04 Jun Have you ever experienced or tried Camel Milk?
Jeff Flood recently spoke with Denis Walter on 3AW Radio about Summer Land Camels story, and the benefits of camel milk including camel milk skincare for World Milk Day.
Denis Walter: Have you ever experienced or tried camel milk? World Milk Day is coming up on the 1st of June, and for the first time ever, milk consumers, experts and dairy producers from 35 countries will raise a virtual glass for camel milk. Sales in camel milk are growing. Interest is growing as well. We’re going to find out more about it. It’s both a standalone milk and an active ingredient in camel milk products. Jeffery Flood is CEO of Summer Land Camels. Jeffery, good evening.
Jeff Flood: Good evening. Nice to be on the show.
Denis Walter: Thank you for coming on the program. Where is Summer Land Camels situated?
Jeff Flood: We’re about 45 minutes just south of Brisbane in the beautiful Scenic Rim area.
Denis Walter: Lovely. Gorgeous part of the world. When did you get involved with camels?
Jeff Flood: I didn’t tell mum I was going to be a camel farmer, did I, when I was growing up?
Denis Walter: Or the careers advisor at your school.
Jeff Flood: Yeah, exactly. A long story. My background is human health. I discovered camel milk many years ago when I was looking for a health solution for my son’s eczema and some patients who had autoimmune disorders. The research is fantastic and I decided, “Right, I need to start a camel dairy to make that milk available in Australia.” Started 17 years ago, but the actual farm we kicked it off 5 years ago. And yeah, it’s going well.
Denis Walter: Jeffery, please excuse this question. I know you would’ve been asked it injest before, but is it difficult to milk a camel?
Jeff Flood: It is and it isn’t. They’ve got four teats on the udders just like a cow. But to be honest, milking a camel is like milking a human. The udder produces milk in the exact same way. They have to associate the milking with their calf or with their baby to let them milk. And if they’re stressed at all, you don’t get any milk. Whilst the equipment looks similar, in operation, it’s very different.
Denis Walter: I presume the milk shed is much taller.
Jeff Flood: It is. People have a pit but they don’t really need one. So yeah, they’re nice and tall.
Denis Walter: What does camel milk taste like?
Jeff Flood: Well we won a gold medal several times for it at dairy shows. It’s a beautiful, pure white milk that’s naturally homogenized. The tasting notes from the professionals is a full, clean mouth feel. Full because all five tastes are dominant and clean because no one seems to have an allergy to camel milk at all. People with dairy allergies typically can have it. And yeah, it’s got a beautiful, clean mouth feel on it.
Denis Walter: What are the benefits of drinking it?
Jeff Flood: They’re numerous. There’s an incredible body of research on camel milk and it’s rapidly gaining pace because of the health benefits. It helps with gut-brain disorders, inflammatory gut disorders, diabetes, particularly type II diabetes, the best research is on that. Autoimmune disorders, atopic issues like asthma, eczema, inflammatory skin conditions.
It seems to have an incredible health benefit on us – both inside and externally. To be quite honest, we’re not completely clear yet on why. There’s been about 20 years of research, but the clinical results are just incredible. And so, there’s still this incredible interest in research, in trying to work out what is it in the milk that’s having this incredible effect on us.
Denis Walter: You mentioned eczema before and that was with your child. Do you use it on eczema or do you use it as a replacement for milk in the diet?
Jeff Flood: Eczema is a complicated immune issue. The first product we made was a body cream that won Product of the Year last year. We made that just to try to help my son’s skin. Within 3 to 7 days, it was resolved and we’ve had hundreds of people like that. Topically definitely works. Some people with terrible inflammatory skin conditions, they use it topically in the cream, but then they drink it as well and they get an effect. Everyone’s got a different situation so it depends, but it has an effect on both ways.
Denis Walter: Can you just tell us a little bit about your farm? Obviously, camels, they’re tall, they’re big. Do you have to have higher fences? What are some of the things, some of the obstacles to setting up a camel farm?
Jeff Flood: Yeah, no, you don’t need higher fences. Actually, they’re very respectful of fences. They don’t really jump or do anything like that. I guess in Australia, the obstacle with camel farms is it’s just so different for us, isn’t it? Half the world’s population knows what a camel is and they’ve been milking them for nearly 10,000 years. But for the rest of the world, it’s a new animal; it’s not a traditional livestock animal.
