With the help of local talent and produce, two Mendooran residents have turned dreams into a reality with their new cheese making business.
Blue Sky Cheese is a small cheese factory making Castlereagh Camembert and Pepper Tree Feta.
Creators Pip Archer and Deb Kiem currently make three kilograms of cheese per week in the commercial kitchen at the Mendooran Showground.
Pip Archer and Deb Kiem met through working at the local Show and found a connection through cheese.
Pip dreamed of making her own cheese for a long time and even did a course in Mudgee, but said it’s hard to start a business on your own.
Fortunately the two women formed not only a business partnership, but a friendship too, and after planning took off, Blue Sky Cheese was up and running.
“We get on very well, we’re on the same page in everything, which is great,” Pip said.
The business launched in December 2018 at Mendooran’s Black Gate Distillery with over 150 people in attendance.
“It seems to me when you really want to do something the Universe conspires to help you,” Pip said.
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“Every single thing we‘ve done has been local”, Pip said, from finding single-source dairy, Little Big Dairy, in Dubbo, to a local artist who painted their logo, and their graphic designer who helped with labels, which are printed in Orange.
“We have had extraordinary help through extraordinary directions and everything has fallen into place….”
Pip said the response has been amazing and Blue Sky Cheese is set to rapidly expand in 2019.
“Deb and I have a permaculture way of looking at the world, our ethos is evident in our environmentally friendly packaging and selling at markets where we are able to tell our story and share our vision,” she said.
Pip said it’s incredible to see what is being produced in Mendoran, and other rural towns too.
“I think small towns are really going to come into their own in the near future. They are poised to grow,” Pip said.
She encouraged anyone wanting start their own business to give it a go.
“Creating industry in small towns and supporting small business is key,” Pip said. “Quite frankly, if we can make cheese in Mendooran, you can do anything!”
Pip said in this new, expanding culture of Makers Shed’s and Small Artisan Factories, it’s only limited by your own imagination.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have a local food and creative trail that will draw tourism and industry to the Central West? We have so much to offer,” she said.
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Blue Sky Cheese has had extraordinary help from the Warrumbungle Shire Council and the DPI, Pip said.
“We had a three month time frame until our launch date and we all worked together to achieve it,” she said.
“The community has been totally behind us, which was evident at the launch... where 150 people turned up to taste our cheese, including the Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton.”
The girls are currently creating their new product, a semi-hard blue cheese, aptly named Beni Blue, which will be launched at the Dunedoo Markets in March.