural foods but also, I don’t have endless hours to prepare foods. I use my own pouches (of course!) to streamline lunchboxes and food on the go. I like to shop locally and try to have our diet guided by the seasons. I’m passionate about produce being fresh and from within our community as much as possible – that’s why I’m a Maleny Dairy fan! My kids love your yoghurt (publish link to Maleny Dairies store-locator ) more than anything; I literally have to hide it in the back of the fridge. That said, I’m an ‘everything with moderation’ kind of Mum and a packet of Chocolate Frogs never lasts long in this house!

What are your best tips for Mums with a great idea?

Be passionate and undeterred – don’t allow your grand plans to be compromised by failure or competitors. Invest in good people as soon as you can afford it – there are no medals for being completely burnt out. I read a great quote recently that said ‘the empty cup can not pour’ and I think this is spot on. Mum’s can give, give, give but that ability to give needs to come from somewhere. It’s also important to seek mentorship or to find a trusted, great mind to bounce your ideas off, I was blessed to have my cousin work alongside me in my journey and couldn’t have done it without her.

Thanks for stopping by the Maleny Dairies blog today Sarah and sharing your story with us!

To celebrate Sarah’s interview we have a fantastic Starter Pack from My Lil Pouch to giveaway this is valued at over $50 including postage, together with a family tour for four people to visit Maleny Dairies. Maleny Dairies tours are heaps of fun and educational too.

 

starter-pack-my-lil-pouch

Leave a comment below telling us why you would like to win and how you will use our product. This competition will close on the 31st March 2016 and we will pick a winner at random. The winner will be notified no later than the 5th April 2016. Entries must be received by 31st March 2016. All decisions by Maleny Dairies are final and no correspondence will be entered into. No prize is exchangeable for cash. We will contact the winner here on our blog and announce their name on Facebook. If we do not receive a response from the winner within fourteen days we reserve the right to choose another winner. Competition is open to Australian residents only. The competition is free to enter and no purchase is necessary. By entering the competition entrants will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions

READ MORE

Milkin’ It for Maleny

milkin-it-fiMaleny Dairies are very much looking forward to their charity fundraiser to be held here on the farm on Saturday the 5th March. Our Guernsey girls are training hard for the “Race that milks a Nation.”

We’ve even noticed the cows are becoming quite competitive, with Daisy (one of our prized milkers) determined to be the first over the finish line!

Recently we asked local Chaplain Becky Francis from Maleny Primary School a few questions about the event and her role as Chaplain at Maleny Primary School.

So whose idea was it to hold a “Cow Race Becky?”

“The idea came from Ross, owner of Maleny Dairies. We asked Ross originally if we could use the creek to maybe have a plastic duck race and Ross said he could do way better than that and suggested a cow race instead!

We’re setting up the finish line down by the Creek and asking everyone to put on their finery, enjoy some refreshments whilst waiting for the cows to come in. It’s not so much a race I guess, more of an amble, but lots of fun and there’s some fantastic prizes to be won.”

Are your roles Government funded or do you rely solely on Fundraising?

“I work for Scripture Union http://www.scriptureunion.org.au/ and the Government pays for 2 days a week, however this does not cover resources and other expenses. I therefore have to fundraise for those extra facets of this position. Any extra days must be supported through fundraising also.”

primary-schoolHow long have you been a chaplain at Maleny Primary School?

“I have been a chaplain at Maleny Primary School since the start of the 4th term in 2014, so just over one year now.”

Why is this role so important for the community?

“I believe that the role of a Chaplain is vitally important in a school because there are so many issues that families face today. Children are confronted with social and emotional challenges and need someone who is a positive role model, who will come alongside them and speak courage and life into them. A chaplain is there to mentor and inspire, encourage and bring hope where there is often hopelessness. My role is to support both the student, parents and staff community.

We are very excited about this event Becky, what can people expect?

“Some great laughs, wonderful food and we have some talented local musicians too. I believe it will be a fantastic time for friends and family to relax and enjoy the atmosphere at Maleny Dairies. It really is a beautiful setting up here. I don’t believe anything like this has happened before, so I expect it is going to be a huge surprise for everyone and a memorable day for those involved.”

