In the beautiful Burringbar Valley, just north of Byron Bay, sits a family owned business, Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Cheeses. Owned and operated by Rob and Sue Harnett, along with Rob’s sister Sue and husband Pete, the farm is the home to a dairy herd of over 100 cows which helps produce A Grade quality milk and gourmet artisan farmhouse cheese, butter and yoghurts.
“It’s a pretty good life, we can’t complain too much,” said Sue.
The Harnetts have been with Summerland for over 20 years and during that time they’ve been lucky enough to have the same Business Development Manager, Kaylene. “It is pretty special as she knows our business since we first started,” said Sue.
“When we decided to go down the path of an agri-tourism venture, where we built a cheese factory, a retail outlet and a café, we got the plans drawn up and got Kaylene to come and see us. We sat on the veranda and went through the business plan we had – she was really supportive from day one” said Sue warmly.
“And there were a lot of unknowns then, where we had no idea of some of our costs. Kaylene helped us do a budget, and she did say ‘you’ll blow the budget from the start’, which we did,” laughed Rob.
“But it was nice to have that warning in advance. We were prepared for it when it happened,” added Sue.
The couple emphasised that had Kaylene and Summerland not taken a chance with their business, they wouldn’t be where they are today. “Summerland have definitely helped us grow our business. Through small steps, we’ve got where we are today.
“They gave us the options to move our business forward, even when we were going through hard times,” said Sue.
Nevertheless, Rob wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m really glad we’ve done what we’ve done and I am proud of what we’ve achieved together.”