There are two ways to buy Sellar Farmhouse Creamery products. Our business model is based on selling roughly 2/3 of our product via a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription model where people pay three months upfront for a desired quantity of dairy products (currently milk and yoghurt). They can then choose from one of the three pick up locations: Monday – Fryerstown, Wed – Castlemaine Farmers Market Weekly, or Friday – farm shop. See below for more details on the CSA orders.
We then sell the other third on a first-in-best-dressed basis at the Farmers Market. This acts as our buffer; some times of year there will be lots of milk, other times there may be none. The idea it to always be able to meet CSA orders and whatever is left goes to market.
The process for producing our milk is pretty simple and I certainly don’t like to take credit for it, that’s the work of our girls! We provide them food, they magically turn food into milk, amazing, I milk the cows, transport the milk to the factory, batch pasteurise at 63°C for 30min, bottle it and send it out to customers.
The flavour however is anything but simple! We run two main breeds in our herd, the Dairy Shorthorn who produce a savoury, complex, rich milk and the Jersey, who produce a thick, creamy, sweet yet simple milk. Together these ladies bring you a beautiful milk with cream on top which reminds most people of the way milk use to taste. The flavour and consistency will change throughout the year due to many factors; who I’m milking, time of year, stage in lactation etc
This one I do take a little part in the creation of. Our pot-set, natural yoghurt comes from the same beginnings as the milk, we then transform it with the use of heat, culture and time. Actually I don’t do much here either, it’s the work of millions of beneficial bacteria who convert the lactose into lactic acid for a thick and creamy pot-set yoghurt with a layer of cream on top. I’m just the factory manager really.
The ways to use this yoghurt are endless; straight from the jar, with fruit and muesli, in smoothies, in desserts, in dips, strained as labna, in cake icing etc
Castlemaine Farmers Market Weekly
The CFMW is held every Wednesday on the Western Reserve in Castlemaine. 3:30-6pm in Summer (Daylight savings hours) and 2:30-5:30 in Winter.
All milk and yoghurt produced over our standing CSA orders will be for sale here, $5 ltr for milk and $10 ltr for yoghurt. Both products come in a returnable glass bottle which has a $1 deposit paid on it.
CSA SUBSCRIPTION FAQ
What is a CSA?
CSA – Community Supported Agriculture, originated in Japan in the 70’s, started by vegetable growers as a way for the community to share the risk and rewards of farming. CSAs are a direct relationship between eaters and farmers. They take many forms around the globe now, but the basic principle is that the customer buys, up front, a share in the farmers harvest, this may be for a season, year, month etc.
How do Sellar Farmhouse Creamery CSA subscriptions work?
We offer one litre and/or yoghurt of milk for weekly collection as a share. You can buy as many shares as you need. To begin with, members sign up for four weeks, nominating which pick up point they would like. This helps to get a feel for how much milk they consume and whether the regularity is going to work for them. They then move onto a 12 week subscription. CSA members receive a significant discount per litre compared to customers who buy ad hoc at the market ($4.50 vs $5 ltr). The market supply always seems to sell out so is not a reliable way to buy your SFC milk. Throughout the year SFC will host events for members, such as farm tours and pot luck dinners. In return for your commitment, I, as the farmer get a secure sale which means I can spend more time farming. It allows me to plan my weeks sales more accurately which effects many on-farm decisions such as when to breed cows.
Are subscriptions still available?
We currently have a waiting list of at least 12 months for the CSA subscriptions. However if you don’t put your name down you will never get offered one so if this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then please add your contact details to the waiting list on the left of this page (in the menu bar if using phone). When product becomes available we will email you a subscription offer, unfortunately these sometimes get lost in peoples junk mail so keep an eye out.
What happens if I miss my pick up?
The Monday Fryerstown pick up has the luxury of collection any time after 7pm.
