Less than two hours from Brisbane's CBD and less than half an hour to some of Queensland's most popular surf beaches, the Sunshine Coast is fast becoming a "foodie" mecca.
With well-known brands including Maleny Cheese, Maleny Dairies, Maleny Food Co, Woombye Cheese, Kenilworth Dairies located in the region, it is becoming known for its quality dairy products. Other larger processors including Norco and export processor Richmond Dairies have several dairy suppliers in the area.
Popularity and support for boutique food brands is on the rise; more and more retail outlets are opening and seeking out quality foods that are locally grown and manufactured. It is important that farmers, processors and local and state governments work together to support and grow the popularity of the region's dairy industry. We are fortunate to have an enthusiastic and supportive regional Sunshine Coast council which has founded the Food and Agricultural Network. Coming up also is The Curated Plate - a three day food extravaganza on the Coast from August 9-11 showcasing local produce from the region.
Dairying and boutique dairy brands are not new to the Sunshine Coast region. Last week, we celebrated 120 years of known dairying in the region at the recently re-opened Maleny Cheese Factory with a number of current and retired dairy farmers.
Many of these farmers have multigenerational connection to dairy farming in the area, while others have recently joined the industry. This community within a community remains well connected and supportive of the dairy industry.
The Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation continues to assist both farmers and the independent dairy processors in the region. Maleny Cheese and other processors have been in discussion with QDO and are planning to be some of the first brands to be able to proudly display the much anticipated Fair Milk Logo which will provide consumers with a easy way to identify the brands paying a fair farmgate price to its farmers.
We are looking forward to working as a community to grow the dairy industry on the Sunshine Coast and to celebrate and prosper together.