Boutique milk business brings glass bottle delivery back

Milk from Roan Farm will be sold in reusable glass bottles.
Milk from Roan Farm will be sold in reusable glass bottles. Photo credit: Supplied

A Canterbury farming couple is bringing home delivery of milk in glass bottles back, with the launch of a new 'farm-to-fridge' business.  

James and Chloe Davidson have established Darfield-based Roan Farm, which will produce sought-after A2 milk to sell door-to-door.

James Davidson said they had the idea after spotting mobile milking equipment for sale on Trade Me.

"We knew that if we didn't take a gamble and buy the milking equipment then we probably never would," he said.

Roan Farm's small herd is milked in a  mobile milking shed.
Roan Farm's small herd is milked in a mobile milking shed. Photo credit: Supplied

The unique mobile milking shed on a trailer provided huge flexibility for the operation.

"We move it every day. So our cows, which are 100 percent grass-fed, walk up onto the trailer and they're milked in the paddock," said Davidson, who is a former FMG Young Farmer of the Year finalist.

The mobile shed suits the "calf at foot system", which sees young calves wait nearby until the cows are milked.

Roan Farm is milking 15 cows, including a number of Milking Shorthorns, with plans to expand as demand grows.

Once the milk is harvested, it's pasteurised and then bottled.

Chloe Davidson said there were two main reasons behind the decision to pasteurise the milk.

"Pasteurised milk has a longer shelf life, so there is less wastage and it means we can sell it in cafes and supermarkets," she said.

Getting the new venture off the ground had been a big learning curve for the couple, who have two young children.

"We're farming our land organically. We're in the conversion stage, which is a three-year process until we're fully organically certified."

"We've been replacing a lot of dryland cocksfoot pastures with a mixed sward of 20-odd species of herbs, pasture and legumes."

Animal welfare, the environment, sustainability and the consumer were a key focus for the fledgeling family farm to fridge business.

James Davidson is a former FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist.
James Davidson is a former FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist. Photo credit: Supplied

"There's something nostalgic about having fresh milk delivered to your door from the farm just down the road."

The couple said the conventional dairy industry had some image problems and they were keen to lead by example to show what was achievable,"

"Our cows are grass-fed, our A2 milk will be delivered in reusable glass bottles and we plan to leave calves with their mothers."

The milk would be delivered to Darfield, West Melton and Christchurch initially and routes would increase with demand.

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