Tasmania's dairy products are well-known as some of the best, and Ashgrove Cheese has cemented itself as the cream of the crop.
The Elizabeth-Town dairy producer claimed its title as one of the best producers in the nation, after five of its products won gold medals at the recent Sydney Royal Food Awards.
Ashgrove Cheese general manager Richard Bennett said it was testament to the hard work of its staff, and was also a by-product of Tasmania's extraordinary conditions for making milk.
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"We are fortunate to live in one of the best locations for making milk, and it shows in our products," Mr Bennett said.
"But we also have really hard-working staff who are passionate about what they do."
Mr Bennett said the awards were great recognition for his cheesemakers and other dairy staff, who have been working diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The products that won gold medals at the award are: the herb and garlic butter, the full cream milk, the farm gold milk, and signature cheese varieties Eddington Farm Vintage Cheddar and Lancashire.
It has also been a year of literal transformation for Ashgrove, with its visitor centre at Elizabeth Town completely demolished to make way for a new visitor and interpretation centre.
Mr Bennett said the $2 million rebuild, which has been about five years in the making, was still on track to be reopened in April.
"We are still looking at an April reopening, which we are really excited about," he said.
The build was scheduled for over the summer as the uncertainty of the pandemic and border closures had resulted in less tourists.
However, Mr Bennett said with the easing of borders, there had been some return, and they'd had to turn people away.
"Because we're on the highway we're quite visible, so we're still getting traffic come up into the car park, and we have to break the news that we're not open," he said.
However, he said all staff were looking forward to the reopening, which would create an entirely new immersive experience for visitors to the factory.
Dairy operations remained unchanged during the build and visitor centre staff were redeployed into other parts of the business.
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