In the Moo-d for new venture

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A dairy farmer from Cornwall is bringing back the breakfast table staple of cream-topped milk in traditional glass bottles, with the unusual opportunity for customers to refill using a self-service vending machine.

Gemma Smale-Rowland has grown her own herd of pedigree Holstein cows, which started with an animal given to her for her 21st birthday by her parents. She aims to bring non-standardised, non-homogenised milk to customers direct from the farm with her brand Cornish Moo.

She has installed a specialised milk vending machine at the family farm at North Petherwin, Launceston. Customers can buy branded milk bottles for £1.50 to refill any day of the week, for £1.20 per litre.

Smale-Rowland is planning to build a network of local stockists so customers further afield can enjoy her milk. Whilst the milk is pasteurised, it is non-standardised which means every bottle will have a slightly different mix of cream to milk, and therefore bring a “unique taste”.

She said: “My cows graze on pastures for as many days throughout the year as the British weather will allow. We believe strongly in high standards of animal health.

“Every bottle will be ever so slightly different. The cream settles to the top, and each bottle is unique.

“It’s about traceability. You know exactly where your milk has come from, as well as enabling customers to re-use and re-fill their bottles. It’s gone full circle from when we used to have milk delivered in glass bottles by the milkman.”

Smale-Rowland is no stranger to the dairy industry, having won Best Young Farmer at the South West Farmer awards 2018. She is also a regular in the show rings at south west agricultural shows and is currently the only woman to sit on the National Farmers’ Union dairy board.

Cornish Moo has been generating interest through its Instagram account. The eye-catching branding featuring a milk bottle within a cow’s face was developed by Alex Graves from Truro-based graphic design agency Hutch.

Smale-Rowland said: “Alex has knocked it out the park. The black printed on a clear bottle to let the milk show through was my only stipulation. It’s clean and eye-catching, and it’s getting our product noticed.”