Project Local: Meyer's Cheese

21 May 2024

At Volare Bread, we take pride in partnering with local artisans who share our passion for quality and community. Recently, some of our staff had the pleasure of touring Meyer’s Cheese, a local gem in the Waikato. From their commitment to animal welfare to their deep-rooted traditions and innovative sustainability practices, Meyer’s Cheese embodies the values we cherish at Volare. Read on to hear what our team had to say about this enlightening experience.

Origins and Evolution of Meyer's Cheese

Meyer’s Cheese began with the vision of Ben and Fieke Meyer, who brought their passion for artisanal cheese making from the Netherlands to New Zealand. Their journey started in a small Dutch village and eventually led them to the fertile lands of Waikato in 1984. Today, their children carry forward this legacy, upholding the Meyer ethos of diligence, authenticity, and tradition in every wheel of cheese.

Honouring Cultural Heritage

Meyer’s Cheese is not just about producing cheese; it's about preserving a family legacy. The use of their family’s traditional brine, passed down through generations – much like our Sourdough starter has been – adds a unique touch to their Waikato Cheese. This blend of heritage and craftsmanship results in a product that is both rich in flavor and history.

We were also fascinated by the evolution of their facilities, how the buildings have transformed over the years, from family living quarters to modern cheese storage and packaging areas. This blend of history and progress resonates with our own journey, where growth and expansion are intertwined with family values and traditions.

A Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability is a core value at Meyer’s Cheese, driven by the founders' long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship. By sourcing milk from their own farm and local suppliers, they minimize energy use and transportation emissions. Their self-sustaining practices, including on-farm water management and waste treatment, create a closed-loop system that reduces their environmental footprint.

During our tour, we also learned about their one cow per acre ratio, which ensures efficient grass growth and ample feed for the cows. We first learned of this method when we toured Kaipaki Dairies a few years back. It reduces competition among the herd and promotes a healthier environment. Additionally, Meyer’s Cheese constantly innovates to manage waste and tackle environmental challenges, often collaborating with neighboring farms to optimize resources.

Commitment to Animal Welfare

By far one of the standout aspects of our visit was witnessing their high standard of animal welfare. Our team was impressed by the meticulous care given to the cows, from grazing in lush pastures to their comfortable milking areas. This commitment not only ensures the health and happiness of the animals but also contributes to the superior quality of the milk used in their cheese production.

The Cheese-Making Process

A harmonious blend of tradition and precision, each day begins with the farm team getting milk, which is then meticulously processed by the cheese makers. Using the same culture since 1976, natural rennet coagulates the milk, forming curds and whey. The curds are carefully molded into traditional cheese wheels, pressed, and aged to perfection, ensuring a product that is rich in flavor and texture.

The Best Part Of The Tour?

Getting to try the cheese of course! And now you can too. We are very excited to announce the launch of TWO new cheese toasties in all of our stores today. So head to your nearest store and try either of our NEW toasties – the Vege with McClure's Pickles or the Tender Braised Beef – which are both oozing with melted Meyer's Cheese.

The Journey & Looking Ahead

The journey of Meyer’s Cheese has been marked by both challenges and triumphs. Managing a growing business is no easy feat, but the family’s dedication to excellence and tradition has been a constant highlight. Sharing daily meals with the founders, who still live on the farm, adds a personal touch to their professional endeavors.

In the process of building a larger cheese factory to meet growing demand and expand their product range, the future is bright and exciting. This new facility, the fourth built by the Meyer family, promises to carry their legacy forward, supporting their commitment to quality and tradition for years to come.

Our visit to Meyer’s Cheese was not just an educational tour; it was an inspiring journey into the heart of a family business that values tradition, sustainability, and community as much as we do at Volare. We look forward to continuing our partnership and sharing the delicious results of their hard work with you.

For more information about Meyer’s Cheese and their extraordinary products, visit Meyer’s Cheese.