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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Fisherwick Farm set to ‘milk it’ with green light for vending machine

A planning application for a milk vending machine at a farm outside Ballyclare has been given the go-ahead by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The application for a self-service milk vending machine and pasteurisation unit at Fisherwick Farm, Mill Road, Doagh has been approved.

The merchandising facility can sell fresh milk directly to the customer through a card or coin-operated vending machine with no additional packaging costs and can be regarded by farmers as a business opportunity to maximise income.

Dairy farmer Michael Patton said that milk will travel just 150 metres from the cows at Fisherwick Farm to the machine.

He explained that it will be pasteurised on the farm in batches to ensure it is fresh and then transferred to the vending unit.

Customers will then be able to purchase a “pinta” or a litre or two, from the machine which comes with a milkshake dispenser option. Customers will have the option either to purchase a bottle or bring their own container.

He is expecting the facility to be used mostly by local customers who will be able to see the farm’s 125 cows on site.

“It is about diversifying. It is nice to allow people to buy a product and know exactly where it is coming from,” said Michael.

He went on to say that he does not anticipate selling “a large amount” from the machine and the bulk of produce will continue to be sold to the dairy company as usual.

Fisherwick Farm is also taking part in a “Hospitable Butter” scheme to produce “more spreadable” butter.

Dairy farmers selling milk direct to customers is reportedly becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is creating an “on-farm” milk vending machine map of locations in the Province.


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