Monday, 2 February 2015

Village Milk... Raw Milk At The Farm Gate...

All the weeks and months I have been in Golden Bay parked at
Pohara and Tarakohe I drove past Village Milk as I went in and out of 
Takaka. I have been in to get milk a few times,  just for the novelty 
really,  as I don't like milk and gave it to my daughter in her cafe
to make coffee with. Recently I met Phillippa and Mark
and chatting with them and hearing their story sparked my interest.

Phillippa told me - dairy farming is in their blood... The Houston family
started supplying milk way back around 1890 when the milk travelled in
cans by horse, cart, boat, and coastal shipping to New Plymouth.

Mark and Phillippa dairy farmed initially in Ngakuru, south of Rotorua
then converted 200ha in Temuka to milk up to 800 cows supplying Fonterra.

The move to Motupipi, Golden Bay was a definite change from large
scale dairying and didn't initially include any milking in the plan.
Village Milk was born out of a desire to do the best they
could nutritionally, for their family. Like a lot of people
they were tired of hearing about all the pesticides and
preservatives and flavours that are added to our foods  -
and the subsequent links to ill health.

 'Village Milk' sells raw milk through a vending machine set up in
the building in the yard of their farm... (Top picture

 Here you buy a glass bottle for $4 out of the dispenser or take your own.
You put it in the cabinet, put money in the slot, the bottle is cleaned
with a burst of steam then filled with creamy raw milk.


At first Mark and Phillippa were millking just one cow, "Thirteen" and
sharing the milk with their family and friends. They knew about the benefits
of real milk and their family and friends were so keen on it, they decided to
test their herd to see how many of them were A2. Of the thirty-five tested,
seventeen were A2 - many more than they had anticipated.
They were delighted.
It was at that moment that they decided to scale things up.
Next thing was the dispensing machine. Considerable research on what
would be best involved a trip to Italy. 
Several months later the machine had been shipped and installed
and by Christmas 2011 they were dispensing 'real  milk' at their own farm.

In April 2012, as daily sales crept up, their 'Notice of Registration for
the Village Milk Risk Management Programme' was issued.
This meant they now had a registered RMP that could be applied
 to their farm and other farms as well. The RMP was required in
order for them to run the cowshed and produce milk for domestic supply.

 Because it’s not pasteurised raw milk is not widely available, but the
current Food Act allows people to buy up to 5 litres of raw milk at
the farm gate for personal or family consumption.
Village Milk has been franchised into a few other areas too.

Their cows are mainly Friesians, with some crossbreeds. Phillipa
and Mark have two herds of about 30 cows each. None of their
cows are fed anything artificial or any hormones. One small herd
produces calves and of course milk. They are milked while the
other herd is out on the pasture and getting ready to produce the
next lot of calves... In this way the herds are naturally rotated.

If you are interested in the science behind A2 milk, as a lot of their
customers are, have a look at this link on 'the science

This is "Thirteen"... The matriarch and most gorgeous cow you'll
ever meet. Thirteen produced 55 litres per day last spring. She's the
only cow Mark and Phillippa brought with them when they moved
from Temuka... There's a bit of a story behind Thirteen actually...

They were shopping for some heifers one day and when they got to the
farm, Thirteen came straight over and started chewing at Mark's shirt. They
bought the heifers and re-tagged them once they'd got them home. What
ear tag came up for her... Yes 13 again... And the 13 just kept coming.
Thirteenth's calf was the 13th one born on their farm that year...
And this happened three years in a row. Each year Thirteen
would pop out the 13th calf.
Thirteen has three daughters on the farm, Daisy is the oldest, then Ella
and a new heifer calf called Bella.

The contact they have with the girls is fantastic. They see them
all every day and get to know them. Even though the herd is
small there is a strict hierarchy, more so than in a big herd.

At Village Milk in Golden Bay Mark and Phillippa take a
great pride in knowing the public are drinking real, unaltered
and hygenic milk. The milk has a rich creamy flavour and is
full of real nutrition, the way Mother Nature intended it.
The feedback from their customers has been tremendously rewarding.
To subscribe to their newsletter, look here...

The regulations to sell raw milk are very stringent, unlike commercial
herds milked for Fonterra where the cows are not even washed
before milking. All the dirt on the udders and teats goes into the
milk and is processed out along with all the goodness, put into
cartons and sold at the shops as 'milk'... No comparison.

Here's a recipe... I don't like milk as milk but I love yoghurt...

 Village Milk is a revolutionary offering on the New Zealand market.
It is real milk, sold fresh at the farm gate. Completely natural and
unaltered. The enthusiam for this real milk has reached fever pitch.
People love the taste, they love the health benefits and love
supporting their local farmers.
If there is not a Village Milk farm in your area get a group of people
together who would like to buy it and get it couriered.
Look here to find your nearest farm...

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