Milkbot helping Shropshire farm fight back on milk prices
One farm in Shropshire is taking its own stand against the continuous fall in milk prices.
Hawkstone Abbey Farm, near Whitchurch, has had a raw milk vending machine installed for visitors to fill their own bottles.
It costs the family about 24p to produce a litre of milk, but recently they have only been receiving 17p a litre.
Sarah Appleby, from the farming family, said the new machine was a great way to show off their produce and take control over milk pricing.
She said: "Our milk is delicious and we have been using it for our cheese products which are very popular.
"We have been toying with the idea of installing a machine where people could get raw milk for a while, but when the price dropped down to less than what it costs to make it spurred us on.
"It was like the final straw. Milk is now cheaper than water so we wanted to take back control.
"Thirty years ago raw milk was very popular and we want to try and go back to that now.
"It is a great machine to have and we are very pleased with it. We can't wait for people to come and try the delicious raw milk."
The vending machine allows customers to fill a bottle straight from the farm for £1 a litre.
Elaine Johnston-King, sales manager of CE Projects LTD which supplied the new machine, said: "With milk prices at an all time low, and where most dairy farmers are selling it at a loss, something was needed to be done to help these hard working people.
"Our Milkbot vending machine enables the farmer to sell the pure milk on their farm gate through a clean, smart self-contained chilled unit.
"The machine accepts coins and card payments and is easily operated with a touch screen.
"It uses very little electricity and most machines are available 24/7 so if you work shifts, realise late at night or early in the morning that you need milk, just pop to the dispenser and fill up the bottle with fresh pure milk.
"The milk is selling from £1 per litre and lots of people have said the difference in the taste is amazing.
"The farmers are in effect creating a small shop where they don't have huge overheads and the product they are providing is getting a value back in it.
"People will be able to visit the farm gate and buy raw milk with all the amazing properties and health benefits.
"The milk is not having loads of heat zapped through it to kill everything, all the good bacteria are still there.
"As a child, I used to get eczema and used to get steroid cream that thinned my skin almost making it worse rather than tackling why I had eczema in the first place.
"I went on to raw milk and within months my skin was better my eczema had cleared up completely my hair and nails were great and I was building my immune system back up.
"It is a great product and we are very excited to launch the machine in Whitchurch."
Hawkstone Abbey Farm is also the home to the successful cheese company – Appleby's Cheese.
Lance and Lucy Appleby started the cheese making enterprise in 1952 and were both awarded MBEs for their services to cheesemaking in Shropshire, in 2001. Lance Appleby was born in Cheshire and grew up on a farm.
He left school at the age of 13 and drove the horses, laden with cheese, to Whitchurch cheese fair.
The business has continued to be run by Edward and Christine Appleby, and now the third generation of Appleby's, Paul and his wife Sarah are involved– as well as their four young children.
Appleby's Cheese can be sourced locally and nationwide or direct from Hawkstone Abbey Farm on Friday mornings.
For more information about the farm go to www.applebyscheese.co.uk
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