From Computers to Cows

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This post was written by Sarah Rees

"IT WAS A BIT OF A jokey idea at the beginning,” admits British-born Paul Foster, when asked about the source of his sudden career change from owner of an IT company to milkman/farmer. “Bala and I used to get annoyed because you couldn’t find decent milk in Malaysia, so we used to say we would just start a farm of our own.”

Balakrishnan R. Nair and Paul were business partners in their own, successful, IT company and, after years of kicking about their wild ambition, they sold their company and bought some cows; one hundred cows, to be precise. But not just any cows; Paul and Bala – as dairy die-hards – were determined to find the best milk they could and thus sourced pure-bred, Jersey cows from Australia.

“Milk from Jersey cows is just in a different league,” explains Paul. “The quality of milk depends on the genetics of the animal just as much as it depends on what you feed them. We didn’t want to buy local cows as they are usually cross-bred.”

Flying one hundred pregnant cows to KL and transporting them onwards to their farm in Kuala Selangor was just one of the many challenges the two men have faced in their two year journey from washing their hands of IT to selling their Bright Cow milk in the supermarkets, but neither shows any sign of having regretted the huge, life-changing step. If anything, they seem invigorated by it.

“People are definitely more interested in my job now,” laughs Paul, “but I also just feel proud to be doing something meaningful, to be bringing something necessary to people.” Bala agrees, adding that he has been “overwhelmed at how supportive and excited people have been about our milk. It’s so satisfying!”

And the Bright Cow milk is certainly something to be excited about because it is unique, taking the concept of “fresh milk” right back to its roots. “Our milk is not pasteurised or homogenised,” explains
Paul. “It is 100% fresh milk, and we control every step of the process to make sure that the milk is safe, healthy, and gets to the customer in perfect condition.”

Bala is swift to add his support to the importance of this. “The milk has to be kept refrigerated, so we transport it ourselves, maintain the temperature and educate people on the importance of keeping it fresh. We can guarantee the product all the way to the customer; from farm to fridge.”

His words can be taken literally: Bright Cow milk can be bought in markets and certain supermarkets, but they have also begun delivering milk themselves. “We are bringing back the milkman!” jokes Bala. Four times per week, Bright Cow deliver their milk – from cows freshly milked the previous day – to eager customers who are all tasting the difference and coming back for more.“Customers say it is smoother and creamier, and it tastes fresher,” explains Bala. “Because the cows are so well looked after, there is no smell to the milk, which is something that can put people off other milk products.”

Bala’s enthusiasm for the white stuff shines through, while Paul is already looking to the next stage and the eventual broadening of their dairy selection. “I love cheese,” he says happily, “so I am getting excited about developing that. We will also do butter and cream in the coming years.”


For the time being, though, the pair are just getting into the swing of running a farm and trying to keep up with the demand, which is growing all the time. “A lot of people are seeking fresh produce now,” explains Paul, “and we get a lot of interest from people who make their own ice cream, or want fresh milk to serve in their cafes.”

As businessmen by profession, their minds are on long-term goals, but nothing detracts from the sheer exhilaration they have got from taking a plunge into an unknown. “Learning is always fun,” says Bala cheerily. “Although it was a very steep learning curve,” adds Paul with a laugh.

It is a curve they have navigated with success, and as the word spreads about their fantastic product, there is no doubt that Bright Cow’s journey is just beginning.

For a taste of truly fresh milk, seek out the Bright Cow products at these current outlets in Presto, Jaya Grocer, Craft Bakers, Greens at Valencia, Urban Picnic and Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG). Market-goers will find a stall at the farmer’s market near 1Utama (which is held every first Sunday of the month) or at the Showanas Fruit Stall at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail market. Visit the website (www.bright to find out more about getting your fridge on their delivery routes.

Folks who are interested in Bright Cow Jersey milk for:
-Home Delivery
-Bulk Purchase for making cheese/ice-cream/yoghurt etc.
Please contact – Carol (012 239 3058)/ Paul (012 366 9763) or via their website –

Source: The Expat June 2012 Issue

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