The Wedensday Farmers Market pick up can collect from the HOFC stall during market hours which are 2:30-5:30 in winter and 3:30-6:00 during daylight savings. If you know you are going to miss these times please contact me in advance to organise another pick up. If I know in advance then I won’t bother taking your milk to market. If you forget then please contact me to arrange another pick up. Any uncollected milk will be available to pick up from the Farm shop on Friday 9-1 – see note for farm shop pick up below.
The Friday Farm Shop pick ups can be collected from the farm shop fridge 9-1 Fridays. 69 Danns rd Harcourt, enter via the far left door on the big green shed.
I MUST know when you are coming for farm shop pick ups in ADVANCE. There are lots of us working up here at the coop and I am accountable for you while you are on the farm.This is why we try to have everyone come between these hours. If on occasion you are unable to collect during these hours please arrange another time with me so I know when you are on farm. Coming into fire season this will be even more important as we cannot have people popping in without notice.
What happens if I’m going away for a period?
If you know in advance you are going to be away please contact me to organise. If you are just away for a few days I may be able to organise your pick up a few days either side of your regular collection. The nature of the CSA is that I need a commitment from you that you will have a set allocation for the set period of time. If you are going away for months you may choice to not resubscribe however I can’t promise that your allocation will be available upon your return. If you know you are going to be unable to collect your share then my first suggestion would always be that you find someone else to collect it. I’m more than happy for you to on sell it to a friend while you’re away, as long as I don’t have manage it. If you do this please give the person filling in really clear instructions on how to collect.
What happens to my milk if I don’t collect?
Unless you have made prior arrangements with me, any uncollected milk by Saturday morning will be donated to someone in need at your cost.
How do the name tags work?
If you are picking up from Fryerstown or the farm shop your milk will have a name tag on it to avoid people taking milk which is not theirs as no attendant is there to help you. Please leave the tags there, place them on your returned bottle. This way I can keep track of who is returning their bottles and I can reuse the tags each week.
Can I increase my subscription?
While subscriptions are at capacity, if you are already on one there is the possibility to increase it by one or two if you need. Just let me know for the next time you renew.
Can I change my order mid subscription?
This kinda defeats the purpose of a standing order. I’d encourage you to wait until your next subscription goes through or try to on sell or gift to a friend. As a last resort, if you need to decrease the amount then let me know and we may be able to work it out, but this does take time for me to manage.
If you ever need to contact me email tessaatsellardairy.com.au
Returnable bottle FAQ’s
How clean do the bottles need to be?
Clean. Having a returnable bottle system is awesome! It’s such an amazing feeling each week when I unload creates of returned bottles and think how normally these would all be going in the bin. I do however spend up to 10 hours a week cleaning bottles and trust me, dirty bottles take a lot longer to clean. I’ll always be giving bottles a quick check, clean and sterilise at my end but I do require you to clean them out at your end.
I can not accept returned bottles which still have milk in them, this is a hygiene hazard to bring into my factory.
Please do not use SFC milk bottles for other purposes and return them.
Please only return intact SFC bottles.
How to wash milk bottles to avoid milk protein build ups?
As soon as you have finished your milk, rinse with warm water to remove the residue. Washing bottles immediately in water which is too hot actually cooks the proteins onto the glass, making it much harder to remove.
Main wash and dry.
1. Wash bottle with hot detergent water with a bottle brush if by hand or a dishwasher, taking care to remove all residue from the rim of the bottle.
2. Rinse all detergent residue off the bottles and leave upside down to air dry. Avoid putting lids back on while still wet.
What about lids?
Lids have a much shorter life than bottles. While I do reuse them, only if there is no visible damage or discolouration. So if you lose one that’s fine. The flip side of this is that I always have a large supply of lids which would be fine for home preserving but not bottling milk so let me know if you ever are in need.
Do I need to return bottles every week?
Yes! Every time you don’t return them, this means I need another fleet of bottles to cover the orders. The more bottles I have to own the greater the expense.
Thanks for helping us to provide a minimum waste, fresh, local dairy system!