Two dairy farmers meeting the demand for milk after floods

ABOVE: Julia Curtis holding a bottle of the fresh, farm milk they are supplying to Casino, Kyogle and South Lismore. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

In the aftermath of the flood, bread and milk have become important commodities.

With delivery trucks from Brisbane delayed, dairy farmers Shane Hickey and Julia Curtis have stepped up to get milk to as many places as they can.

Their home delivery service Hickey Food Service usually delivers fresh milk, feta cheese, yoghurt, mousse and even cheesecake in glass jars to the local area.

In the past few days, they have widened their delivery service and are taking milk to Dave’s Bakehouse in Kyogle, Lemos in Casino and Skimmos in South Lismore.

They can’t keep up with the demand from their own cows so have enlisted their neighbour, dairy farmer Lawrence Faulks as a milk source.

“300 litres of Kyogle Milk will be at Dave’s Bakery at around 11.30am then 300 litres will be taken to Casino, then back again to process more milk for Kyogle,” Shane said.

“Our dairy farmer said to me this morning – ‘Three years of drought nearly broke me, and now the mud’,” Shane said.

“This is the reason we pay him 50% more than the big processors.”

The milk cost more and is processed at the Hickey farm on Lynchs Creek Rd. Then it has to be delivered. Fortunately, roads to Casino and Lismore from Kyogle are now open.

“We’re pasteurising as fast as we can,” Julia said.

“It takes 12 hours from cow to bottle.”

Everyone wants milk at the moment.

“You need a cup of coffee in the morning,” Julia said.

Dave’s Bakehouse in Kyogle is flat out making bread.

Yesterday, Thursday, March 3, was the first time the bakery had to impose a buying limit on bread.

“We are trying to feed age care homes, hospitals, childcare centres, evacuation centres and thousands of people in the community,” the bakery posted on their Facebook page.

“Dave baked for 30 hours straight and we have done the best we can for today.

“For those of you that were in store today when things got a bit heated, I apologise but we are trying to be  fair for everyone.”

Two tons of flour arrived today and the bakery will be  busy doing what it does best – baking bread.

“Shane Hickey has been doing and outstanding job to get us what milk he can. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.”

Food trucks are expected to arrive today to restock Kyogle Ritchie’s IGA supermarket.

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