A dairy farmer from Littleham is setting up a new way to bring fresh milk to people in North Devon.
Pete Hockridge has plans to install a milk vending machine at High Park Farm, where he is a partner alongside his dad Andrew.
The vending machine, which has been named the Milkiosk, will allow the Hockridges to sell pasteurised milk directly to customers, cutting out the middle man and the food miles.
Customers will be able to bring their own containers or buy a reusable glass bottle from the farm, and buy fresh whole milk which hasn’t been standardised or homogenised for supermarkets.
The 28-year-old believes the venture is the first of its kind in Devon, and said he was ‘overwhelmed’ at the feedback he has had since presenting the idea on Facebook.
“It’s really environmentally friendly, it will be as fresh as it can be – you could be buying milk produced on the same day,” said Pete.
“There are very low food miles, and there’s a low carbon footprint. The milk is also 100 per cent traceable, so you know exactly where it’s come from.
“I didn’t expect to get more than 100 responses to the survey I put up and I ended up getting more than 1,500, it was an overwhelming response. I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has supported it so far.”
“It seems there’s huge demand for it. People have been asking me to put a machine in Barnstaple and in Ilfracombe, so that may be something we could do in the future.”
The Hockridges have been farming near Littleham since 1936. They have 250 cattle on the farm, with most of the cows’ food grown on the site.
The Milkiosk, which Pete is still setting up but hopes will be ready in June, would also help secure the farm for the family’s future generations.
“We currently get 29.8p per litre of milk and that’s going down,” he said.
“Not all of our milk will be sold through the vending machine, because that’s a lot of milk, but it will help keep our farm viable for future generations like my daughter.”