The Raw Milk Revolution is a return to a tradition. Farmers are returning to selling direct to consumers and reaping the benefits from it. Yorkshire dairy farmer Jeremy Holmes is selling his milk unpasteurised on his farm at Denby Dale near Huddersfield at £1 per litre. That’s about three times the price paid by supermarkets.
“Nearly one in 10 dairy farms across England and Wales have closed in the last three years, an industry body has reported. More than 1,000 have closed since June 2013, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). North Yorkshire lost 89 farms, the highest total of any county, while Berkshire saw the greatest rate of decline with a third of farms closing.”
Delph House Farm’s owners Jeremy and Louise Holmes are passionate about their new venture selling raw milk from vending machines off the farm. Jeremy admits that the experience has exceeded his expectations. They started selling in October 2015 and initially it was a slow start. After they did a concentrated advertising campaign, people from all walks of life started to visit them with an interest in the vending machine and its raw milk. People who make the pilgrimage say it reminds them of the milk they used to drink many years ago. Awareness of the existence of raw milk have also increased due to raw food and paleo diets. Many who had never tried it are now buying it on a regular basis.
Consumers say it helps with their allergies and food intolerances. Even people who are initially cautious of it say they love its creaminess and taste. Jeremy say that it is an educational process for people who are new to raw milk. They ask him many questions about how the milk is produced. One of of the great benefits of selling raw milk directly is the relationship of trust built between farmer and consumer. People want know where their food is coming from and how it is produced. The dairy farmer learns what the consumer wants and provides it. The Food Standards Agency won’t permit raw milk vending machines to be placed in shops where it is away from source. It can only be sold directly from the dairy farm to the consumer. This is done via either farm gate sales, the vending machine placed at the farm gate, at farmers markets and via online sales. That is why this a market that the struggling dairy farmer can benefit from. There simply is no middleman.
Jeremy say that dairy farmers are constantly looking for new ways to do things because the milk price is so low. Other dairy farmers in England have also diversified into selling raw milk from the vending machines. It has proven to be a successful avenue for dairy farmers who grasp at opportunities to cut costs and turn a profit. Delph House farm invested in a DF Italia vending machine that holds 200 liters of milk.
Jeremy is one of three farmers to offer advice on starting a raw milk vending enterprise in this article. Follow the rest of the story in the audio, video, images and links at the bottom.
Audio: Jeremy is interviewed on BBC Radio York by presenter Gareth Barlow, discussing the raw milk vending machine and possibly the shortest milk miles in the industry. Source
Audio: Jeremy is interviewed over his raw milk vending machine and the current dairy industry fears. Online article and short video here.