Business is booming for dairy farmers who are adapting to the Covid pandemic by filling their profits into vending machines.
With supermarkets struggling to meet demand for dairy products, two family-run farms have started selling cow-fresh milk in self-service machines.
Will Lambourne runs Townsend Farm at Marsh Gibbon near Bicester in Oxfordshire with his father Adrian and brother Joel.
After seeing a shortage of milk in supermarkets during the initial lockdown, Mr Lambourne and his wife Abi came up with the idea of selling directly to consumers.
They now sell to hundreds of customers weekly, with people traveling from neighboring towns and villages to get their milk and flavored shakes.
The Lambournes sell pasteurized milk from vending machines that operate seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Customers can take their own bottles or buy glass bottles from the farm.
And anyone who wants to sweeten their shopping can turn it into a milkshake with 12 available flavors. from gingerbread, salted caramel and butterscotch to cotton candy.
In Berthengam, near Holywell in Flintshire, Wales, there are queues every day between farmer Einion Jones and his wife Elliw's road machine, which sells fresh milk, coffee and hot chocolate.
Will Lambourne and his wife Abi run Townsend Farm at Marsh Gibbon near Bicester in Oxfordshire. They now sell hundreds of bottles of fresh milk from their machines every day
The Lambournes sell pasture milk from their vending machine, which operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Customers can bring their own bottles or buy glass bottles from Townsend Farm
Will and Abi Lambourne also offer 12 milkshake syrups including chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, gingerbread, butterscotch, coffee, mint chocolate, hob nob and cotton candy
The dairy farmers Elliw and Einion Jones with their children Elin (7), Gwenni (5), Magi (3) and the 18-month-old Penri
Mr. Lambourne told MailOnline, “We had the idea to sell milk during the first lockown. It seemed so obvious while there was a shortage in supermarkets.
& # 39; There was an opportunity to help the community and serve the consumer directly. There was also a desire for local people to shop, especially in such a rural area.
“As farmers we have to accept that we have to do more for the environment, so we use glass bottles, with the milk going straight from the farm to the customer's refrigerator.
"It's been going very well so far and we've also started making milkshakes that were really well received."
The village, which is just outside Bicester, is about ten kilometers from the nearest shop, so business is booming for the Lambourne family.
They sell fresh eggs alongside the milk and want to expand, with possible plans for a farm shop in the pipeline.
Mr Lambourne added, “These are staples that everyone needs and it also helps people avoid going to busy cities or supermarkets where Covid is prevalent.
& # 39; We get a lot of comments about the quality of our milk, which is treated gently. And people love our milkshakes – some customers come back for multiple bottles at a time.
"People ask us to make bread and run a farm shop so that we can check whether it's financially viable."
At the Einion and Elliw Jones street machine, fresh bottled milk is sold along with flavored milkshakes and hot chocolate.
The machine, which is available 24 hours a day, is considered one of the first of its kind in North Wales and the Joneses were surprised by its success.
They have a herd of 280 Jersey Cross dairy cows on their farm in Mynydd Mostyn, which is on the Mostyn Hall estate, and most of the milk goes to the South Caernarfon Creamery.
After Will Lambourne and his wife Abi discovered a shortage of supermarkets during the initial lockdown, they came up with the idea of selling milk directly to consumers
Einion Jones with the milk they produce themselves, which they now sell directly from the farm through a special dispenser
The roadside attraction is a machine that sells fresh bottled milk along with flavored milkshakes and hot chocolate
The machine, available 24 hours a day, is believed to be one of the first of its kind in North Wales and although the Joneses did some research before investing, they were amazed at its success
"We first considered having a machine about two years ago but didn't do anything about it, and then we looked deeper into it in June last year," said Elliw.
“During the pandemic, more and more people were trying to buy local products, so we thought it would be a good time.
& # 39; It was amazing. The coffee and hot chocolate machine has been here for a while and people need to find out about it on Facebook, ”she said. "The day we started selling milk, people were queuing from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m."
"People really seem to appreciate it because it's so fresh, as opposed to some of the milk that is sold in supermarkets," added Einion.
Whole milk and half-bowl are available and are delivered in returnable glass bottles. Payment is by card so the facility does not have to be manned.
Residents of neighboring villages such as Berthengam, Trelogan, Sarn and Whitford walk on the dirt roads or across fields to reach Mynydd Mostyn and there is a steady flow of traffic as well.
Wendy Williams over Gracie (left) and Laura Hafwen Jones over Ted drink a hot chocolate at Mynydd Mostyn Dairy Farm
Sara Bevan and her daughter Charley, 15, from Flint, were in the queue – and they thought the wait was worth it.
"I grew up in Trelogan and felt like we should support a local company," said Sara.
"It's the best milkshake I've ever had," added Charley.
And friends Wendy Williams and Laura Hafwen Jones came by on their horses for a cup of hot chocolate before continuing their ride.
Wendy said, "It's beautiful and nice to have something like this."
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