SHAFTESBURY residents and visitors have the choice of another fresh-from-the-farm milk supplier, with Madjeston Milk Station opening at Newhouse Farm outside Gillingham.
Madjeston Milk Station
It’s the latest dairy farm in the area to install a vending machine filled daily with milk from the herd and pasteurised on the farm itself. The service opened last month, and is now available 24 hours a day – just turn up, put £1 in the machine and fill your re-usable litre bottle. Or £2 for two litres.
With farmers earning an average 30p a litre from commercial customers, being able to sell directly to customers for £1 is a great benefit. And the customers get creamy unhomogenised milk while supporting farmers who, at Newhouse, have kept it in the family since 1927.
Reports from farms that have installed the machines suggest sales of 60-70 litres a day, the figures doubling at weekends. Let’s say 500 litres a week, so an improved income of £350 a week.
Take out (generous) running costs of £100, and the start-up costs of building a shed for the vending machines, security cameras and so on, and farmers could pay off the cost of a £15,000 vending machine within two years.
Madjeston is further supplementing its income with vending machine sales of cheese, eggs, butter and 50p milk shakes. You can buy reusable one-litre milk bottles for £2, or two-litre plastic bottles.
Church Farm Dairy, Semley
Seven months ago, Church Farm Dairy near Semley also installed a vending machine, selling pasteurised milk direct from its heard of 140 Fresians. The Bowerman family have farmed at Church Farm for 40 years and felt they had lost connection with consumers: the milk is local and has zero food miles.
Such has been the success of the project that the family is now considering options to manage the number of cars visiting the milk shed. As with Madjeston, the milk is not homogenised, and glass bottles are sold for £2 – and the farm has sold 2,000 bottles since launch. It’s open 7.30am-6.30pm daily, including weekends. The farm will be holding its Open Day on June 10 – pop along to learn about the ‘journey’ from herd to machine.
Meggy Moo’s Dairy, Shroton
Another option for non-commercially sold milk is just south of Shaftesbury at Meggy Moo’s Dairy in Shroton, just off the A350. Here they sell raw milk direct from the cow, which is neither pasteurised nor homogenised. It is sold in plastic bottles from the shop, not from a vending machine, during opening hours of 7am-7pm.
The Perrett family have been at Park Farm since 1989, and have a herd of 180 Holsteins. Pasteurised milk is also available, whole or semi-skinned, and there’s another chance to buy milkshakes here, along with cream, cakes, eggs and jams/chutneys.
There is increasing demand for natural milk, available on the day the cows were milked – as opposed to days or even a week later in supermarkets. If visiting Shaftesbury, make sure you return home with your litre taste of Dorset straight from the herd, and add a little extra cheese or butter too…
Middle Farm, Manston
Footnote, added April 15: On our Facebook page, follower Claire Griffin points out that Middle Farm at Manston (01258 473880) is also licensed by government to sell raw milk direct to consumers – open daily 8.30am-6.30pm, Sunday: 8.30am-12 noon. In fact, there are only three farms in Dorset able to do so – Middle Farm, Meggy Moo’s Dairy and another farm down in Bridport. We have amended the map below to include Middle Farm.