THE decision to establish the Hunter’s first camel milk farm wasn’t predetermined, but rather an idea that stemmed from a simple conversation with a friend, says cameleer Michelle Phillips.
And, since then, the Muswellbrook-based business has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.
Camel Milk NSW last week claimed two medals at the prestigious 2018 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce competition.
The humble small business secured silver for its pasteurised camel milk, which scored 17.5 from the judges.
They also managed to snag a bronze for their Halloumi, which accumulated 16.67.
“We were definitely excited to receive medals at the Sydney event,” Michelle says.
“Last year we claimed a gold and silver in Queensland’s major competition.
“We were absolutely stoked with that.
“This year was the first camel milk competition for NSW and there was a lot of good competition which is always good to see.”
The quirky farming venture began in 2014 with just 11 camels, which Michelle and her husband saved from the abattoir.
Now the farm is home to a herd of 70.
“Running the farm has been extremely challenging because the camel milk industry is still so young,” Michelle says.
“But, the industry is growing and we’ve learnt a lot along the way.”
For Camel Milk NSW, a large portion of their clientele include those with a lived experience of conditions like autism, cerebral palsy and anxiety.
Some research has shown that camel milk might be helpful for people with such conditions as it can increase the bodies' production of antioxidant enzymes thereby lowering oxidative stress within the body.
Though much of this research has insufficient evidence and as a result is not widely acknowledged.
Nonetheless demand for the commodity is continuing to grow, as is Michelle’s product line.
Starting off with just milk, Camel Milk NSW now encompasses skincare, cheese and clothing, with the additions of farm tours and sunset camel rides coming soon.
In the meantime, the Phillips family is happy to simply soak up their Sydney success.