Environmentally responsible and animal-friendly artisan cheeses of the Wairarapa, Kingsmeade, have created a range of cows’ milk cheeses since 1998. Janet King chatted with the team about bringing in a specialist cheese maker from Italy and plans for the business moving forward.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

"We opened the business in 1998 when we began milking sheep; among the first in New Zealand to do so. We are a husband and wife team with a vision to create and supply sheep milk cheese as an alternative for the New Zealand public. We later expanded the range to include cows’ milk cheese. All our cheeses have local names which give them a regional identity Wairarapa."

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

"Sheep milk products are quite unique both in composition and flavour. Our cheeses are made from vegetarian rennet and are well tolerated by those unable to eat cows’ cheese. We are working with AG research on a number of projects around the burgeoning interest in sheep milk."

Has there been any recent company news?

"We have recently brought in a highly skilled technician/cheese maker from Italy. He is a specialist in soft cheeses and is currently doing experimental work with the very different Southern Hemisphere cows’ milk. He will begin production with the sheep’s milk in September when milking the sheep is again in full swing."

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

"Plans for the business moving forward are to treble our cheese manufacturing and to look at export in two years."

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

"Our products are sold in specialty stores and a few selected supermarkets throughout New Zealand. All businesses look for new markets, and we are no different."KM72 KM57 KM51