So, some of the challenges for us in Australia is there isn’t a domestic herd out there that we can draw upon to start a dairy. So, we have to rescue feral camels. We rescue them from being slaughtered. We bring them in and we work with them, and domesticate them, and bring them into the dairy with their calf. That’s probably a big challenge, is that whole process of training a wild animal to being a domesticated animal.
But once they’re in the system, really, it’s fantastic. They have incredible IQ, 6 to 8 year old child. Also, they don’t spit. A lot of people think camels spit. They do not spit. It’s impossible for a camel to spit. But no, other than that, the challenges are more around very low milk yield and mostly that domestication process, just making sure they’re brought into the system in an appropriate manner.
Denis Walter: In case I forget to ask you: Where can you get camel milk, or Summer Land Camel milk, or the body cream?
Jeff Flood: Our skin care is stocked right across Australia in over 1,200 pharmacies and health food stores: TerryWhite, Blooms the Chemist, healthSAVE, Pharmacy Choice; there’s a whole heap of chemists who have it, different health food stores, and you can get it online of course as well. The cheese we deliver all around Southeast Queensland down in New South Wales, a little bit into Victoria. The milk we typically only deliver around the Southeast Queensland region. It’s available up on the East Coast, mostly.
Denis Walter: To be recognized on a global scale, how is that feeling as the owner of what would’ve been, I presume, considered a pretty out-there endeavour?
Jeff Flood: Most definitely. Well, right from the beginning, we had a vision that we wanted to make camel milk products that helped people solve the health challenges and we wanted to make Australia the place on the planet that you thought of when you thought of high quality camel milk products that do that. We had that focus from the beginning. Took us a couple of years and we’re third or fourth-largest in the world now, and we’re connected to a whole global community that working with camels.
And the first year in 20 years for World Milk Day that camel milk’s been on the agenda, and the support of the whole industry globally, UNFAO etc has been wonderful. We’re really proud to be part of that whole movement to bring this great product into the market.
Denis Walter: Has it gathered any traction with celebrity chefs or people like that who might start using camel products in their recipes?
Jeff Flood: We have an incredible following in our milk and cheese products. We just won the Delicious Award for Queensland, so we’re heading off to the national awards later this year. We’ve exported our products US, and Hong Kong, and China, and overseas. But yeah, we’ve had a great following of our fresh dairy products. But also, the skin care products. People like Kim Kardashian has posted drinking camel milk and using products. Slowly, we’re gaining incredible traction right around the world.
Denis Walter: Are there many other people who have got camel farms?
Jeff Flood: There’s about nine dairies in Australia. We’re by far the largest, but there are nine other little dairies around Australia. So slowly, an industry is emerging so I encourage anyone to look up if they can find a local camel dairy and get some fresh milk. I think it’s terrific. And then around the world, of course, in the US, believe it or not, it’s very popular over there. They just don’t have many camels. But other than that, it’s just been a bit slow in other areas.
That’s why Australia has got such a wonderful position. The milk is incredible feral camel population, it’s seen as a pest. By doing the kind of stuff we’re doing, we can turn that problem into a solution and actually put Australia on the global stage in making some great products and exporting them to people who need them.
Denis Walter: Is there any particular area of Australia? Do the camels need to be in a warmer client?
Jeff Flood: No, not at all. Actually, originally, thousands and thousands of years ago, camels all came from Canada. It doesn’t seem right, does it? But originally, the original camel came from Canada. So actually, they’re well-adapted to any harsh conditions, but they thrive in good conditions as well. Predominantly, most of Australia is really suitable for them. Probably the only areas that don’t suit them are the ones that are very wet. They prefer not to be wet, but it doesn’t matter if it’s cold, or hot, or what kind of climate is in Australia, they thrive here.
Denis Walter: It’s a pleasure to chat with you. I hadn’t heard much about camel milk until we saw the presser come through, so lovely to have you on the program, Jeff, CEO of Summer Land Camels, and I’ll be looking out for camel milk. Can you get it in a supermarket for instance?
Jeff Flood: No, not with supermarkets yet, just health food stores. And the skincare is all in pharmacy and health food stores. Maybe I’ll send you some of our body creams down so you can try it out.
Denis Walter: Will it take away wrinkles?
Jeff Flood: Yes. [laughs] I’ll say that, but yeah, it’s fantastic for your skin. You’ll love it.
Denis Walter: Good on you. Thank you, Jeff Flood, CEO of Summer Land Camels up there below Brisbane, about 40 km below Brisbane.