The New Zealand Specialist Cheese Association has presented Whitestone Cheese founder Bob Berry was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the country’s speciality cheese industry.
Bob started his working life as a stock agent before taking over his own farm. He and his wife Sue started Whitestone Cheese in 1987 in an attempt to overcome the ag-sag.
We were privileged to be at the company’s 25th anniversary celebrations and listened in admiration to the story of how the company started and grew. Whitestone now supplies delicious cheeses to outlets throughout New Zealand and has a growing export market.
The company has been a consistent winner in cheese awards since the early days and in last night’s Cuisine Champions of Cheese awards notched up another two wins – the Vintage Blue won the Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award and the Whitestone Range won the Caspack Champion Cheese Packaging Award.
The Oamaru Mail reports:
The company’s flagship cheese, Windsor Blue, has won more awards than any other cheese in New Zealand. Whitestone Cheeses have also been included in gift packs at the Oscars after-parties in the US.
Whitestone Cheese attributes its success to the use of locally sourced ingredients, including rich North Otago milk and traditional cheesemaking techniques.
Earlier this month son and general manager Simon Berry told the Oamaru Mail his father was often still on the road promoting the brand.
“Bob will never retire. He’s a bit like an old farmer; always tapping away at his fences,” he said.
He also acknowledged how Whitestone Cheese had become a proud North Otago institution, creating plenty of regional pride among his workers and the wider community.
“There is a bit of a culture of pride. We’re up there with the world’s best and we’re just from little Oamaru.”
The pride is justified, the cheese is delicious and most of it is named after North Otago localities or geographical features.
You can find out more about the company and order cheese online here.
If you watch the TV ad on the front page, you’ll hear Bob and get an idea of his passion for his cheese.
The full list of 2012 Cuisine Cheese champions is here.