Raw Milk vending Machines
When the Crickmores of Fen Farm Dairy first considered diversifying with Raw Milk vending machines, it was conceived as risky and people said they were mad. They brought in the first vending machine from Italy and now they are the UK representatives for the Italian vending machine company, DF Italia. They are also helping others get a better price for their milk.
Fen Farm Dairy is a family run farm situated in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Three generations of the Crickmore family have farmed here, and now Jonny and Dulcie graze 300 Montbéliarde and Friesian cows on the beautiful marshlands of the Waveney River Valley. They have been selling raw milk directly to the consumer since 2011 and demand keep rising as people are prepared to travel to support small dairy farmers and pay a fair price for quality milk. They sell raw produce from a vending machine located in the cow-print shed at the farm gate and currently sell the finest raw cheese, raw cultured butter and raw cream. You can fill your bottle from the UK’s first raw milk vending machine and also peer through the windows of the cheese and butter making rooms to see the dairy at work. www.milkvendingmachinesuk.co.uk/
'Baron Bigod' raw cheese
Fen Farm Dairy also produce their own ‘Baron Bigod’ traditional raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese. This is the only raw milk farmhouse brie produced in the UK. The best raw milk comes from grass, hay and forage fed cows, giving the milk and raw cheese a more complex, earthy flavour. Baron Bigod has a smooth silky texture and a golden curd, with long lasting warm earth, farmyard and mushroom flavours. The milk is hand made in small batches and sold from the vending machines, online shop, farmers markets and other retailers.
In an online article written by Munchies, Jonathan Crickmore said it was the price volatility that caused him to turn to cheese production. His family have been producing milk on the dairy for generations, but it’s only recently that he started churning it.
“If the global price of milk is down, it could mean the average UK dairy farmer will be losing money,” Adding that farmers have had a “difficult year,” with poor weather, struggling crops, and a continual battle with supermarket chiefs to levy a fair price. In comparison, specialist cheese is an attractive prospect for any of the UK’s 10,000 dairy farmers who decide to change tack.
“By setting up the cheese, raw milk sales and raw butter—we have created a niche brand which isn’t subject to the price volatility,” he explains.
Johnny Crickmore is interviewed by Hugo Harrison for The Food Forecast about their Raw Milk vending machines and the raw milk, in a landscape that faces constant change. Raw milk products are doing a great job to lift the fortunes of these farmers but Hugo asks if this is a remedy or a short term solution? The dairy industry has been a victim of fluctuation for decades, whether it be in price, climate or government support.