2018 - Volume #42, Issue #6, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Raw Milk Vending Machines
The machines, made by DF Italia in Northern Italy, are typically located at farmers markets, near shopping centers or schools, and sometimes right at a dairy farm. The company produces several models ranging from starter units about the size of a refrigerator, to much larger ones that are about 9 ft. tall, 14 ft. wide and 7 ft. deep. The machines cost from $8,000 to $25,000 and are typically housed inside covered metal or wooden 3-sided enclosures.
A milk producing farmer buys a vending machine, obtains the required licenses, has the machine inspected as needed, and keeps it stocked. Itís a way for a producer to sell his product direct to consumers without middleman intervention and achieve far more income in the process.
European consumers pay about $1.50 a quart to fill their own containers. That figures out to about $6 per gal., far more than what they usually receive for milk from conventional processors.
The raw milk supply in self-serve machines, typically with butterfat up to 4.2 percent, is held in bulk containers ranging in size from 50 to 160 gal. Machines are well-insulated and keep the milk at 37 degrees, regardless of extreme outside temperatures. Mechanical agitation and the constant cool temperature keeps milk fresh for up to a week, but the popularity of vending requires some machines to be refilled daily.
Maintaining a clean, sanitary machine is the producerís responsibility, with some farmers using a smart phone app that logs sales information, monitors milk levels, and provides alerts if the machine malfunctions. Inspectors have key access at any time, and consumers seem to be using the machines with increasing regularity.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, DF Italia srl, Via Enrico Fermi 5, 36066 Sandrigo VI, Italy (www.dfitalia.com).
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