Posted on

Open day picnic review

The Farm Picnic day went well.

The day was blustery and cool so we think that deterred people but the experience was still fun for those that came. We had lots of complements on the cheese being delicious.

Everyone enjoyed holding the baby Kids. The girls helped here and where great. The Boys helped on the farm trail and everyone helped get the farm ready so Wow! Spring cleaning all done!

The farm looks great even the wisteria is in flower, usually eaten by now by Crimson Rosella’s! It was a great trial run and we hope to develop the idea so more families know about it. Anyway check out the photos below on it when you get time and give us any suggestions or feed back.

If you have a group that wants to visit the farm please contact us via email or phone and organise a time. We would love to have you. You might be travelling past please drop in, call or email if you want make sure we don’t miss you!

Posted on

Jannei goes to Melbourne!!!

After much preparation and arrangements getting cheese shipped out for delivery to the Australian Specialty Cheese Awards judging at Werribee for Friday the 24th of August and to the Cheese Show public tasting at Ormond Hall near Prahran Melbourne for the 25th August Neil and I (Janette) headed off to Melbourne for a three day stint !

We left frost and ice bitten Lidsdale ,Tim to care for the kidding goats and the Factory dormant awaiting our return . I had spent time preparing flyers and business cards and had used the” Wow” word as a prominent theme for the flyer . It was ironic because after the three days it was a WOW time we had…(and I will up date the flyer with more Wows ha!)

We had wow fun as we learnt to navigate the Tram, Bus and Train System with our Myki Cards sooo… exiting , and on a cheese level with another achievement for the Buche Noir which made for such a moral boost and excitement at the wards dinner in Fitzroy!

We stayed in a lovely apartment , had some date dinners together , did some valuable marketing talking to retail outlets, attended the Awards Dinner and had some well timed help from close family at a massively packed cheese show in which we where able to clear out most of the stock we took.

Gracing our stall apart from our super new pull up sign designed by Nick, our web site manager ,was our most recent trophy of the night before! We entered 7 cheese styles of which two achieved Gold awards in the soft curd section, the fresh curd and the Noir. The judges take the top 6 or so cheese in each category and give them a point score . This means the majority of cheese entered don’t know how they went at all unless they get a high score and even then it’s only if you get gold or win the section that you find out how you went.
As very small cheese makers we always find this difficult because we need to know how we are grading to be able to improve .

Luck has had it though that we do very well with our soft cheese. We had others in the hard cooked section, the marinated section, the textured section and the white mould section. People tasting on the Saturday loved our cheddar , agreed the fetta was a solid lower salt healthy cheese, devoured all the white moulds and approved of the exquisite curd and so on!
We pulled out cheese from sale stock to go down as we had no surplus at this time, to take, as it’s the end of winter and goats are only just kidding,, but it was well worth it!

We learnt a lot on the public cheese tasting day and while travelling around Melbourne . Its a great place because the small deli is still in demand and there we found lots of cheese and checked out what everyone else in our small industry of -farm made cheeses was doing . Our new slogan at the show on our sign was; “Quality from our farm to your home”! Which we hope you will agree it is. We spoke to business owners who where very keen to take on our cheese so I have lots of follow up to get on with! We found that Jannei still had what it takes and its given us that power boost we need, as being so small it often feels like you are up against too much competition.

Hope you enjoy the pictures , our news update and our cheese..
Cheers from Janette at Jannei Goat Dairy.

To read the full report click here and download the pdf!

Posted on

Spring? In the air?

Well here are the first photos as promised! The girls are kidding and they think its spring, even if the humans are seriously still shuddering when the sun goes under a cloud! But we guess they know best.
Jannei goat dairy - goats
These photos of a doe and her kids, was the third doe to  kid , the two kids on their own came the day before and at the stage of the photos we had six kids in total but since the sleuth photographer was freezing her butt capturing this doe just after kidding, there have been over a dozen mothers dropping  two a piece!.

