Upper Moutere, New Zealand
You could be forgiven for thinking Little River Estate cheese and dairy is produced in the small town of the same name on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. But in fact, the Little River Estate brand calls Tasman home and its’ products are made in a dedicated factory on Neudorf Rd, Upper Moutere, the same facility that produces the multi-award-winning range of Thorvald Sheep Milk cheese and yoghurts.
The Little River Estate brand was born out of necessity when repeated droughts caused the eventual drying off and forced sale of the ewes supplying Thorvald with sheep milk. While Thorvald now has a new source for its’ sheep milk, at the time things were rather dire and the decision was made to utilise the idle factory and venture into cow’s milk dairy production using locally famous Oaklands whole milk.
The milk from Oaklands A2 herd is exceptional and their commitment to the environment, animal welfare and waste reduction via re-fillable glass bottles fit well with Little River Estates’ own values. Little River will continue to look at ways to improve its’ packaging while maintaining the measures required for food safety, practicality, food miles, cost, convenience, and other factors.
But where did the name come from?
It started over 18 years ago in Dec ’02 when Sue & David (the owners) came to Nelson to be married. While on their honeymoon here they found and purchased a lifestyle block that remains the family home to this day. To convince Sue to move, David sold the virtues of Nelson weather, touting the highest sunshine hours, moderate climate, and not too much rain. But as fate would have it, their re-location in late May ’03, was followed by one of the wettest June’s on record and a little (actually sizeable) river was seen running through their now very soggy property. The name Little River Estate was quick to mind and registered for the soon to be established vineyard.
Unfortunately, the vineyard was un-economic and the vines were removed some ten years later. Fast forward to 2017 and their new cow’s milk dairy venture needed an identity. The unused name was perfect and Little River Estate was given a new lease of life.
Little River Estate dairy produces arguably the best yoghurt, sour cream, and halloumi available along with a wide range of cheeses including their trophy-winning Brie de Moutere, stinky Wildfire, Aged Swiss, the distinctively orange coloured Tasman Blue, and more. Plus of course, seasonal or limited offerings like chardonnay-lees infused Bliss, fluffy light Cumulus and Full Monty, a medium soft cheese aged in Montepulciano grape skins.
For the record, Little River does not use any preservatives, fillers, thickeners, stabilizers, sweeteners or other unnecessary additives in any of their products. All products are hand-made using traditional methods with no compromise.
The Junction- Urban Grocer is proudly home to Little River Estates’ entire range as well as Thorvald cheese and dairy, which you can taste and purchase seven days a week.
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