In the Winter of 2017, Tongola Cheese moved to Leap Farm. Read on to find out more.

History of Tongola Cheese

  A Swiss Tongola

A Swiss Tongola

Tongola was started in the late '90s when Hans Stuz and Esther Hausermann left Switzerland for the hills overlooking the Huon River in Southern Tasmania. They purchased 16 acres and set about gradually transforming the land into a home for themselves and their small herd of Swiss Toggenburg does. They slowly and gradually built their herd numbers, dairy and cheesery from the ground. 

Hans and Esther had spent many summers in the Swiss alps, living in tongolas (little huts), where they would graze the farmers' cows on the alpage (summer pasture) and turn the milk into cheese - cheese being much easier to transport than milk, with a much longer shelf-life.  The skills they developed over the years came with them to Tasmania, where they set about turning fresh goat milk into swiss-style cheeses. And so Tongola was born.

 

 

  Esther milked the cows....

Esther milked the cows....

  ...and made the cheese.

...and made the cheese.

  Matured the wheels...

Matured the wheels...

  ...and Hans carried it downhill!

...and Hans carried it downhill!

Fast forward many years, and the demand for Tongola Cheese outgrew Hans and Esther's capacity. In order for Tongola to remain viable, something had to change. Around the same time, Iain and Kate Field had made contact with Hans and Esther to enquire about purchasing some goat does in order to start their own cheese enterprise, located on the other side of Hobart at Leap Farm. 18 Toggie kids were purchased, and Leap Farm was populated with its own small herd. 2 years later, the girls had their own kids, and milk was produced for Tongola on Leap Farm. As Iain delivered the milk to Tongola, he became the junior bucket-washer, but took the opportunity to learn the skills and tricks of handmade Tongola Cheese. And as the demand for Tongola cheese has only increased, the natural evolution was for Tongola to move to Leap Farm, so that the adventure could continue.

 

About Leap Farm

In 2011, Iain and Kate Field made the decision to leave the big city and seek a more simple life (little did they know), returning to Tasmania to start making cheese. But of course, to make cheese, you need milk, and the only way that they felt they could guarantee quality, happy milk was to run a herd of goats and milk them. They purchased 300 acres of land in the stunning Bream Creek region of South-eastern Tasmania, populated it with cows in calf and acquired the first 18 kid does from Hans and Esther. Follow the link here to Leap Farm's website if you'd like to learn more.

  The view from the top of Leap Farm, looking out over Marion Bay.

The view from the top of Leap Farm, looking out over Marion Bay.

 

About Iain and Kate

Iain immigrated to Tasmania from the UK in 1996 to pursue tertiary studies, and found himself shortly thereafter working as a biologist on Macquarie Island. Inspired by the wildlife, Iain pursued a PhD in ecology. After his PhD he was awarded various post-doctoral fellowships in the Northern Territory and New South Wales. In 2011, both Iain and Kate were making cheese in the kitchen at home. Disillusioned with life in a big city, they dreamt of making cheese that everyone could enjoy, and at the same time were able to realise their long-standing dream of sustainable farming, producing quality, ethical food.

Kate moved to Tasmania in 1997 to pursue a medical degree. After graduating she was able to explore a diverse range of opportunities around Australia and complete speciality training in Emergency Medicine. Kate now works part-time as a consultant Emergency Physician at the local tertiary hospital, a short commute (by mainland standards) from the farm.

Iain and Kate purchased and moved to Leap Farm in the height of winter 2012. Since then there have been many lessons learnt (often more than once) and an amazing new skill set that has been acquired. Not to mention 2 extras in the shape of Hamish and Zoe (not named after the cheese, more an accidental coincidence). And so life of the farm continues, busily, as they enter the realm of making Tongola cheese.