The launch of this new business realises a dream for Becky who said “It’s been a really difficult time for dairy farming recently. I’ve worked away from the farm for 9 years as an agriculture lecturer and have said to students for a number of years that I wish I could think of something to do with the milk to add value.”
The decision to start a new business on Becky’s marital family’s dairy farm was made earlier this year in response to changing circumstances on the farm. “In the last year I have taken on more responsibility on the family farm and managing this alongside my role as Higher Education Programme Leader for Agriculture at College was hard to balance. I wanted to find something which would allow me to do the work I need to on the dairy farm, without taking a wage from the dairy business. That was why we decided to consider milk vending.” Becky said.
The decision to purchase a vending machine was made and as this was being built in Italy, Becky applied to HPF to secure funding to assist with marketing Cherry View Milk. The application was successful and the award has been used to develop a website and marketing materials to promote Cherry View Milk.
Cherry View Milk launched in mid August 2017. Milk is pasteurised and sold through a specialist vending machine. The intention is to offer milk from The Milk Shed on the farm from 7am – 7pm daily. In the early weeks, after appearing on the BBC local news, demand was outstripping the amount of milk that could be pasteurised in 24 hrs, with milk running out before 7pm quite a few times. Since the end of the summer holiday this has settled out and milk sales remain stronger than hoped.
In order to minimise risk associated with reduced customers during times of poor weather, contracts are being developed with local restaurants and coffee shops who are pleased to promote the fact that they are using the locally sourced milk.
Becky’s long-term aim is to develop a café on the farm, “I’d love to be able to serve nice coffees and milkshakes from a café of my own”. To help towards this goal, the Henry Plumb Foundation have provided Becky with a mentor who owns a farm shop and café. On the subject of mentoring Becky said “Having the support of my mentor has been so helpful. She highlighted points which I had never even considered in the very early days of the business.”
To find out more about Cherry View Milk visit www.cherryviewmilk.co.uk.