The cheese is
Jindi Brie, made by the Ronalds family in the lush dairy district of
Jindivick, Gippsland, east of Melbourne. The founders of Jindi Cheese,
George and Bev Ronalds, have a long involvement with the Youth for Christ
movement, as does their son Andrew, managing director of the company and a
member of the Belgrave Heights Convention council.
Earlier this year, Jindi Brie was crowned
World Champion Cheese at Wisconsin’s biennial
World Championship Cheese Contest, the world’s premier cheese and butter
competition. More than 1,100 cheeses and butters from 19 countries were
entered, and panels of judges spent several days evaluating them, and
awarding medals in 37 categories. On the final day all the gold medal
winners were pitted against each other, and Jindi Brie emerged as the best
of the best.
The cheese is made by hand from creamy
milk that is rich in butterfat, sourced mainly from Jersey cows from the
Ronalds’s own farm and from four other farms in Jindivick. Jindi Brie has
become one of Australia’s most popular white mould cheeses. It is also
exported to Asia. The company has grown substantially since it started in
1985, now employing nearly 60 people.
Though managing director of the company,
Andrew Ronalds does not call himself a cheesemaker. “That would be an insult
to the cheesemakers who work for us,” he told me.
He has strong views on the role of
Christians in business.
“So much Christian work is with the
downtrodden,” he said. “But there is also a mission field among the
successful. In my job marketing our cheeses I meet lots of highly
successful people. There is an important role that Christian business people
can play in witnessing to such people. They may not be hanging out for God,
but there is a God-shaped vacuum in their lives.”
He also thinks it important that he use
his business expertise in Christian work. “If God gives you skills – in
whatever area – you should use them for His glory. Running a business
teaches you all kinds of skills, and I feel it’s important to use them to
help others. So I have served on boards of Youth for Christ and the Belgrave
Heights Convention. Leadership skills are needed in the Christian field.”
And the award for best cheese in the
world? “I always pray for God’s blessings, but I never expected this. It was
nothing short of phenomenal.”
September 6th, 2002