A rural village shop and a local dairy farm have joined forces to set up their own 24-hour outdoor milk station selling fresh free-range milk.
Meonstoke Post Office and Village Stores decided to set up the milk station after residents took to WhatsApp to complain about their regular national service – and it’s already be a hit with the local community and passers by.
Owner Nell Nell Ravenscroft (pictured left) said: “I formed a partnership with Meonstoke Dairy, run by Sam and Anna Martin, which is just outside the village, to purchase a machine which people could access at any time, day or night.
“Although we only obtained it a few days ago it is already becoming very popular with people both young and old. Initial feedback has been very positive with people saying how much tastier it is than their usual milk.
“We also sell syrups which can be added to the milk which make delicious milkshakes, our favourite one so far is salted caramel.”
Anna Martin (right), who runs the farm with her husband Sam, said: “We milk the cows at 3.45am, whereupon it is gently pasteurised, (not homogenised) and delivered straight to Nell’s store by 7.30am, because its hasn’t been highly processed it retains its flavour, tastes amazing and of course is super fresh.
“The cows are raised on a very extensive grass system in the Meon Valley, and we prioritise their welfare above all else, which we feel is reflected in the quality of the milk.”
Resident Chrissie Butler, of Millside, Meonstoke, said: “It is extremely delicious, and it’s very entrepreneurial of Nell to set the vending machine up. We’ll certainly be using it from now on.”
Vernon Hibberd, who would normally drive past the shop and buy supermarket milk, said: “It’s the best milk I’ve had since I was a child, and that was a very long time ago – I will be buying all my milk from here from now on.”
The partnership has also decided to donate the machine’s first month’s profits on empty bottle sales to three local primary schools to fund various classroom projects.