Saturday, August 1 marked the start of an exciting new venture for the House family in Somerset, with the opening of a milk vending machine and farm shop.
The Milk from the Moors machine at Fowlers Plot Farm in Chedzoy, near Bridgwater, is open 24/7 and allows customers to buy milk direct from the farm, with zero food miles.
Following the cows being milked at 5.30am every morning, a batch of 120 litres is pasteurised at a low heat to preserve the milk’s natural taste and quality, before being placed in the vending machine, within three hours of milking, so the milk is always extremely fresh.
Unlike supermarket milk, the milk is non-homogenised (cream top) which gives an exceptional flavour. The milk is then sold in branded glass bottles which customers can re-use thereafter, so there is zero waste, making this a sustainable and environmentally-friendly enterprise.
As well as regular whole milk, Milk from the Moors also offers flavoured milkshakes, which have certainly proved popular.
The farm shop is open from 10am until 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday, and is stocked with a range of fresh, local produce including seasonal vegetables, fruit, eggs, cheeses, bread, jams and preserves, as well as tasty homemade cakes.
The milk vending machine and farm shop running side-by-side gives customers the chance to pick up all their essential food and drink items in one place, in the knowledge they are supporting local farmers and buying quality, fresh produce.
The House family have been at Fowlers Plot Farm for 35 years. The farm comprises an award winning 200-head pedigree Holstein dairy herd, with each cow yielding approximately 10,700 litres of milk per year, and 200 acres of arable land which is put to barley, wheat and maize in rotation.
The family are well known for their success in the show ring, with their latest achievement being with their heifer, Chedhunt Cinderdoor Rach, who claimed the champion junior heifer award at the prestigious Holstein UK All Britain Awards in 2019. And, like many other farmers, they are looking forward to re-commencing the showing season in 2021.
With the looming decrease in farm support payments as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is phased out and the coronavirus outbreak disrupting the milk supply chain, which caused the family to have to throw away 3% of their milk output every day to comply with their contract, the family decided to take action and diversify so that they could be more in control of the price they receive for their milk.
It also means they are able to directly provide customers with a high quality and great tasting product, with strong environmental credentials.
The milk vending machine and shop have already been very well received locally and it is hoped there will be scope to build and grow the venture further as time goes on.
For more information and for the latest news and updates, follow Milk from the Moors on Facebook. You can also follow the Chedhunt herd’s achievements on the dedicated Chedhunt Holsteins Facebook page.