The doe in the picture was busy licking away for 30minutes and didn’t allow one kid to suckle until both where ready, it was very interesting to watch. By the end of this afternoon Neil and I brought in six babies to the top pens. Two more does had kidded that meant Ten! Kids are brought in  to keep them out of the way of foxes and the cold night air. If you don’t bring them in the does could loose one to a fox as they don’t seem to be able to protect both kids at once!
Jannei - Australian goat cheese producers
The farm hand , Tim,  is busy every morning  now bringing in kids and taking does up to the bales ready to learn the routine. Kids and mums have to camp near the milking bales so that they can be monitored. Udders need checking and milking out and after 10 days or so the does are let out with the main herd During the day kids are kept safe in pens until the does come back  in the afternoon when they are penned and fed.

There are probably 30kids now!

Jannei Goat Dairy will soon be open for Spring Sales. Milk supplies will improve next week and whole sale orders will begin filling again. In September the Dairy opens for three days a week instead of the one day Monday through winter.

Jannei will be open for 8 months for  Friday’s, Saturday’s and Monday’s at this stage we are starting slow and as we go hope to get staff and structure in place for farm direct sales! We try to have the kids available for children to see and feed grass to and get a photo with during September to February.

Watch this space for more photos and updates of the kids they look so cute!

Posted on Leave a comment

A fresh start

Fresh start

Natural: Jannei Bent Back Chevre. Photo: Jennifer Soo

A couple’s rural sea change involving goats, cheese and hard work is paying off, writes Lisa Pryor.

Many of us dream of throwing in our urban existence in favour of a gentler pace of life. We may think of moving to green pastures, cultivating an olive grove, tending a vineyard or creating a boutique produce business.

If you’re searching for a relaxing rural life, whatever you do, don’t choose goat farming. You could find yourself slaving away in your dairy until midnight, as Neil Watson does, perfecting the latest batch of chevre cheese.

Or you could lose sleep devising new ways to extend the milking season of your flock, or improve the production process of your range of boutique cheeses, just like his wife Janette.

It’s not an easy life but it’s the life the Watsons chose for themselves 13 years ago when they moved from the North Coast to a 14-hectare farm at Lidsdale, near Lithgow.

The couple’s Jannei Goat Dairy started out selling fresh curd, fresh milk and fresh-pressed chevre. The dairy has since moved on to matured cheeses as well, such as cheddar, chevrotin and goats’ milk camembert.


The Watsons’ hard work and sleepless nights are paying off. Slowly. This year they won three gold awards at the Royal Easter Show. Their stand-out product, the ash-caked Bent Back Chevre, was blessed by the judges with a mark of 99.3/100.

And they have high hopes for this year’s Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association awards in Melbourne, where they have won gold before.

“If you win something down there people pick up on it and your image improves. People come looking for us,” Janette says.

The Jannei business is a truly boutique operation, processing milk from a herd of 100 goats at the painstaking rate of 20 litres per 3kg of cheese. The small-scale approach allows attention to detail. “The milk comes from the goat and is turned straight into cheese,” Janette says. “There are no stabilisers and preservatives. It is natural, clean and sold quickly.”

Jannei cheeses have a loyal following, especially among French expats longing for a taste of home, like one man who lives in Bathurst. “I saw him the other day. He drove 40 minutes from Bathurst just to get the cheese and then go home again. He was desperate,” says Janette.

Tasting and buying Jannei cheeses from the dairy door is a worthwhile diversion if you’re holidaying in the Blue Mountains, or heading to Mudgee. The farm is open from 10am-5pm each day except Sundays and Wednesdays.

However, Sydneysiders can enjoy the fruits of the Watsons’ labour without trekking to the mountains. Once a month, Janette makes the winding journey from Lidsdale to Sydney, arriving at Pyrmont where she sells her wares at the Good Living Growers’ Market.

At other times, head to the Simon Johnson stores in Woollahra or Pyrmont.

“They came to us many years ago when they were starting out,” says Simon Johnson. “At the time there were players [in the goats’ cheese market] in Victoria but there was nothing in NSW. We were very keen to have someone locally produce a goats’ cheese for us.”

The close proximity of the dairy means Sydneysiders can enjoy fresh goats’ cheese at its peak. “Because it’s a local product, it gets to the market so much quicker, so it’s very fresh,” says Johnson.

And the best Jannei cheese according to Johnson? “I love their fresh curds but I also like some of their more mature cheeses. It comes down to personal preference.”