The Crooke family have spent the past decade making some of the country’s best premium rich, velvety ice-cream, using milk from their own Holsteins, and a splash of inventiveness.

Story By Sue Wallace

Sarah and Stephen Crooke can vividly recall sitting at the kitchen table years ago trialling a much-loved family recipe for cumquat ice-cream. A decade on, that same recipe is one of Gundowring Finest Ice Cream’s flagship products, made specially to celebrate the 10-year milestone of their company.
The couple had been busy dairy farmers on their 400-hectare Gundowring property in north-eastern Victoria’s tranquil Kiewa Valley, that had been in the Crooke family since 1945, when they started looking for a new challenge. After much research into how to value-add to their milk production, they undertook an intensive ice-cream-making course at Pennsylvania State University in the United States of America in 2001 and embraced ice-cream production.
But not just any ice-cream. They wanted to make premium, rich, velvety ice-cream from the pure creamy milk produced by their herd of 420 Holstein cows, with flavours inspired by local seasonal produce.
In 2003 they converted a milking shed on the property into an ice-creamery and started producing top-quality ice-cream with flavours from liquorice to toasted honey and walnut. Word soon spread, with ice-cream lovers queuing up for their creamy fix at regional farmers’ markets and their latest flavours featuring on menus of top restaurants.

This story excerpt is from Issue #94

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2014