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24/7 Raw Milk Dispenser (French Tale)

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24/7 Raw Milk Dispenser (French Tale)

Once upon a time, there was a dairy farmer in the south-west of France who was struggling to make ends meet. One day, while surfing the web, he uncovered what he believed may be his ticket to a prosperous future. Sure enough: two years later, he’s already boosted his yearly income by 25 percent without increasing his production. And that’s only the beginning. The trick, borrowed from his Italian peers? Two raw milk vending machines set up outside local supermarkets.

“The local dairy processor was buying my milk 0.24 euro/liter at the time I set up my first vending machine. Overnight, I was selling 200 liters of milk per day at 1 euro/liter directly to consumers,” Michel Cantaloube explains. He keeps 100 percent of the proceeds, since the supermarket CEO, Patrick Bardot, to whom Michel Cantaloube brought his idea, understood the lure of a machine providing fresh raw milk 24/7 outside his door. He offered Michel Cantaloube a free spot with free electricity, in exchange for the commitment that the farmer would not colonize any other supermarket chain with his raw milk offering.

Consumers collect precisely the volume they pay for: 0,2 liters for 0,20 euros, 1/2 liter for 0,50 euros, 1 liter for 1 euro or 2 liters for 2 euros.

“Leclerc has a strong presence on each side of town, so I felt that gave me a big enough opportunity,” the farmer says in reference to the giant French distributor. Today, his two Italian-made vending machines sell 400 liters daily, or 20 percent of his production. Each one represents a 40,000-euro investment, 30 percent of which was covered through government grants.

Here is certainly one lucky dairy farmer with many lucky customers. No armed SWAT team descending on his family farm in the wee hours of dawn, as has transpired in America, nor seizing his vending machines against public will. In fact, the 24/7 direct-sale initiative has drawn national attention.

The sale of raw milk is legal in France. The regulation calls for controls of the product by the public veterinarian services three times a month, with one extra in-depth analysis every quarter; the assessment of the health of the herd once a month; and the inspection of the sanitary conditions of the milking facility once a year.

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.

81 comments

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12:38AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Dear milk producers,

we are Polish producer of raw milk vending machines.
We can sell You very good quality with very good price.
If You interested in this way of selling raw milk or any other farm products (cottage cheese, eggs, cream etc), don’t hasitatet to conntact with me. I will send You more information with prices.
You can find us on alibaba (search for company MILKMAT).
http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/121021336/MILKMAT_MIDI_v1_1_mlekomat_.html

mob +48 600 831 210
konrad.pszowski@milkmat.pl

Konrad Pszowski
MILKMAT

12:31AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Dear milk producers,

we are Polish producer of raw milk vending machines.
We can sell You very good quality with very good price.
If You interested in this way of selling raw milk or any other farm products (cottage cheese, eggs, cream etc), don’t hasitatet to conntact with me. I will send You more information with prices.
You can find us on alibaba (search for company MILKMAT).
http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/121021336/MILKMAT_MIDI_v1_1_mlekomat_.html

mob +48 600 831 210
konrad.pszowski@milkmat.pl

Konrad Pszowski
MILKMAT

9:17AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/23/1919106/wash-creamery-recalls-raw-milk.html

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/16/1908676/california-recalls-quarantines.html

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/24/1919403/cozy-vale-creamery-raw-milk-products.html

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/25/1920189/contamination-spurs-recall-of.html

Enjoy your poison..

2:19PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

wow, that's great

4:02AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Well done to Mr. Cantaloube! I hope he reaches his goal and is an inspiration to small farmers everywhere. My mother gets raw milk from her local dairy in Wales. Buying local produce is a great way to support the members of your community.

10:55AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

How awesome! I wish America were this forward thinking.

10:56AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

buying from this vending machine still means paying the taxman, and making profits for Leclerc.
In my Village (Thones), there are vending machines set up by the dairy farmers' co-op. They put the milk in every morning, they pay no supermarket to sell it for them, and the tax is minimal when you cut out the middle man.

1:42AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

Cow milk is for cows.

Cow milk is NOT good for humans.

You don't even need to drink milk on a regular basis because you get plenty of calcium from a wide variety of other food sources. EX: You can get calcium from Orange juice.

12:47PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Blend of tradition, science and new technology. Thanks for the story.

1:59PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

@Emilykin I.
Unfortunately, the sale of raw milk IS illegal in Ontario and in the rest of Canada--has been since 1991: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_milk#Canada
Here is a petition that challenges the current legislation: http://naturalmilk.org/
Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt tried to circumvent the law by setting up a "cowshare", whose members would be legally allowed to consume the milk of the cows they "own". His example has been followed elsewhere, especially in the US. Last month, however, he was found guilty of 15 of the 19 charges brought against him.

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