New "Raw" Deal come to the Village

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Street Farm's Milkbot
Street Farm Cows

Street Farm, Kelsall Road Tarvin has started the production and sale of raw milk, direct from the farm. This milk undergoes no heat treatment and is sold from a vending machine called the Milkbot. The cost is £1.30 per litre and the milk is self-dispensed into plastic or glass containers that are provided.

The new venture has been started by David and Joanna Lomas, who have been at Street Farm for 32 years and who both come from generations of Cheshire dairy farmers. They have a herd of 180 pedigree Holstein cows and produce about 4000 litres of milk daily for the conventional market.

Joanna said "The way the dairy industry is set up at present means we are at the end of the retail chain and as such have no say or control over the price we receive for our milk. Over the last few years we have been paid below the cost of production, so have taken the momentous decision to take some control and sell direct to the consumer. We hope the venture will provide an income that will allow us to invest and offer us a sustainable future for this farm."

Raw milk is milk that undergoes no heat treatment and contains the full range of minerals, enzymes and fats. Most milk sold in the UK is pasteurised, a heating process that was introduced gradually into the sale of milk from the 1920s and was an important public health measure to combat diphtheria, typhoid, tuberculosis and other deadly infectious diseases. The sale of raw milk was stopped completely in the UK in the early 1980s over concerns about brucellosis, but the UK dairy herd is now certified brucellosis free.

The sale of raw milk is strictly controlled and can only be sold by licensed producers who are inspected quarterly. Bottles must carry a health warning and the regulations in Scotland prevent the sales of raw milk altogether. It can be sold at farm gates, on milk rounds and at famer's markets, though only by the producer.

Advocates of raw milk state that there are many health advantages from drinking unprocessed milk. The natural state of the product contains a rich mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and fats and some lactose -intolerant people find that they can digest raw milk without a problem. Research also suggests that it is an excellent drink after exercise, replenishing the body quickly. Raw milk must be sold locally, so food miles are at a minimum and the gap between the consumer and producer is very small.

Street Farm have built a new, small facility with parking to house their Milkbot. Plastic containers are provided free, and glass bottles are available for a charge. The machine is easy to use, takes cash — though doesn't give change — credit cards and contactless payments. Customers do not need an appointment, though if any have concerns about the dispensing process, Joanne is more than happy to help. To keep in touch with this new local venture go to www.facebook.com/streetfarmdairytarvin or call Joanne on 07474 022230

Editors note: certain government bodies and health scientists have concerns over the safety of raw milk and if you are unsure if the product is for you, then go to www.food.gov.uk/science/raw-drinking-milk-and-cream . The internet contains many articles, both for and against the consumption of raw milk, enabling you to make an informed decision about purchasing the product.