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Monday, 29th March 2021

Wholey Cow, another first for Louth, milk in a bottle from a vending machine!

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The Milk Shack is the brainchild of Tomás Smyth who says the vending machine, which fills reusable glass milk bottles, “is the first one in the South.”

Roadside vending machine supplying ‘Wholey Cow’ milk in glass milk bottles, “is the first one in the South"

 
By Elaine Keogh

An enterprising County Louth farmer has opened Ireland’s first ‘Milk Shack’  where a self-service vending machine supplies ‘Wholey Cow’ milk from cows who are milked just metres away.

The Milk Shack is the brainchild of Tomás Smyth and he says the vending machine, which fills reusable glass milk bottles, “is the first one in the South.”

The vending machine steam cleans itself automatically after each bottle is filled and as it is a contactless service, it is also Covid friendly.

“It is an idea we had a couple of years ago and we decided to use milk from our own dairy herd,” he explained. 

The milk from his Friesian and Jersey cows is collected, pasteurised, filtered and bottled within two hours every day at the farm in Dromiskin, county Louth.

The milk is also used to make milkshakes at the Milk Shack.

There is a once off cost for the glass bottles, which are in half litre and one litre sizes and can be brought back to be reused. The 1L bottle is €3.50 and the 500mls is €2.50.  The milk itself is €1.50 a litre or €1 for a half litre.

Tomás said, “It is a niche milk, it is not the same milk you get in the supermarkets or your local shop. It is coming from straight across the yard so it has less miles on it and all we do is pasturise it gently, filter it and it is chilled and ready for the vending machine.”

Tomás said, “we always had milk in glass bottles at home before we came up with ‘Wholey Cow’ and I think it tastes nicer and it lasts longer in a glass bottle than in plastic because a glass bottle is colder in a fridge.”

“We also decided to go with glass because it is environmentally friendly and it is kind of going back to the way it was many years ago of people wanting to support local and support farmers trying different things. We hope people will support us.”

One of the first customers was Gabriel Bell who said, “there are less air miles on it, it is not on a lorry going somewhere, it is literally right beside us. It is lovely, I will be back again and it is good to reuse the glass bottle.”

Pictured at the 'Milk Shack' on Smyth's Farm where they have sold out every day since they opened is proprietor Tomás Smyth with his nephews Fionn and Oisín Dromgoole.

Oisin McGuinness said, “there is a definite difference in the taste, there is a creaminess to it and an old school taste to it.   We would be big into our sport and usually have  smoothies every day, this milk is very creamy and really brings out the taste of the other ingredients when you have a smoothie.”

Kelly Kinahan, Dromiskin said, “ it’s lovely to be able to see the cows whose milk you’re buying, grazing in the lush fields that surround the farm, there’s something very wholesome about it. The milkshakes are a great incentive too, it really helps encourage my kids to drink more milk.”

 “During Covid I am more comfortable buying from a smaller producer and cutting back on time spent indoors in a supermarket or shop,” she added.

Cliona Corrigan said, “I have 3 boys at home and they are mad for milk shakes, one is big into Gaelic football and getting the protein in the milk into him (is important) and with this we also know where it is coming from.”

Tomás hopes that the Milk Shack, which has sold out since opening on Friday, will allow him to provide full-time work on the farm to other members of the family and also look at expanding his range of products.

Pictured at the 'Milk Shack' on Smyth's Farm where they have sold out every day since they opened are Smyths brothers Cian, Aaron and Tomás.

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