I’ve always liked milk but N has never been that keen. Well apart from age 1 to 2 when he used to drink a lot after moving from formula onto normal cows milk. But then we realised he had a small intolerance that switching to oat milk meant more pleasant nappies. Thankfully he grew out of the intolerance, but has never really drunk milk since. Thankfully he likes yoghurt and cheese so gets plenty of calcium from those. But he does like milkshakes and when a nearby dairy farm started a milk vending machine, he wanted to try it out.
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Before I met the OH, the farm used to be dairy, so they miss having milk straight off the farm, even all these years later. I do use milk in recipes, but at the moment it’s only N having milk on cereal etc as I can’t have it on my low carb diet. But I agreed for half term that we could go and check out Milky Wheys, to try their vending machine.
They added the vending machine back in early Covid times to sell direct to the customer, and was being talked about all on social media and with local people. Evidently they did roaring trade at weekends especially, with people walking out from the village to fill their milk bottles and top up with milkshakes. With people going back to work and activities opening up, fewer people are sticking with buying local which is a shame.
We think it’s so important to buy local where posible – it is a faff to go round to all the different independent suppliers or stores, especially if you have to queue, but it can be worth it. I’m finding having a main food delivery, frees up time for me to go to the bakery, butchers and anywhere local to pick up extras or specifics we prefer.
So in half term it was time to check out the milk vending machine. The farm is largely holstein dairy cows, with the vending machine open 7am to 7pm daily. It’s in a little room near where you drive in and park. The first time we went there were 2 families ahead of us in the queue. There’s only room for one in at a time to be Covid safe, and have hand sanitizer outside, and masks have to be worn.
On the machines, they have instructions so it’s easy to follow even if you haven’t nosied to see what the people ahead of you are doing.
If you’ve not bought a bottle before, there’s one machine selling the 1 litre milk bottles with screw lid for £2. It’s all contactless card payment for bottles and milk. You can of course take your own glass milk bottles* with you (they can be sterilised in the dishwasher).
We were buying milkshake (as everyone was ahead of us in the queue), so then moved to the milkshake syrup pumps. There’s a variety of flavours – strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and banana, plus more exciting flavours like Rolo, Biscoff and Salted Caramel. N only ever chooses strawberry, and it was 2 pumps for 50p in the honesty box.
Then to the milk machine. All the milk is unhomogenised pasterised so there’s no worries about anyone with sensitive stomachs not being able to cope with raw milk. Being non-homogenised means it’s extra creamy. Again it’s a card machine, so you tap the card which credits you £6, you open the machine door, hold the bottle under the spout, then press the fresh milk button until you fill the bottle as much as you want.
There is a knack to not creating tonnes of froth which N hasn’t quite mastered but we still managed to get the full litre in our bottle. You can fill more bottles on the credit, but press the return credit button to only be charged for what you’ve bought. Our litre of milk was about £1.20 so not too much more than in supermarkets for 2 pints. A price that’s worth it for fresh from the farm milk.
Before we left we had a look at Calf Corner where you can look in at some of the really young calves.
The milk will last 4 days, but N demolished the milkshake in 2. First time round, he thought there wasn’t quite enough strawberry in it, so when we went back a few days later, he added better syrup pumps to the bottle. It looked a bit bright pink to me, but he reckoned there was a bit more strawberry rather than just the fresh mlk flavour.
He’s even said that he likes the fresh milky taste, so if we bought some plain milk, he’d be more likely to drink it. I’m not sure I’m willing to do that given I’m not currently drinking any leftovers myself. Maybe we’ll buy a small amount for him to try it.
While it won’t be a weekly purchase, it’s a fun way to buy milk, and treat us to milkshakes. We’ll definitely be going back with our bottles in hand.
Where to buy fresh milk from vending machines nearby
If you fancy trying milk straight off the farm, then try and find one local to you. Over the last year there have been lots more dairy farms putting in milk vending machines. As a start point try this milk vending machine list (although do check google or facebook to see if they’re still open, and at what time)
For raw milk vending machines you can see the raw milk map.
Do you have a farm with a milk vending machine near you?