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Srdjan the goat cheese producer

This cheese loving farmer had a dream. And he believed that he could, so he did.

Running a farm producing goat cheese was an idea that turned into a hobby. Today, it’s a business in full bloom providing Serbian restaurants, stores and duty free shops abroad with premium goat cheese. Srdjan Kovacevik had a dream. He believed he could make it come true, and so he did.

Back in 2009 a friend to Srdjan Kovacevik popped the idea to start produce goat cheese together. Srdjan, who is passionate about cheese, had thought about it himself and didn’t hesitate. The duo hooked up with two more companions who they had known for 20 years, and the four long lasting friends started shaping their dream together.

“We are all working full time at different companies, truly dedicated to our jobs, so we needed to start small in the beginning; it was more like a hobby. But the craving for goat cheese on the Serbian market was bigger than expected, and it quickly grew into a real business,” explains Srdjan.

After investing in goats, a huge acre of land and building a farm and a dairy they opened up for business in 2010. Top focus has since been quality, providing premium products to the market.

“We process our own milk or buy it from local farmers. Regulation standards are high but we fulfill them. There are not many premium cheeses on the Serbian market as we don’t have a cheese culture like in for example France. Here, people think cheese is supposed to be simple, but we prove them wrong with our delicious products,” Srdjan says with a smile.

The cheeses from KOZARI are rich in taste. Each piece is handmade with passion and has its own story. Avoiding mass production is something Srdjan and his friends will continue doing to keep the high standard.

“We produce some truly special cheeses, such as cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves that are soaked in white wine before they are wrapped around the cheese. The cheese itself is enriched with noble white molds and extra added goat milk cream.”

The owners are not that much involved in the daily operations at the dairy in Šid, located about 100 km outside of Belgrade, anymore as they have a stable production with 30 employees. Srdjan mainly focuses on new customers and sales.

“In the beginning it was different; we had an empty acre starting from scratch. I designed the farm and the factory thanks to my mechanical engineering skills, but I also worked in the dairy,” he says.

Today, there are 600 goats on the farm with the capacity to make it 1,000.

“I am very passionate about our business, and especially our hard working crew of goats. It is always pleasant to leave Belgrade and go visit those gentle animals. They are smart too, we only teach them 2-3 times how things are done and then they get it.”

Srdjan arranges many events at the farm, where people get to try the cheese. He also appears in Serbian media from time to time talking about the business.

“Boosting my presentation skills fills me with confidence and makes me grow in my role as Sales & Product Manager at Getinge too”.

He also says cheese is a door opener – if you love cheese you also often love to talk about it.

“Many of my Getinge clients are actually cheese lovers, and it is refreshing to talk about CSSDs and the perfect sterilizer and then suddenly switch over to cheese. It brings something extra.”

Although combining his full time work with a business on the side is time consuming, Srdjan gets the best out of two worlds.

“I am so happy to work for Getinge, being part of saving lives. At the same time I get to follow a dream together with friends in my spare time. We are all still in love with this whole idea.”

And when he takes a moment to reflect about that their products are found in most restaurants in Serbia, in stores and in duty free shops abroad, he feels very proud that they have come so far.

“If you have a dream, do not let go of it. Hold on to it like it is the most precious thing you ever had. Follow it, and let the challenge fully embrace you”.