Sell­ing milk straight from the cows

Waikato News - - RURAL - By Bethany Rol­ston ■ Hump Bridge Milk is at 161 Pokuru Rd, open seven days a week 7am to 7pm. The vend­ing ma­chines only ac­cept cash. Find Hump Bridge Milk on Face­book or con­tact 0274 858 767 or info@hump­bridgemilk.co.nz

Sell­ing raw milk from their front gate is a dream come true for Mike and Chris Rich­mond, own­ers of Hump Bridge Milk.

The self-serve shop is on Pokuru Rd about 2km South of Te Awa­mutu — just past the ‘hump bridge’.

The pur­pose-built cow shed and shop sits on 8.4ha sur­rounded by green­ery and views of Mt Kakepuku.

Twelve hand-picked grass-fed cows pro­duce about 180L of fresh, un­pas­teurised milk daily.

“The cows have a good life,” Chris says.

“They’re so happy wan­der­ing in and out of the shed once a day.”

It takes about 45 min­utes to milk the cows ev­ery morn­ing, most of that time spent on clean­ing each in­di­vid­ual teat.

Each cow’s teat is cleaned thor­oughly, sprayed and wiped down be­fore be­ing milked.

The milk is fil­tered and passes through an ‘ice-bank’ sys­tem to get cooled down.

It can then be en­joyed by cus­tomers straight from the chilled self-serve dis­penser at $3 a litre.

The vend­ing ma­chine self­s­ter­ilises af­ter each pour.

Cus­tomers can bring their own bot­tle or buy a ster­ilised Hump Bridge glass bot­tle for $5.

The shop’s sec­ond vend­ing ma­chine sells bot­tles, chilly bags and ex­tra bot­tle caps.

You can also buy a credit stick to load up with cash and then use over time.

Mike and Chris were both born on dairy farms and grew up drink­ing raw milk.

The cou­ple have farmed to­gether for their whole mar­ried life — more than 30 years.

“I’ve dreamed of sell­ing milk from my front gate ever since I started milk­ing cows,” Mike says.

“There’s some­thing spe­cial about sell­ing a good qual­ity, fresh and healthy prod­uct that peo­ple are pas­sion­ate about.”

Hump Bridge Milk opened this month and the feed­back has been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive, Chris says.

“Peo­ple love the milk be­cause it’s nat­u­ral — it hasn’t had the good­ness stripped out of it.” And peo­ple love the glass bot­tles, both for en­vi­ron­men­tal and nos­tal­gic rea­sons.

Cus­tomers also re­port the milk tastes and pours bet­ter from a glass bot­tle.

Chris says peo­ple love pour­ing the milk on their por­ridge or ce­real, or adding a dash to their tea and cof­fee.

“Peo­ple are also ex­per­i­ment­ing mak­ing but­ter and cheese. Raw milk is cer­tainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but a lot of peo­ple are say­ing they’d never buy su­per­mar­ket milk again.”

Mike and Chris have gone above and be­yond to com­ply with food and safety re­quire­ments and gain coun­cil con­sent, and the milk is reg­u­larly sent to Hamilton and Auck­land for test­ing.

The shop is self-ser­vice, but Chris and Mike are some­times on­site to help peo­ple fill their bot­tles or have a chat.

“It’s Mike’s favourite part of the busi­ness,” Chris says. “He loves meet­ing new peo­ple and shar­ing the ben­e­fits of fresh, raw milk.”

Pho­tos / Bethany Rol­ston

Chris and Mike Rich­mond, own­ers of Hump Bridge Milk.

Raw, fresh milk flows from the self-serv­ing dis­penser.

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