Farm Fresh South’s growing demand drives business expansion

Farm Fresh South has just launched its range of milk and yoghurt products into the wider South Island market. The venture has been supplying to the lower South Island for some time but demand has seen it significantly gear up production. “It’s a huge step for the company and will more than double our production,” says owner Logan Johnson.

Neither Logan nor wife Melissa grew up on farms but were encouraged into the dairy industry via a ‘Dairy for Life’ ad on TV. “It was kind of false advertising; in reality, it’s more like dairy is your life,” jokes Logan. After three years in farm assistant and herd manager roles, they took the next step into contract milking and spent five years milking between 650 and 750 cows. They then purchased their farm – 21 hectares at Woodlands where they run a herd of 40-50 cows, milking 30 at a time. They calve and dry some off of the herd every three months and milk year-round. The milk from their farm is sold as raw milk.

“Raw milk is natural unprocessed real food. We wanted to be able to share that with others. A lot of customers say it has a better taste and is easier to digest as it has a lot of beneficial enzymes and bacteria.” When shops and cafes wanted to use Farm Fresh South milk, this led to the development of pasteurised milk to meet health regulations. The Johnsons now also buy milk from a nearby farm to meet demand. All Farm Fresh South products are bottled at the Johnsons factory on their farm.

“We recognise that there is a growing demand from consumers to know exactly where their food comes from, what’s in it (or been taken out), who makes it and that it was made in a natural and sustainable manner,” says Logan explaining the huge growth of their business. “We farm following organic principles, although we are not Certified Organic, and in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner.”

Melissa and Logan Johnson are ramping up production of their Farm Fresh South milk and yoghurt products.

“By purchasing milk from Farm Fresh South, people are making an environmentally conscious decision that will have a positive effect on our planet for generations to come.”

Yoghurt was added to the product range last year: “If yoghurt says it contains milk solids in the ingredients list, it means it is partly or fully made from milk powder. Our yoghurt is simply fresh milk, culture and nothing else. Because it’s set in the jar, it has a nice thick consistency. With our full milk yoghurt, some of the cream rises to the top, so you get a thin layer of cream yoghurt on top of the yoghurt as well.”

The Farm Fresh product range today includes raw milk (sold under the Farm Fresh South Raw Milk brand from the Johnsons’ vending machine at the farm and home delivery over all of Southland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Central Otago and Dunedin) and products under the ‘Logan’s’ brand including pasteurised whole milk, trim milk, double cream, cream top yoghurt and low-fat yoghurt.

From covering all of Southland, Queenstown, Wanaka central and up to Dunedin expansion now sees the products available South Island-wide. All products are in reusable glass bottles. Some cafes, hotels etc will also have the ability to reuse bulk containers that accompany their exclusive milk taps.

“Plastic milk bottles can take around 500 years to decompose. Glass reusable bottles can be used thousands of times before being fully recycled and made into new glass products. By purchasing milk from Farm Fresh South, people are making an environmentally conscious decision that will have a positive effect on our planet for generations to come.”

Although Logan still milks most days with Melissa or Daisy, 17, their daughter filling in as needed, this is about to change as they are seeking to employ someone to help as the business grows. Son Charlie, 17, also helps out on the farm. The Johnsons are starting plans to build a new factory to meet production demands.

Currently with a capacity for around one million litres of milk a year, Logan envisages the new factory will be able to process 25 million litres. He hopes it will be operational by 2025 / 2026 as they have their eyes on expanding their market areas as well and are also developing a new product due to launch later this year.

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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