Sheep dairy is top class
SOME of the best chefs in the country have just recognised her cheese as top class, but Di Piggott is staying humble: "My costumers are my judges.”
Awassi Queensland's feta has made it to the state finals of the Delicious magazine produce awards for 2018.
Last year the cheesemaker won the state award for her labneh, a yoghurt-based spread similar to cream cheese.
The awards, now in their 13th year, showcase the best produce from Australia and producers can only be nominated by chefs.
Ms Piggott has been breeding awassi sheep for four years now and produces artisan, hand-crafted cheese from their milk.
She wants to get people to understand that sheep milk is a fabulous alternative to cow's milk.
"A lot of people go 'Oh, so can you milk sheep?' and we go 'You can milk any animal' - but in Europe a lot of the cheeses are made from sheep's milk.
"They've been milking sheep for thousands and thousands of years, so it's sort of something they've always done.”
Ms Piggott is a passionate cheesemaker and chose the awassi breed for its milking potential, saying the milk was beautiful to work with.
"Sheep's milk is already naturally homogenised, so the fat is spread throughout the milk and it's proportioned beautifully.”
Awassi Queensland has 160 ewes split into two flocks.
By splitting the herd, Ms Piggott says they can lamb the flocks on alternating seasons and produce milk all year round.
"We wanted to do it for the whole year, so we can produce cheese 12 months of the year.”
Big plans are afoot for Awassi Queensland, with the 64ha farm preparing to one day open its doors to the public.
Ms Piggott hopes to have groups come to the farm to show them the process of milking and turning the milk into cheese and other products.
She says she wants to share her passion for cheesemaking with the public and encourage families to make the journey to the Lockyer Valley for a weekend trip.
"The whole idea is to have people come and sit and relax and learn about the cheese, because we're so passionate about it.
"And I think it would be good - people can sit and communicate for the hour and a half's drive to the Lockyer, because you don't get that anymore.”