For more information and to book tickets check out the event on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/events/807119766083739/

Tickets may be purchased through EventBrite https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/malenys-milkin-it-for-charity-tickets-20030567968

READ MORE

Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Show 2016

This year’s winners of the prestigious Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Show for 2016 have now been announced.
Kelli with our tour cow Natasha and our award-winning cream.

Kelli with our tour cow Natasha and our award-winning cream.

Kelli with our tour cow Natasha and our award-winning cream.

Maleny Dairies are extremely proud to be bringing home a swag of awards this year.

milkAll three of our milks were awarded a Gold Medal. Our Farmers Choice Gold Top (pasteurised only) and both our Full Fat and Low Fat Milk. (Pasteurised and Homogenised) milk.

Our Pure Cream not only won a Gold Medal it was also awarded Champion in its class.

James Beauchamp from Maleny Dairies with his lovely wife Wendy receiving Champion in its class for our award-winning cream

James Beauchamp from Maleny Dairies with his lovely wife Wendy receiving Champion in its class for our award-winning cream

Maleny+Diary+YoghurtOur famous Custard was awarded a Silver medal in the Dairy Dessert Category and all our yoghurts (Strawberry, Apricot and Natural) brought home Bronze Medals.

The competition attracts over 900 entries in 104 classes. Products judged include an extensive range of Milk, Cheese, Butter, Dairy Desserts, Ice-Cream and Gelato.

medals

Mark Livermore, dairy expert and chair of judges, said milk had “bounced back” with more than 100 types of milk, including about 25 flavoured milks, entered in the competition. It wasn’t quite like tasting wine, but he said different milks had distinctive tastes determined by the grasses eaten by the cows.
( Source: http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/judges-line-up-to-taste-best-cheese-chocolate-and-icecream-20150212-13cvqd.html#ixzz3zfuAlVe7 )

Kelli and Elise makers of our fine custard.

Kelli and Elise makers of our fine custard.

IMG_0969-2Ross and Sally Hopper, owners of Maleny Dairies were really pleased with the results. “We reckon we have got a lot of things going for us up here, from the fantastic Hinterland climate and fresh air, to happy healthy cows, living on lush green pastures.

Low food miles keeps our products very fresh for our customers and minimal processing helps to deliver a top product. .

We’re fortunate to have a great team, they are all like family really, yes, we are very thankful to both our farmers, our team and of course our Guernsey girls!

READ MORE

Little pots of heaven!

Introducing Nakita from  Jhar Binx and Zhave

The best products make the best treats, sweet and smooth with a fresh hint of lime all so delicious thanks to our fabulous local products right outside our door. Maleny Dairies Plain Yogurt was used to create these yummy pots of  LIME YOGHURT CHEESECAKE.  They truly are little pots of heaven!   My adventures with Maleny Dairies products have been growing for quite some time and as their product range grows so do the seedlings of ideas sprouting from my overactive sweet tooth brain.

Yummy pots of heaven!

Yummy pots of heaven!

  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered Gelatine
  • ¼ cup Caster Sugar
  • 200g Maleny Dairies Natural Yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut cream
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated lime rind (Change to personal taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (Change to personal taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of powdered gelatine
  • 6 Butternut snap Biscuits
  • 2 Tablespoons of boiling water

These can be made in cupcake papers or get creative and make these super cute flower pots. To make the flower pots follow the recipe correctly apart from the biscuit section. For pots we smash the biscuits into pieces until resembling dirt, we then place a teaspoon of ‘dirt’ in the base of our pot and cover the cake filling after it has set also with the ‘dirt’.

 

  1. Line a 6 hole cupcake tray with cupcake papers, Place a biscuit in the base of each cupcake paper.
  2. Place boiling water into a heat proof jug and sprinkle gelatine over the top, stir until dissolves
  3. Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, Add coconut cream, Maleny Dairies Natural Yoghurt lime rind and lime juice and beat until smooth.
  4. Add gelatine mix and beat until well combines
  5. Pour cream cheese mix into cupcake papers
  6. Refrigerate for 6 hours
  7. Remove from refrigerator and peel back the cupcake paper to serve
  8. Sprinkle lime rind over the top for a touch of colour.
Life's no fun without sugar!

