15 Aug 2014

Village Milk

From Country Life, 9:29 pm on 15 August 2014

village panorama

Mark and Phillippa Houston sell raw milk from their farm near Takaka because they think it's significantly better than processed milk. Mark says that processing can spoil a lot of the benefits of milk.

In the real product you've got all the enzymes, the vitamins and the access to minerals that the milk provides and there's a huge amount of benefit there. With processed milk a lot of the vitamins and all the enzymes are gone and in terms of homogenising, the access to the minerals is largely gone as well.

The milk, that's collected daily from a herd of 22 cows, goes straight into an Italian-made dispensing machine where it's sold fresh at the farm in glass bottles.  

The concept is called Village Milk and, after the pilot scheme began at their farm in 2011, it led to inquiries from farmers and consumers throughout the country. Now there are Village Milk franchises on farms in Moutere, Greymouth, Oxford, Marton and Timaru.  

The current Food Act allows people to buy up to just 5 litres of raw milk at the farm gate - to drink themselves or give to their family. But this could change as this year the Ministry for Primary Industries has been asking for public feedback on options for the sale of raw milk to consumers.

Prior to moving to Takaka in 2010 the Houston's had a 200 hectare dairy farm in South Canterbury where they milked about 800 cows and supplied between 15 and 20,000 litres of milk a day to Fonterra. Now they are selling about 200 litres a day to the local community in Golden Bay.