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About Evansdale Cheese

About Evansdale CheeseIt Started with a Cow

Every story has a beginning and Evansdale Cheese has a story. It begins in 1978 with the Dennison family cow that produced more milk than the family could use. The excess milk was distributed amongst friends in the Waitati community. This led to discussions of others getting a cow and pooling the milk to produce cheese.

By the time the first factory was built on the Dennison property at Evansdale not everyone was still on board with the cow idea. This meant the first milk used for cheese production was from dairy farms in the area, milking for Cadbury's. A cottage industry was born and, using 150L of milk / day, the first cheese, 'Monterey Jack', was produced. "It was a terrible cheese," remembers Colin, but through trial and experimentation 'Farmhouse Brie' came about and is still popular today. This cheese is also the basis for the smoked cheese 'Tania Smoked Brie' and 'Laurel', a special soft brie.

Evansdale Cheese was the first small cheese making factory in NZ and from the beginning had strong local support producing local food and being a local business. Business growth saw them in four different programs on national television in one year and also featured on the cover of the Air New Zealand magazine. In 1997 the factory moved to their present site at Hawksbury Village where they now use 1,500L of milk/day, produced locally and supplied by Fonterra. The milk is delivered raw and pasteurised on site. Colin's son, Paul, is now the cheese maker and factory manager.

Their cheeses are sold throughout the country to supermarkets and restaurants. All Evansdale cheeses are free from preservatives and calf rennet. There are 20 - 30 varieties and Colin finds farmers markets a good way to trial new products, get feedback and make contacts. The factory entrance has been newly painted and the picket fence is very welcoming. Inside a viewing window into the curing room complements the display of cheeses for sale.

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