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09/07/2018
 Killowen Yogurt

Congratulations to Killowen farm yogurt who have recently been awarded the Wexford Green Business Award, Wexford Food Producer Award and the overall Wexford Business of the Year Award at the Wexford Business Awards 2015.

The Dunne’s have been farming in the parish of Courtnacuddy for ten generations and there is nothing they don’t know about dairying. 

 ‘We go for glass jars as it’s a dessert yogurt, it has that sense of luxury it’s a real treat’ says Pauline.


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‘Our blackcurrant yogurt received 3 stars in the www.greattasteawards.co.uk and we have won gold at Blas na hEireann awards, so our yogurt speaks for itself’

‘We have been supplying Ferrycarrig for 10 years. If they get stuck for yogurt in the hotel we can deliver it to them, this is a major plus for staying local and using local producers.’

Pauline brought me on a tour of Killowen yogurt.

Tell us about the milk that is used for your yogurts?
‘Killowen are the only yogurt producers in Ireland that can say only the milk from our farm is used in our yogurts, there are no colourings, no additives and no preservatives so it is a very clean yogurt and that’s the way we want to keep it’

Tell us about the fruit that you use in your yogurts?
‘We source fruit locally to use in our yogurts. We get our rhubarb from Kehoe’s farm, Des Jeffares supplies our blackcurrants and we use Wexford strawberries’

Do you use cream in your yogurts?
‘We add cream to our Greek style yogurt. It's 6% fat, so it’s nice and creamy’

Tell us about an average day here in Killowen farm.
It’s an early start. We start at 7am in the morning, all of the packing machines are prepared and then we are ready for 8am when we start production and the packing of the yogurt.
My brother Nicholas is our dairy farmer. Every morning the cows are milked and the milk goes directly in to our yogurt plant. When cows are being milked the milk is at their body temperature which is about 37 degrees so we bring the milk up to boiling. We pasteurise the milk and add skim milk powder to thicken the yogurt we add cultures and that’s all we add so that’s our natural yogurt. For our sweet yogurts we just add sugar and fruit.
 

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After the cows are milked in the morning everything is cleaned out thoroughly and then we will get ready for their evening milking. Sean is our farm manger and he is in charge of milking the cows.

We make it in the morning and then it is left overnight and the yogurt is packed the next day so Monday’s milking is packed and delivered in yogurt on Tuesday so it’s as fresh as can be.

Talk us through the packing area.

The fact that there are no preservatives in our yogurt the packing area has to be cleaned thoroughly every single day. From the ceilings to the floors and all of the bits of equipment Steven looks after that for us. Yeast and mould are in the air and they attack yogurt so we have to be very careful and make sure that everything is perfect.

Everyone wears hair nets, white coats, shoe protectors and are constantly washing their hands, it’s so important.

The guys that are in the room with the yogurt wear red hats so we can distinguish everyone’s working areas’


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The glass jars are kept in cardboard boxes so this is why they cannot stay in the same room they must be fed through the conveyor belt for hygiene reasons. Jason is in charge of feeding through the empty glass jars which are kept in a separate room to where the yogurt is.

 

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The jars go through a conveyor belt then the fruit is deposited in to the empty jar and then the yogurt goes on top. The lids and labels are put on manually; we then pack the yogurts up and leave them to chill. When we are filling the jars with yogurt they would be approximately 10 – 12 degrees but nothing leaves here over 4 degrees so this is why it must be chilled over night before we send it out to the Ferrycarrig Hotel and Monart.

What temperature is this room kept at?
The chilling room is kept at 2 degrees so all the yogurts spend a night here, this room is filled with glass jars and 1 litre, 2 litre and 10 litre tubs of yogurt.
 
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The producing of yogurt is a huge team effort. If there is one person missing everything is upset. We have to work on a very tight workforce but we have fantastic staff. It’s the very same as in the hotel business you always need all hands on deck.

How many cows do you have here?

We milk 160 cows every morning and evening all year round. Our cows are only in 2 or 3 months of the year other than that they stay out all day. The cows feed off the Irish green grass here.

‘Our cows are very nosey, they’re great characters’


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What is the most popular yogurt flavour?

Strawberry yogurt is still the most popular yogurt, and we are so lucky here in Wexford to have such fresh strawberries on our doorstep’

‘Tony (Head Chef - Ferrycarrig Hotel) has always been great to us and he is great for supporting local producers in Wexford’

‘We are 10 years in business and a lot of our customers say I was staying in the Ferrycarrig hotel and I tried your yogurt, I’m living in Tipperary where can I find it? It’s fantastic when local business' work together ’

 http://killowen.ie/

 

‘’Here in Ferrycarrig hotel and Reeds Restaurant we are delighted to be working with fantastic local producers around Wexford delivering great food from great people. With our unique location we guarantee a superb experience at Reeds Restaurant where perfect taste flows’’ Derek Coyne (General Manager Ferrycarrig Hotel)