RESIDENTS clinked their milk bottles and said cheers as they celebrated the unveiling of a south Lakeland farm's vending machine with a difference.

Old Hall Farm in Bouth opened its latest dairy venture in front of an audience of local business owners and pupils from Leven Valley Primary School on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Historic working farm will offer raw milk thanks to a new milk vending machine

The historic working farm has made its fresh Jersey milk available on tap by installing a new 'Milk Bot' vending machine, allowing customers to purchase a bottle and then fill it up with the creamy liquid.

The Milk Bot is located at the farm entrance for visitors to access between 8am and 8pm every day, providing farm fresh, chilled, pasteurised and unpasteurised (raw) milk, straight from Old Hall Farm's herd of Jersey cows.

New commercial ideas

Farm owner Charlotte Sharphouse said: "It's important we get the word out that the Milk Bot is here for everyone to use across the south Lakes area.

"The Milk Bot arrived mid-September but we wanted to have an official ceremony to mark the occasion because this is a big investment for us.

"The struggles of the farming community at this time are well documented and we must constantly look for ways to keep our business commercially viable.

"We already pasteurise our own milk to make our ice cream which has become really popular, so it seemed like the next logical step to sell the milk directly to our customers."

The need for diversification has seen more and more farms across the country set up raw milk vending machines, with a similar scheme at Low Sizergh Farm proving to be a big success.

Raw milk means its has not going through the pasteurisation process so many of the good bacteria and nutrients remain. It is increasingly becoming a health trend.

Official launch

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, cut the ribbon of the Milk Bot and opened the vending machine to the children who got their first taste of the milk offering.

He said: "It has been a pleasure to visit Old Hall Farm and see the diversification taking place here.

"Charlotte, Alex and Joe have a really unique offering and are constantly looking for ways to grow the business in to a commercially viable farm with great success."

The machine is completely self-service, meaning a person can conveniently pick up a pint or two of Jersey milk, and it accepts both cash and card.