Page 12 - Food & Drink March 2020
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RIGHT: Steve Ronalds and Sallie Jones are as passionate about dairy farmers as their milk (below).
Closely tied to the second pillar is the third, kindness. Looking out for each other and embracing your community are core principles for Jones and Ronalds.
Since the 2019-20 bushfires, Jones has been traversing Gippsland, promoting the region, its communities and businesses through Instagram. She’s inspired fundraisers, activities and live national television show crosses.
“Random acts of kindness are hugely awesome,” she says. “It’s the culture of our brand. Treat people how you want
to be treated and you can create change. No matter how you’re feeling or whatever your state of mind, if you treat someone
with some kindness it costs you nothing.
“Neither Steve nor I are financially motivated, much to my husband’s annoyance! We just love what we do and why we’re doing it. It’s not about money, it’s about looking after our dairy industry.”
In 2018 the pair ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to build a dairy facility. They raised $110,000 in three weeks. They also now have other farms providing milk.
“That’s our whole game, with growth we can bring on more farmers to supply milk and pay them a fair price. We put their faces on the back of the bottles and tell their stories. It shows
that they are valued and respected and they feel rewarded and celebrated.”
They have just received their certification to start making butter. “Honestly, jersey milk is just the best. My dad always said his secret weapon was his jersey milk. Butter making is a long process, but it is so bloody good!”
Jones is also in the throes of developing flavoured milks.
“It has to be awesome, none of the cheap rubbish stuff. We have this amazing milk, let’s build on that rather than stuffing it with sugar and fake flavours.”
In the last month alone, the busines grew 35 per cent.
It has grown 75 per cent year on year since it began.
“We are so tiny, like 0.1 per cent of the fresh milk market in Australia. But we are only limited by our imagination and our energy because Gippsland is Australia’s largest and best dairy region.”
When Jones reflects on the last four years, she says she’s not angry at her dad, that she wouldn’t have learnt all these things about herself and wouldn’t have created Gippsland Jersey if he hadn’t died.
“I’ve got good people around me and an amazing husband who is hugely supportive. I’m just very grateful. We haven’t pushed hard, if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Through all of it, everything has worked out.” ✷
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