Raw milk option expands into South Canterbury

JACQUIE WEBBY
Last updated 13:04 13/12/2013
milk
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

FARMGATE FRESH: Andrea, Stu and Mitch Weir are set to offer customers raw milk early in the new year.

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South Canterbury consumers looking for a choice in the type of milk they use will soon have another option.

Early next year, Timaru dairy farmers Stu and Andrea Weir, and son Mitch, will open a raw-milk outlet at their property in Fairview Rd.

The couple, who milk a herd of about 200 mainly friesian cows, have long been interested in the concept of fresh raw milk and were quick to initiate franchise discussions to open a Timaru outlet with Nelson-based Village Milk.

Raw milk is unpasteurised and requires some preparation in the milking, filtering and refrigeration process and the demand across New Zealand has increased significantly in recent years.

Mr Weir said consumers had the choice of filling their own containers or buying a 1-litre glass milk bottle at the outlet.

"Kids on farms grew up with raw milk and increasingly, consumers want to know where their food comes from ... how it arrived at the point of purchase," he said.

"We wanted to build on that demand for traceability and quality."

Apart from the attraction of being able to purchase raw milk at the farmgate seven days a week, and about 10 to 12 hours a day, the self-service dispensers also offer an opportunity to buy a take-home glass milk bottle.

Mrs Weir said the bottles are reminiscent of old-style milk bottles.

"A lot of people remember when milk came in glass bottles and these are a nostalgic reminder of something lost for many New Zealanders," she said.

"There is also the personal contact with the farm and the people who milk the cows."

The Italian-made dispensers will take coins or notes and customers can also preload a debit device similar to a P-drive, which will show a balance each time milk or bottles are purchased.

The whole system was user friendly, according to Mr Weir.

"Because we milk 12 months a year, the supply will be constant and the milk will never be older than 24 hours," he said.

"It will also be chilled, ensuring it is farm fresh when purchased, and the machine self-sterilises prior to the bottle or container being filled."

The Weir family plans to hold a village fair day on site early next year. The day will be an opportunity to meet the farmers, see the cows, learn more about raw unpasteurised milk and have a taste test.

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- The Timaru Herald

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