SECOND MOUSE CHEESE CO
SJ Pienaar, Owner/Operator
We are located in Orange, NSW, and started making cheese in April 2013. Our milk comes from a farm local to the area.
How did you get started in the industry?
I started to be interested in making cheese 8 years ago after a course at the TAFE in Adelaide. My father and his family also had a small dairy and made fresh curd cheeses for their own consumption.
Tell us a bit about your cheeses
We make quark, a fresh curd cows cheese as versatile as yoghurt (not many producers make this short life cheese), a soft fetta and a marinated fetta, a camembert-style (trying to be as traditional as possible), a haloumi-style (less salty and firm but with a milky flavour than others), a soft washed rind called Frieda Roobie Blue (slighty more towards a mountain cheese than traditional blue).
What is your favourite part about being a cheese maker?
Collecting the milk from a farm - it means connecting to the animals and people involved in making the raw product. In the factory I still enjoy the moment when I cut the curd - it seems magic that a humble product like milk can give us such diversity.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Being a small operator we, my wife and I, need to be everything - maker, seller, marketing, bookkeeping ...
What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian specialty/artisan cheese industry?
A grand future, as being a young industry we can achieve what the wine industry in Australia did over a long period of time. A concern is the dairy industry moving even more into bigger operations not owned by local farmers any more.
What does being part of ASCA mean to you?
Being part of a network of real small producers trying to support and promote the craft of artisanal cheese making.