John Fairley makes the best yoghurt! The absolute best! And when Local Sprouts discovers a local gem, it is our duty to share it with all of you. Katie tries to get to Eveleigh Market often and early to visit Ester’s Team for some Country Valley goodness.If you’re outside of Sydney, it is highly advised you figure out where you can get your very own piece of Country Valley. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.
LS: Tells us a little bit about yourself!
JF: My name is John Fairley and I am a sixth generation dairy farmer. In 2004 I started a company called Country Valley Milk, where we process milk, yoghurt and cream on the farm. I own the dairy which is 120 hectares and milk about 90 cows twice a day, everyday.
LS: What makes you tick?
JF: What makes me tick is providing good quality products to as many people as I can, locally. I also like to develop my staff for when they move on to bigger and better things.
LS: Any special details Local Sprouts readers should know about you?
JF: Country Valley products win many awards at the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Show. The biggest prize is the Presidents Medal, which we won in 2008 with our natural yoghurt. This award is based on the quality of my product as well as the triple bottom line of the business of Country Valley.
LS: Where is your local community and what do you love about it?
JF: My local community is in Picton just an hour south of Sydney. What I like about Picton is the closeness to Sydney, 40 min to the beach at Wollongong and 40 min to Bowral in the Southern Highlands. This is where I grew up and have lived for the last 50 years. I lived on a farm up in the end of the Valley and I now live only 100 m away from where I was actually bought up.
LS: If you were showing someone from out of town around your local area, where would you take them?
JF: If I had a visitor from out of town, I would first of all show them around the farm. I would then take them to R Coffee, which is my favourite coffee shop in Picton, for a morning tea. I would then take them out to Burragorang Valley lookout where we can look out over the Warragamba Dam. On the way home I would drop into a family friend of mine Mark Silm, and have a look around his orchard, which produces Cedar Creek Apple Juice. I would buy my visitor one of his juices, which is the best juice around. I would then take them to the George IV Hotel where we would sit on the veranda and have a beer and some food for lunch or dinner.
LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you and your work?
JF: Local has many definitions to many people. Local to me it is the Picton area, but then I go to Sydney where I sell a lot of my products, they all call it the local area. The Sydney basin could be the best definition. We sell our products in Canberra, and even they call me local.
LS: Hidden local gem?
JF: I don’t really want to expose our hidden local gem because then it will not be hidden.
LS: Well played, John!