Our journey in Australia started in a sunny November in 2014 when we arrived in Brisbane to study English as a second language. We thought back then that we could speak some English and very soon we realised we couldn’t. In 2010 our lives took an unexpected turn and due to the political situation back in Venezuela we had to apply for a Protection visa which was granted in October 2011.
Rosselyn and I had both been trained as qualified Vets in Venezuela and it facilitated the process of finding our first job in country Queensland as farm hands on a beef cattle property. Without being aware of it, this job set the foundations of farming for us in a new country filled with opportunities. In 2012 we decided we wanted to work in closer relationship with animals and found our first job in the dairy industry in northern NSW. We worked there for a couple of years and it was how our passion for dairy farming started. We then moved to South West Victoria for 6 months to another farm to then return to the same farm in NSW for 2 more years. It was already January 2016 when we moved to the Hunter Valley in NSW to take on another job as dairy 2IC couple and in July we moved to the amazing Tasmania’s North West.
We fell in love with Tasmania from the time the plane was landing. We could not believe our eyes; how beautiful, green, and fresh it was. We came to manage a dairy farm on the edge of the Tarkine area, surrounded by the mighty Arthur River and thousands of hectares of bushland. The wildlife was sensational, you could even hear the Tasmanian devils fighting and growling at night.
After two years, we moved to Edith Creek and embarked on a whole new journey as share farmers, something that we had considered for a long time and had been preparing and training ourselves for. The experience was sensational; we put a great effort in it and took pride in what we had been able to achieve in that time frame.
In April 2020 we were awarded the prestigious 2020 Fonterra Dairy sharefarmer of the year Award which we received with honour and joy. It was a great satisfaction and achievement for us and those around us.
Over all these years we had been making some Venezuelan-style cheese at home, all considerably basic and without much technical knowledge. Early in 2019 the idea of making cheese commercially came to our minds and we started experimenting at home but soon enough, just like our English level when we arrived in Australia, we realised that we knew nothing about cheesemaking. We had identified several incredible opportunities in the industry and one was that we were in the prime dairy area of Tasmania and what better way to celebrate than turning that milk into beautiful local cheese that could attract tourists to the area and boost the local economy and development.
I enrolled in a formal course at the NZ Cheese School where the fantastic Australian cheese maker Neil Willman taught me the fundamentals of cheesemaking. From the minute I started, I fell in love with the art and realised that a new passion had grown inside me. All the technical aspects of the process involve a great deal of science and having a science background became extremely helpful and advantageous in some way. Having undertaken this sort of training broadened our vision and understanding of cheese, allowing us to widen our trials, resulting in a diverse range of cheese to be produced in our facilities.
Later in 2019 we founded La Cantara Artisan Cheeses. This name translates to a stainless-steel milk can in Spanish and it essentially represents our origins and the traditional aspects of the dairy industry. We also joined the Australian Specialty Cheesemaker’s Association where we met a number of inspirational and supportive cheese makers, including the internationally recognised consultant Ivan Larcher who has also been a huge support to us in this Journey.
We are overly excited to now be able to create and share this part of our journey with you and take you through a tasty experience.
Genaro, Rosselyn, Gabriel and Diego
Our Farm and Factory
We are located in Smithton, Tasmania, In the very heart of the dairy region of the state. We lease and operate a state of- the the art 75 cow robotic dairy. The farm consists of some 29 hectares right on the edge of town where we milk a herd of mixed breed cows. The operation focuses on two main calving seasons during Spring and Autumn, guaranteeing continuous milk flow and composition throughout the year.
We thrive to employ the best farming practices, treating our girls with respect and consideration, feeding them the best quality feed possible, being fresh grass the main source of feed. Visitors have the opportunity to come and experience the full cycle of our operation from a designated ample viewing area. You will be able to closely see how the cows get automatically and voluntarily milked, play with the scratching brushes and if you are patient and lucky, they may come to you for a head scratch.
From the same viewing area, visitors can turn around and see how that fresh milk is turned into different varieties of cheese from fresh to aged and soft to semi hard. People can also see the cheeses in the maturing rooms and witness the different stages of maturation and characteristics of them.
For more information on the farm tours and bookings, please visit www.duckrivermeadowsdairy.com.au
Where to find our products
Perry's Quality Meats - Smithton TAS 7330
The Arty Duck - Smithton TAS 7330
Providore 24 -Stanley TAS 7330
Lemon Tree Providore - Wynyard TAS 7325
Wynyard IGA - Wynyard TAS 7325
Hill Street Grocer - Devonport TAS 7310
Hill Street Grocer - La Trobe TAS 7307
Hill Street Grocer - Longford TAS 7330
Bread and Butter - Launceston TAS 7250
Salamanca Fresh - Kingston TAS 7050
Hill Street Grocer - Sandy Bay TAS 7005
Hill Street Grocer - West Hobart TAS 7000
Hill Street Grocer - New Town TAS 7008
Hill Street Grocer - Lauderdale TAS 7021