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Food and beverage stories

Ashgrove to build dairy Mecca

Edition 192_Cow

Ashgrove Cheese plans to create a major food-tourism drawcard at Elizabeth Town after securing a Regional Jobs and Investment Packages grant from Canberra.

The business received $565,000 and will invest $620,000 to construct and fit out a $1.19 million state-of-the-art "dairy door" and visitor complex.

Other grant recipients include:

  • Forager Foods of Red Hills – $75,675 towards a $151,350 specialist food powdering and packing facility;
  • Hemp Harvests of Red Hills – $405,500 to help build an $811,000 hemp-seed processing facility; and
  • Kentish Council –  $800,000 towards building the $1.6 million second stage of the Wild Mersey Bike Trails project.

Ashgrove's Project Manager, Anne Bennett, told The Advocate that the proposed visitor complex would help the dairy producer to capitalise on its position in the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail.

Ms Bennett said: “[The grant] enables Ashgrove to really bring forward a flagship project that we’ve had on the cards for two years.

"It will develop the Ashgrove Cheese shop into an iconic northern Tasmanian tourist destination.”

The new centre will almost double the footprint of the existing shop and factory with experiential, retail, food and outdoor areas linked directly to the farm.

“We are going to bring the farm alive inside the building, using technology like virtual reality, augmented reality and cow tracking,” Ms Bennett said.

Company Chairman, Paul Bennett, said: “The planning has already started. We’ve drawn up plans and will be underway as soon as council and government criteria have been met.”

The project will create 40 construction jobs and add 14 full-time equivalent roles to Ashgrove's operations once it is complete.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator, Jonathon Duniam, said: “I am pleased to see this program backing people who are taking a risk by putting their ideas into practice, investing in their community and creating much-needed jobs in our regions.

"These projects all build on Tasmania’s strong reputation in offering fine produce and experiences."

Ashgrove Cheese, whose raw milk is sourced from farms within a 7km radius, returned from the recent Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show with a swag of medals.

Ashgrove won gold for its homogenised white milk.

The company collected silver medals for its non-homogenised white milk; low-fat modified milk; herb & garlic butter; Emporium trio cheese selection; and Havarti infused with jalapeno.

Ashgrove won bronze medals for cloth matured cheddar, waxed matured cheddar and plain Havarti.

Ms Bennett said the 12 medals ranked Ashgrove’s Tasmanian dairy products among the nation's best.

“The Royal Sydney, alongside the Hobart Fine Food awards, is one of the most important agricultural shows," she said.

"People can see the quality of our products. Judges conduct a sensory test for taste, texture and the look.

"Ashgrove prides itself on not cutting corners,” she said.

Ms Bennet said awards recognised the quality of the raw milk produced in north-west Tasmania as well as the quality of the company's end products.

“It’s a testament to our team’s work,” she said.

Image courtesy of The Advocate

8 March 2018, Edition 192

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