The Man Behind the Milk: Hermann Schulz
We’re proud to be part of a lineage of dedicated farmers here at Schulz Organic Farms. The first part of our story starts with Hermann Schulz, who fled from East Prussia to West Germany in 1945, where he started his career as an apprentice farmer.
After finding love and marrying in Hamburg in 1954, Hermann and his new wife, Marlis, migrated to Australia in pursuit of greener pastures. Over the next few years, they took various positions across Victoria until an opportunity arose to manage a property known as Wonga Park at Gellibrand River in the Otways.
In 1970, Hermann and Marlis purchased some acreage in the region that was known as Clancy’s Hill. They worked hard to scrape together enough money together (including emptying their children’s money boxes) to purchase the 244-acre dairy farm in Timboon. Along the way, they’d grown their family to include three children.
From 1972, Hermann and Marlis, together with their eldest son Michael, ran the farm as a biodynamic farm. Due to a downturn in the dairy industry and having little money to purchase chemicals required for conventional farming, the Schulz family had little choice but to adapt their farming practices to match their resources.
Biodynamic principles weren’t foreign to the Schulz family, as Marlis had worked in an organic grocer back in Germany and Hermann had always held an interest in the health food industry. Hermann “The German” became known for his innovative farming practices in Timboon. He introduced electric fencing to the property and would share his research on European farming practices in discussion groups with interested farmers.
During the early 1980s, farmers were seeing low returns in dairying, and Australia was simultaneously importing millions of dollars of specialty cheeses from Europe. Hermann wanted to figure out a way to enhance the Australian dairy industry, and a comment by the president of the United Dairyfarmers spurred on an idea- to start producing cheese!
Hermann and Marlis hired an old retired German cheesemaker, Hans Siegfried to help them in their new venture. Under his guidance and with a bit of trial and error, Hermann learned how to make cheese on his verandah. After three months, he sat his cheesemaking license and began building his own farmhouse cheese factory in Timboon.
It was here he turned his hand to producing ten different types of cheese, including some of the products we still make today, like our Quark!
Hermann set the bar for us at Schulz Organic Farms- with a spirit of hard work and innovation we’re honoured to uphold today.