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A NEW and environmentally friendly way to purchase milk has arrived in Melksham.
Milk produced on-site from cows at Snarlton Farm, Snarlton Lane, can be purchased direct from the farm’s ‘Melksham Milk Station’ in re-useable glass bottles, helping to reduce waste.
And as the milk comes direct from the farm and is pasteurised on-site, the number of ‘food miles’ – the distance food is transported from production until it reaches the consumer – is also dramatically reduced.
As well as its positive environmental impact, the innovative milk vending also has positive financial implications for the farm.
In recent years, supermarkets have been criticised for how much they pay farmers for their milk – the ‘Melksham Milk Station’ cuts out the ‘middleman’, maximising the amount of profit made by the farm per litre of milk.
Speaking to Melksham News, dairy farmer Tom Stainer said, “The feedback from customers has been really good. Some remember the days of the milkman in his electric vehicle delivering milk in glass bottles – it was so much ‘greener’ back then. The Melksham Milk Station takes people back to those days and gives people a choice to buy their milk in a more environmentally friendly way.
“Farming has been particularly slated over the years for its carbon footprint because of methane produced by cows – so this helps to offset the carbon we produce.
“It’s a simple process – we pasteurise the milk on-site and fill up the vending machine every other day. Customers can buy a glass bottle from us for a £1, and then fill it up with a litre of full-fat milk – the machine is relatively easy to use.
“And when they are ready, customers can wash their bottle at home, and then come back and get some more. Milk is sold in plastic bottles in supermarkets, so this method reduces plastic.
“Also, there are a lot less ‘food miles’ involved with the Melksham Milk Station – the milk that I sell to a supermarket travels 100 miles to be processed outside London. It then travels more miles when it is then distributed to stores across the country – so a lot more ‘food miles’ involved!”
About the benefits of the Melksham Milk Station to him as a dairy farmer, Tom explained, “Like every other dairy farm we are kind of controlled by supermarkets and although we have a relatively good contract with a national supermarket, it’s still not particularly good when you take into account the cost of producing the milk.
“We are quite a small dairy farm compared to most – other dairy farms have got bigger and bigger, to produce milk at a low price. We haven’t done that, so this is a way to maximise what we get back per litre, compared to what we get selling it to a supermarket.”
The Melksham Milk Station is open 2pm to 7pm on weekdays; and 9am to 6pm at weekends. For more information and for further updates on the Melksham Milk Station, visit Snarlton Farm’s Facebook page – search for ‘Snarlton Farm’.