(From the Elgaar Website)
Established in 1986, we are now recognised as one of Australia’s foremost organic dairy companies.
Situated in the valleys of Tasmania's fertile north, our care for the earth is all part of our philosophy of supplying the freshest, tastiest and healthiest food available. Our range includes fresh organic milk (packaged in returnable glass bottles), natural yoghurt, cream, cheese and butter.
We firmly believe that organic farming principles not only take care of the environment, but also produce healthier and tastier food. Skills of true natural farming, with no need for artificial inputs of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals are highly valued on Elgaar Farm. Our products are manufactured using only time honoured methods using only the absolute freshest and best ingredients.
Elgaar Farm has, over the years, received many prestigious awards and medals:-
- “Best Organic Farm in Australia” at OFA Sydney 2001
- Champion Cheddar ASCA (Australian Specialist Cheesemakers Association)
- several gold and silver medals at ASCA, Royal Hobart, Royal Melbourne
- various other fine food shows, in recognition of our passion to provide you with premium organic produce
It’s an organic dream for Grace, Susan, Jennifer and Ella. It’s back to pasture for these gorgeous, dewy eyed girls who spend their days in the fresh Tasmanian air with the wind blowing through their hair.
Grace, Susan, Jennifer and Ella are Jersey cows, part of a herd reared organically by Josef and Antonia Gretschmann at Elgaar Farm, near Deloraine in northern Tasmania. The Gretschmann’s arrived in Australia in 1986. Joe was born into a famil of dairy farmers in a Bavarian village where every farmer made their own cheese. Both Joe and Antonia have studied conventional agriculture and initially farmed that way when they took over Joe’s parents’ farm. But they soon switched to organic methods, “it slowly dawned on us that if we kept farming that way we’d keep depleting resources and polluting the ecosystem,” says Joe. “And it didn’t feel right not being able to allow the kids to play in the cropping paddocks because they’d been sprayed.”
The Gretschmanns bought Elgaar farm soon after arriving in Australia and immediately set about converting to a completely organic system of farming, receiving organic certification in 1991. Today Elgaar Farm’s organic produce ranges from milk, yoghurt and cream to mozzarella and hard cheeses.
The Elgaar cows graze in paddocks where grasses are mixed with herbs such as shepherds purse, self heal, chicory and Persian clover. “Organic farmers love them as they have a greater ability to search for nutrients in the soil, so the cows produce tastier milk,” says Joe. Like all the farm’s crops, the pastures are never sprayed with artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
The Jersey cows that graze on this green smorgasbord clearly thrive on the farm and enjoy a surprisingly long life. Any ailments are treated with homeopathic remedies, and the Gretschmanns pride themselves on the fact that it is ten years since they last had to call a vet – even then that was just help with a difficult birth.
The average Aussie dairy cow is sold off after five years of milking, but Elgaar’s work for up to a decade. Once they are deemed too old for milking duties, retirement means grazing the paddocks for the rest of their natural life, though they still front up for the twice-daily milking routine – old habits die hard. According to Antonia, one of their cows lived to 38.
During the winter months, milk is limited because many cows are “dried off” to calve in spring; there is only enough milk left to satisfy the regular demand for the farm’s fresh milk, cream, and yoghurt. Elgaar Milk is pasteurized, but not homogenized like most supermarket milk. Consequently, a rich layer of cream rises to the top of each glass bottle’s neck. More than 90 percent of the old-fashioned retrurnable milk bottles are returned for washing, sterilization and reuse, which is extraordinary considering some customers are as far away as Melbourne and Sydney
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