In this instalment of The Produce Index, Richard Cornish discovers why Gippsland Jersey, a small, independent dairy in East Gippsland, punches above its weight in a milk sector dominated by foreign-owned dairies.

What is it?
Gippsland Jersey produces a range of pasteurised dairy products made from Jersey cows’ milk, including bottled milk, low-fat milk, and an unhomogenised line, and it’s also packed into 10-litre bladders for cafés and hospitality. Some of the milk is separated to make cream by spinning the milk. The heavy water soluble components such as lactose, minerals and protein are flung to the outside of the separator while the lighter-than-water cream makes its way to the middle. Some of that cream has cultures added to it, such as lactic acid bacteria, to make slightly sour but delicious crème fraîche. Some of that cultured cream is churned in a big tumbler causing the fat globules to come together to form butter. After the butter is made, the remaining sour liquid is called buttermilk – perfect for making pancakes or marinating chicken for deep frying. Gippsland Jersey also makes a fresh soft-serve mix from milk, cream, and sugar, which is sold in 10-litre bladders. A collaboration with food suppliers Friend & Burrell will see a cultured truffled butter hitting the shelves later in 2023.

Who makes it?
Back in 2016, Gippsland locals Sallie Jones and business partner Steve Ronalds, both from dairy farms, were appalled at the low price dairy farmers were getting for their milk from the large, mostly foreign-owned milk processors. “As the daughter of a dairy farmer, I saw the effects that low milk prices were having on farmers and I saw that something needed to be done,” says Jones. “We wanted to ensure the mental health of farmers by making sure they knew the result of their hard work was being valued. So we paid them more than the big processors.” They launched Gippsland Jersey at the Warragul Farmers’ Market three months later.

Where is it made?
Milk is collected from four farms in Drouin, Jindivick, Rokeby, and Poowong and trucked to a factory on Jones’s family farm in the hills above Lakes Entrance.

Why it’s different
Jersey milk is richer and smoother than your average milk. The Gippsland Jersey herds also naturally produce A2 milk, which is considered easier to digest for some. Gippsland Jersey milk is also handled carefully, using gravity instead of pumps to move the milk from tankers to the processing facility as vigorous pumping can lead to lipase: an enzyme that breaks down fat and leads to rancidity. Gippsland Jersey also has a caravan that is a regular at festivals and farmers’ markets from which you can buy milk, cream, cultured dairy products and 1970s-style thickshakes.

Who’s a fan?
Before he opened Oko Café in Melbourne’s CBD, barista Danny Nguyen tasted and tested 14 different brands of milk to find the perfect drop for his new venture. “I was looking for a milk that had a sweetness and would give me a smooth, creamy texture,” he says. “Gippsland Jersey always came out on top.” Josh Taylor from Tinto Bakery in Shepparton uses Gippsland Jersey sheet butter to make his croissants. “We really wanted a Victorian butter,” says Josh. “It’s absurd that we buy packaged butter from France, considering we produce so much here. So when we found a butter producer whose values aligned with ours – we like how Gippsland Jersey works with their community and their farmers – it was a no-brainer. We also like the flavour the cultured butter imparts into the croissant.”

Get yours now
Gippsland Jersey milk is stocked by selected Coles and Woolworths, while the cultured products are available, along with milk and cream, in food stores and grocers across the state. Gippsland Jersey also attends the Warragul, Bairnsdale, and Paynesville farmers’ markets in Gippsland. Online orders are delivered to homes and businesses all around Victoria.

Order online at

By Richard Cornish