The farmers of Pyengana in North Eastern Tasmania have been handcrafting traditional cloth matured farmhouse cheddar for over 130 years. Pyengana Dairy continues this tradition as custodian of the traditional recipe and heritage vats that have been used in Pyengana for generations.
The tradition of making cheese on farms in the Pyengana valley dates back to the 1880s. Several farmers in Pyengana brought techniques from their European heritage to create cheese during peak production months in spring and late summer that would last all year. The first cheese factory in Pyengana was established in 1890’s, becoming a cooperative in the 1900s and continued operation until the 1950’s. When it closed many locals having learnt the art of cheese making continued to produce cheese on family farms.
Pyengana Dairy was founded in 1992 by Jon Healey, a fourth generation dairy farmer in Pyengana, who wanted to continue the tradition of making cheese on farms and Pyengana Cheddar was born.
Today, Pyengana Dairy is a proud member of the TasFoods Group and the tradition continues with cheese produced to the recipe that has been used by Pyengana farmers for generations and in vats that have been used in the valley for decades.
The cheese is then matured In a traditional cheese cloth In a cave like environment under the Farmgate café. Natural air ventilation is used to draw cool air 1 km down an underground tunnel to maintain a consistent temperature and an ideal environment for maturing cheddar cheese. There, they are aged for up to two years to develop the bold, earthy flavour for which Pyengana Cheddar Is now famous.
Pyengana Cheddar is renowned as one of Australia’s most awarded cheeses. Its unique flavour comes from the high quality ingredients, centuries old bespoke method of production and traditional maturing techniques. Pyengana Dairy uses a recipe that has been passed down and refined by generations of farmers in Pyengana. This involves working the curds by hand to encourage flavour and create a superior texture.
Each batch of cheese is graded to determine how long the cheese is matured. As the cheese gets older it develops a stronger flavour. Only the finest cheeses go on to become Pyengana Reserve Vintage Cloth Matured Cheddar. Pyengana Traditional Cloth Matured Cheddar is aged for 12 months prior to release for sale whilst the Pyengana Reserve Vintage Cloth Matured Cheddar is matured on to 24 months of age prior to sale.
Pyengana Dairy products are crafted from milk sourced solely from Pyengana where the cows graze on fresh lush pastures all year round that result from the clean air, rich soil and water flow from two rivers. This predominately grass fed diet provides for rich, creamy milk that is not only great for making award winning cheese, but is so good that we had to bottle it so that everyone can enjoy it’s delicious flavour.
The onsite dairy uses a robotic milking system which allows the cows to come in for milking whenever they are ready. This creates a low stress environment for the cows and creates the ideal environment for high quality milk production. The milk is located within 100m.
Pyengana Cheddar and Pyengana Real Milk have collected a cellar’s worth of awards over the years which are testament to the care and hard work that goes Into creating great dairy products.