A SOUTH Lakes farm famed for its devotion to traditional farming techniques is about to jump into the 21st century.

At Old Hall Farm in Bouth, near Ulverston you will see vintage tractors and steam engines working alongside 1940s dairy technology, but now the farm is taking a leap forwards.

With the help of their Jersey cows, owners Charlotte and Alex Sharphouse, and their son Joe White are introducing a machine - the Milk Bot - never used before in the area.

A milk vending machine will go into action next week, providing one of the latest health trends to the public - raw milk.

Raw, or unpasteurised, milk, is a niche product not ordinarily available in supermarkets.

By not going through the pasteurisation process many of the good bacteria and nutrients remain for the benefit of the drinker.

Mrs Sharphouse said: "As we already make our own ice cream on the farm, we are able to pasteurise our milk on site, making us one of the first to offer both raw and unpasteurised milk.

"My son, Joe, milks the cows in the morning before going to his day job as an animal feed consultant and working on his masters degree in animal science. He then comes home to check on me and his cows!"

The milk will be available from a vending machine at the front of the farm, with it set to go into operation on Tuesday.

Natalie Dennison, a group secretary for the National Farmers Union, was positive about this new innovation.

She said: "The customer will know where their milk is coming from. It's a diverse way of enhancing the value of their product."

For many dairy farmers their businesses rests on a knife edge. Price wars between supermarket chains that drive milk prices down can have devastating consequences for farmers.

At Old Hall Farm, they are confidant that the quality of their dairy cows will shine through, and encourage people to give raw milk a try.

Mrs Sharphouse said: "Milk serves as one of the best sources for calcium consumption and the new 'Milk Bot' will offer completely natural, extra creamy ‘Gold Top’ Jersey milk, with no preservatives or additives."

The financial benefits of this new machine will be seen in time, but Miss Dennison is confident that it will promote a discussion about the difficulties dairies face.

She said: "The more we talk about British farmers, you are educating people on why we should support them."

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