When food is borne from pure passion, you know it’s going to be great. Case in point: Little Farm Goat Dairy. What started as Andrea Gauland’s passion for “all things cheese-y” has turned into a humming little business producing and selling an array of small batch, handcrafted, top-notch goat cheeses.
Ever modest, Andrea describes the development of her cheese making skills and the launch of her business journey as a combination of “trial, error, fortuitous circumstances and a dash of insanity”. Yet there is an art to cheese making, and Andrea has clearly nailed it.
At their little farm – Te Hua – in Oxford, North Canterbury, Andrea and husband Mike breed and milk the Toggenburg – a very old Swiss breed. Milking the goats on-site themselves gives Andrea and Mike full control over the whole cheese making process. From milking, Andrea applies the magic of cheese making to turn out a range of delicious goat cheeses which includes a creamy Chevre, a brine-aged Feta, a Manchego-style rind cheese called Quixote, mould-ripened varieties, a camembert style, a Caerphilly-like young cheese and a labneh dip.
Quite unsurprisingly, their cheeses are snapped up at the Amberley and Lyttelton Farmers’ Markets each weekend.
Why North Canterbury? When we emigrated to New Zealand nearly 20 years ago, from a small farm in Western New York state, we wanted to live within easy access to Christchurch. We kept drifting back to Oxford for its quiet country town feel. Oxford is more a destination than it used to be, having become a vibrant place in its own right.
What is your favourite thing to do in North Canterbury? EAT! So many wonderful eateries in North Canterbury, no need to go further afield. We also love the beaches and the farming communities, and all the lovely gardens which are open to the public at various times of the year.