Farming family milking revolutionary new idea to keep their business afloat

Pictured at the official opening of the Milking Parlour at Sabden are the Gill family who are  (left to right) Alan, Gillian and Bobbie, Edward and Nichola and their daughter Lorna.(s)
Pictured at the official opening of the Milking Parlour at Sabden are the Gill family who are (left to right) Alan, Gillian and Bobbie, Edward and Nichola and their daughter Lorna.(s)

A farming family, faced with the devastating prospect of having to selll off their dairy herd, have gone back to tradition with a revolutionary idea that is sweeping the UK.

And the Milking Parlour in Sabden is now offically open for business.

Run by the Gill family, they are now selling milk direct from their cows to the public after striking on the new business venture to keep their business going in the face of massive losses every month.

Nichola Gill, whose husband Edward, the eldest of five children, runs Cockshott Farm with his brother Alan and their dad, Bobbie, said: “We had a really successful first day, seeing many friends and family who came to support the business along with lots of villagers and customers who came from as far away as Rochdale and Manchester.

“Customers have been coming in thick and fast and we have already established some daily regulars. The support we have received has been fantastic and we are delighted to hear how much people have taken to drinking our own raw milk.”

The Gills hit on hard times as supermarkets were paying them 16p a litre for milk but it was costing them 25p to produce it.

Now, by selling direct to the public they can charge £1 a litre and although it is not all profit, due to running costs that have to be covered, at least the family are making something and will not have to face the idea of selling their 60 strong herd.

The milk, which has not been pasteurised or homogenized, is available for the public to buy from a vending machine inside a special cow print shed at the farm .

The Gills join the UK’s 200 producers who sell raw mill direct to consumers either at a farm, farmers’ market or through a delivery service.

Each bottle will display a warning that the product has not been heat treated and may contain organisms “harmful to health” and each dairy that sells it must conform to higher hygiene standards.

Inspired by a farm in Suffolk when it appeared on TV’s Countryfile show, the Gills visited the farm and decided it was the way forward for them also.

Nichola (26) added: “The milk is perfectly safe and is very good for you. Not many people realise you can drink raw milk if you are lactose intolerant because it is the pasteurisation process that creates the allergy problem. It is also good for eczema sufferers.”