• Inga

Good News for a Change: Sustainably Farming Sheep@Awassi Queensland

Let me introduce myself briefly. I am Inga, a Senior member of the team at Enviroblog.net (https://www.enviroblog.net/contributors)

During one of my latest travels in Australia, this time South East Queensland, I visited the “Awassi Cheesery”, where the traditional Awassi sheep (Awassi sheep originated in the Syro-Arabian desert) are bred and loved. Located in the beautiful Lockyer Valley, the Awassi Queensland property is a hidden gem. Settled within the tranquil Helidon Hills and surrounded by Avocado groves, the natural ambience of the property lends itself to the gentle movement of the Awassi.


The owner's statement: “Our mission is to honour the true heritage and the breeding integrity of the Awassi, to produce 100% sheep milk cheeses and dairy products. We love what we do - living our cheese dream - we look forward to sharing our dream with you. Customers will visit our farm and leave as friends.”



The Awassi evolved as a nomadic sheep breed through centuries of natural and selective breeding to become the highest milk producing breed in the Middle East and one of the highest in the world. It is a fat-tailed type and is multi coloured; white with brown head and legs (sometimes also black or brown). The ears are long and drooping. Awassi is an extremely hardy breed, with a very calm temperament, used for a range of products including milk, meat and wool. They have unique physiological characteristics such as resistance to many diseases and parasites, walk long distances over pastures for grazing, tolerate extreme temperatures and enduring adverse feeding conditions. They easily adapt to different environments from their origins of desert sheep. For more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awassi

Awassi Queensland continues to develop the amazing breed of the Awassi sheep to Australian conditions practising sustainable farming.


What is Sustainable Farming? Sustainable farming or, in a broader term, Sustainable agriculture is using farming practices considering the ecological cycles. Sustainable farming means producing food, fibre, plant or animal products without harming natural resources and land and considering social responsibilities such as working and living conditions of farmers and workers, the needs of rural communities, and health and safety of the consumer both in the present and the future.


Fun Facts about Awassi Sheep

  • Awassi is one of the biggest dairy breeds in the world (1.75L per day compared with 1L per day in other sheep).

  • Lactation is 200 days instead of 100 in other sheep

  • Sheep milk is higher in fat, protein and total solids than goat and cow milk, so is, therefore, higher yielding.

  • Most sheep milk is used for cheese and yoghurt

  • They need shearing twice a year.

  • Awassi produces carpet type wool

You’ve heard about milking cows, you may even have had a go at it… have you ever milked a sheep before? No, then Awassi Cheesery got a treat for you. They milk daily and derive from this amazing milk Australia’s No1 Awassi Sheep milk cheese; milking only takes place in the morning, the rest of the day milk is provided for their lambs and the mum’s have plenty. This is also part of sustainable farming.

Next time you come to the farm, why not be part of the process of creating something special.



Passionate Cheese Maker - Di Piggott

Di’s dream from conception to inception was to be a producer of fine food, and not only bringing the best produce to exclusive customers but sharing her passion with passionate cheese lovers. Many a night was shared around a plate of cheese and fine wine with her husband David where her dream became their dream, which developed into their reality. They love to share their beautiful farm with their customers, more importantly excited to educate and engage customers about the Awassi farm experience.


Di’s attraction to cheese began when she was a young child sitting on her father’s knee eating cheese, eating it ‘like a piece of cake’. It’s not surprising that she would eventually go into a small dairy production albeit later in life. Being a Third-Generation Dairy Farmer and Second-Generation Cheese Maker her love for what she does is in her veins. From the paddock, to the milking parlour, to the cheesery, every little nuance throughout the entire process is completely overseen by her own two eyes. Di is a boutique artisan cheese maker, and her life revolves around the different ways to take cheese to the next level.


Di and David are passionate Aussie farmers, who work hard to produce the finest quality products for their customers, this means choosing the absolute best milking breed in the world (the beloved Awassi breed). To produce the best and unrivalled cheese, Di and David have considered the highest industry standards in every aspect of creating their unique product. They continue to develop the amazing breed of their Awassi sheep to Australian conditions. As the herd grows, the purpose-built cheesery, milking parlour, and farm outlet within the beautiful Lockyer Valley is at full production and welcoming guests to share in their beautiful farm.


Di and David’s desire is for their customers to be excited with their cheese and to enjoy the full experience of what goes into making handcrafted cheese. So, if you are crazy about cheese and want to come on the food journey and experience a truly unique product – Di, David and the Awassi sheep will be waiting for you to meet the cheese…




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REFERENCE

Awassi Queensland, Grantham, Queensland/Australia (visited 29.04.2021) https://www.awassiqueensland.com.au/