If you live, work or travel through the Waikato region, chances are high that you’ve found yourself Over the Moon. At Over the Moon Dairy that is – one of New Zealand’s leading artisan cheesemakers.
Over the Moon Dairy is Waikato-local Sue Arthur’s small business-dream come true.
“Nearly 13 years ago I was working in local government, in my mid-forties and really wanted to see if I was capable of, and could succeed, working for myself. My father worked for himself as a Pharmacist and so I’d been exposed to that lifestyle growing up. I’d always worked for other people and it was just me at the time, so I started to explore what I could do,” says Sue.
Content in the beautiful South Waikato region, Sue considered what she could do locally. A fondness for eating cheese and the abundance of farmers in the region producing a variety of high-quality milk products made the decision to go into cheese-making a winning one.
Award winning at home and around the world
Fast forward to today, and the Over the Moon Dairy is certainly winning. There’s a long list of accolades and awards from New Zealand and around the world praising the cheesemaker’s feta, camembert, brie, creamy blue, ricotta, manchego, and the list goes on.
“We create New Zealand’s widest range of specialty cheeses from the world’s finest ingredients – and locally sourced goat, cow, sheep and buffalo milk. We make over 25,000 kilograms a year and have a big commitment to developing and promoting New Zealand dairy using international research, development and innovation,” says Sue.
Over the Moon Dairy has a Putaruru base, where the main factory is and a retail store, as well as a Deli in Cambridge. It also supplies cheeses throughout New Zealand — but the story doesn’t end there.
The New Zealand Cheese School
Excited by her business idea, in 2005 Sue looked to hone her technical cheesemaking skills.
“I had good business skills, but I couldn’t find anywhere here that I could learn more about making cheese. Cheesemakers in New Zealand are largely self-taught, so I looked overseas. I found a course at the Gilbert Chandler Institute of Dairy in Melbourne and trained under Neil Willman,” says Sue.
Together Sue and Neil (now New Zealand-based and Sue’s partner)
also run The New Zealand Cheese School, above Over the Moon Dairy’s factory. They’ve filled a gap in the market.
In fact, it was through the school that Sue first met FMG commercial manger, Lucy Moss, who attended one of the many popular cheese-making classes.
An appealing FMG quote and Lucy’s ‘amazing’ service mean that Over the Moon Dairy and the NZ Cheese School are looked after by FMG. “There’s real engagement with FMG and Lucy keeps in touch with us which is why we really value the FMG service,” says Sue.
But wait there’s more…cheese
Sue is now the proud owner of the Cheese Cartel — a New Zealand business created to support small-scale farmers and artisan producers by delivering cheese subscriptions around the country.
“This is a really exciting next step.”
And Sue knows good cheese – not only her own but from around the world, having been invited, along with Neil to judge at the world’s most prestigious cheese competitions.