Of all the stories that came out of our Dairy Days project launch event last year – one of the most interesting was from local woman Mary Dinsdale who told us that her husband, Wilson Dinsdale, had a milk vending machine in Hawes in the early 1960s. The machine had already been installed between the chip shop and the car park on the High Street and Wilson bought it as a going concern. We know nothing more about it as Mary wasn’t able to take part in the Oral History side of the project – but if anyone has any memories or photographs of the machine we’d be delighted to hear from you.
The Hawes vending machine is long gone, but with the wholesale price of milk being so low, as discussed by retired dairy farmer John Simpson in his oral history recording, there is a growing trend for today’s dairy farmers to retail their own milk direct to the customer, and modern vending machines are one of the ways for them to do this. We were delighted to hear that Wensleydale will be getting its very own milk vending machine once again.
We’ve been following the progress of Ben Spence of Thorngarth Home Farm, Aysgarth since the beginning of the Dairy Days project. He’s one of the new generation of dairy farmers who see diversification and adding value to his milk as crucial to his business model. The farm is developing its own raw milk cheese, which we’re pleased to say benefited from one of our Sustainable Development Fund grants. They have also invested in a milk vending machine which will be out and about in March in an adapted horsebox. We can’t wait to try some farm fresh milk from it – with the cream on top, just like we remember from our childhood!
Follow the Spence family’s progress on The Home Farmer Facebook page and Twitter account. Check out The Home Farmer Instagram account for a wonderful photo montage of them building their brand new state of the art cow shed last year.