Cookie queen makes statement on farm life in dough

Meredith West treasures her childhood memories of early starts to get to the Henty Machinery Field Days from her family’s Temora district farm.

“Dad used to say to us, if you are very good and quiet when I’m talking to the man about a tractor, I will take you to the dog trials,’’ Meredith said.

“Thank goodness mum came with us in later years, and we were able to see a lot more than tractors.’’

Meredith, of Wagga, still admits to excitement when she hears the Henty jingle on the radio and cannot wait to be an exhibitor in her own right for the first time this year.

Meredith will have her hand made cookies business, Dough Re Mi, in the Country Lifestyle pavilion, featuring a range of farm-themed iced cookies, including farm machinery and livestock, plus the ever-popular unicorns.

Always mad keen on science as a child, Meredith studied environmental science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga.

“I did placement work at the CSIRO and found being in a laboratory wasn’t my thing so I moved to Sydney to take up photography and worked in marketing for a law firm,’’ she said.

“I loved social media and am a real sucker for a good ad campaign.’’

Meredith met her husband, David West, in Sydney and they moved their young family to Wagga in December 2015.

“I had lost touch with my uni friend Jessie McCabe but we reconnected with each other when we took our children to the same preschool,’’ she said.

“Jess and I helped out with a fundraising barbecue for playgroup and wondered how we could make money a faster way.

“Each of us loved to bake so we decided to make biscuits for fundraising.

“Within 20 minutes the conversation had turned to us starting a biscuit baking business and within two weeks we had an ABN number.’’

Meredith West will have her Dough Re Mi collection of iced cookies in farm machinery, livestock and unicorn designs at Henty.

Dough Re Mi was born in July 2016, launched at a market day in Wagga and underwent rapid growth.

“The business exploded in our face but after 12 months Jessie said goodbye on good terms to the business as she was so busy with her family,’’ Meredith said.

“Now it’s me and a team of four part-time and some casual staff,’’ Meredith said.

Dough Re Mi operates from the West family home in Wagga, allowing Meredith family time with children Caitlin and Sebastian, and husband David.

“There were plenty adjustments along the way – Jessie and I were foodies and loved baking things out of the box,’’ she said.

“As much as we love white chocolate and macadamia cookies, they are same, same.

“So, we made shortbread with dried cherries sourced from Young, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut – they were my version of a cherry ripe.

“We also made Little Piggies – a shortbread base with bacon, pecan nuts and maple butter cream.

“We do gluten free biscuits including double choc and lemon pistachio.

“But when we took them to the market, it wasn’t the different flavours which sold, it was the iced cookies in the shapes unicorns, dinosaurs, apples and donuts.

“The orders for cookies for kids parties went bananas.’’

The iced designs were expanded into the corporate world with individual branding/logos stamped onto cookies as edible gifts and marketing collateral.

Dough Re Mi cookies are now sold in Lockhart, Coolamon and Ganmain, and the business won the Start Up Superstar at the 2018 Golden Crow Awards in Wagga.

“That was a great pat on the back by the community – all those hours of baking at 2am and having to juggle staff and run from swimming to dancing and back to the kitchen, it showed me I was on the right track and let’s keep going,’’ Meredith said.