Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Putting a stamp on the family’s dairy with milk vending

Putting a stamp on the family’s dairy with milk vending

Having milked cows in Donegal since the early 1990s, the Porter family have not only grown their dairy farming business from 30 to 450 cows, but they’ve added an element of diversification through the commissioning of a milk vending machine.

This diversification has been driven by Shannon Porter, who detailed the reasoning for installing the milk vending machine, the bumps along the way in terms of regulation and how social media plays an important role in growing her customer base, as part of a recent farm diversification webinar – Dairy on Demand: Farm-Fresh Success with Milk Vending.

A graduate of Harper Adams, Shannon was looking to put her own stamp on the family’s dairy farming business. With two brothers already involved, she looked towards the installation of a milk vending machine to add value and to generate additional income from the farm.

Located in a log cabin at the entrance to the family’s dairy, the Milk Bar opened in September 2021 and sells pasteurised milk directly to customers from the family’s grass-based, spring-block calving herd. Depending on the week, between 600 and 1,500 litres of milk are sold direct to customers, with the summer months and Christmas being the peak time for sales.

Through the use of a vending machine, milk sales are completely self-service running 24/7, thus allowing Shannon to continue in off-farm employment. As well as on-farm sales, a proportion of milk is sold to local restaurants and coffee shops, while a collaboration with a local ice cream manufacturer has added another element to the business.

Selling milk as a premium product, Shannon wants her customers to understand how it is produced and opens the farm up for school tours and visits to show the full cycle of dairy production. This, along with the use of social media, allows her to attract more customers and reach a further audience for her product.

For those considering following suit and installing a milk vending machine on their farm, Shannon advised them to carefully budget and understand the regulations pertaining to food safety when assessing the potential of milk vending on their farms.

For more on Shannon’s story and on milk vending, along with a presentation from Unison Process Solutions, watch a recording of the Dairy on Demand: Farm-Fresh Success with Milk Vending webinar below:

For more information on farm diversification, click here.