Life’s no fun without sugar!

 

 

Happy Caking Baking & Creating –  See more ideas at Jhar Binx and Zave

READ MORE

Maleny Dairies will not certify their products Halal.

We believe in giving farmers a fair price for their milk

We believe in giving farmers a fair price for their milk

After receiving persistent enquiries concerning Halal Certification we decided to pop a post-up on our Facebook page to inform our customers that this is not part of our business model.

READ MORE

McDonald’s Nambour supporting local dairy farmers Maleny Dairies

Maleny Dairies has formed a new partnership with McDonald’s Nambour which now sees the popular local milk available in the restaurant. McDonald’s customers can now experience the fresh taste of Maleny Dairies Milk in McCafe beverages and have the opportunity to purchase a two litre bottle of Maleny  Dairies Milk at the McDonald’s drive thru. Maleny Dairies owner Ross Hopper said the company was looking forward to a long partnership with McDonald’s. “It’s pleasing to see McDonald’s Nambour supporting the community that supports them. We have worked hard to develop and maintain a product of this quality, and to have this recognised by McDonald’s is very rewarding,” he said. “It is great that McDonald’s Nambour are giving their customers new choices and helping to support local businesses in the process. Mr Hopper said Maleny Dairies Milk is popular with a number of cafés across the Sunshine Coast region and is sure to be welcomed by customers at the McCafe. “With McDonald’s Nambour now offering Maleny Dairies Milk, there is more opportunity for the local community to get behind a local business. Purchasing Maleny Dairies Milk benefits not only Maleny Dairies, but also eight other local farming families,” he said. The introduction of Maleny Dairies Milk accompanies a new state of the art espresso machine by Italian company Nuova Simonelli installed at McDonalds Nambour. The McDonald’s partnership continues a successful 18 month period for Maleny Dairies, in which product sales have more than doubled, driven largely by a grass roots social media campaign. Suzie Erdbrink PR and Social Media Manager said  ” Connecting with our customers through social media has meant that consumers now have a far greater understanding of the struggles dairy farmers experience.  People really care about sustainable agriculture and working with other businesses, both  large and small,  enables our products to be readily available  to all. ”

READ MORE

Meet our new calves

Meet our new tour calves

Meet our new tour calves

#win #sharethemoos Want to win a free family pass to visit our dairy farm? Simply suggest two names for our new calves now appearing in our tour pen. Pop your suggestions on a comment on our Facebook page  and share this post with your friends. Competition is open for ten days and we will announce the winner on Tuesday 22nd April here on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to like our page so you will see the winner announced! We will also take some digital photos of you with our new calves which we will send you by email. This competition is not endorsed in anyway by Facebook and is run entirely by Maleny Dairies. By entering this competition you are agreeing to have your name mentioned on our page should you be our lucky winner. #sunshinecoast

READ MORE

No ice-cream maker necessary for these delicious heavenly sticks!

 

 

Heavenly sticks of yumminess|!

Heavenly sticks of yumminess|!

No ice cream machine needed. These ice-creams are easy to make and so rich, delicious and best of all healthy and by using beautiful Maleny dairies cream, are gluten free too!

Ingredients

1 x 600 ml Maleny Dairies Cream

2 ripe mangoes

2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or other sugar)
1/2 cup raw macadamias

1 teaspoons vanilla paste/essence

wooden icy pole stick and plastic cups or ice cream moulds
Method
Pour the cream into a large bowl, add honey, vanilla, coconut sugar.
Carefully whip the cream.
Taste, drizzle carefully with extra honey if desired.
Blend mangoes until smooth and runny.

Arrange some ice cream moulds or plastic cups

Fill with a layer of the cream, then drop some macadamias then mango, then cream, more macadamias then mango until filled with the final layer being cream.

Insert the ice cream stick or lid with stick and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Optionally swirl the layers lightly together a little or leave as layers.

Run the outside under lukewarm water until ice creams can be easily removed.
Thank you Bec  from    Author Rebecca Mugridge  we can’t wait to try these! Enjoy everyone!

READ MORE