Search

Do you remember how milk used to taste? - Coston Hall farm embraces the raw milk revolution

PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 July 2017

John Gill, centre, and his brother, Mark, (right) and their family, with their Coston Hall Dairy raw milk which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. From left, Florence Gill, with Archie Gill, four, and Rose Gill, six-months-old; Pippa Francis, four; Theo Gill, six; and Zara Francis, six. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John Gill, centre, and his brother, Mark, (right) and their family, with their Coston Hall Dairy raw milk which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. From left, Florence Gill, with Archie Gill, four, and Rose Gill, six-months-old; Pippa Francis, four; Theo Gill, six; and Zara Francis, six. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Mark and John Gill grew up drinking milk straight from their family dairy in its natural, unpasteurised state.

John and Lizzie Gill with their Coston Hall Dairy raw milk which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY John and Lizzie Gill with their Coston Hall Dairy raw milk which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Now the brothers are hoping to tap into a growing number of raw milk drinkers by installing a vending machine on their farm at Coston Hall, between Dereham and Wymondham.

For £1 for a one-litre bottle buyers can just turn up to the farmyard and help themselves to fresh, cold, raw milk.

John’s wife Lizzie, who has come on board to help with the marketing and promotion of the product, says it gives people the real taste of milk, as it should be.

“It’s quite creamy and sweet,” she said. “With pasteurised milk they take all the cream out during the heating process and then add it back in so it is not actually a whole milk. I started drinking it when I came to the farm and I love it, and everyone who comes here and has it in a cup of coffee remarks how great it tastes.”

The Coston Hall Dairy raw milk vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Coston Hall Dairy raw milk vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pasteurisation was invented by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century and aims to reduce viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause illness or disease.

But Mrs Gill said if the herd is healthy then the milk will be too and it is their job to ensure every cow is in tip-top condition.

“We have to pass certain hygiene standards and had to be approved by the Food Standards Agency,” she said. “The herd is continually tested and we welcome that.”

The fact the 300 dairy cows are fed on their own grass and home grown forages is key in that respect. They graze the marshes along the River Yare from early March and then calve over 12 weeks from the beginning of August. Each cow yields on average 7,000 litres a year.

A bottle is filled with the Coston Hall Dairy raw milk from the vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY A bottle is filled with the Coston Hall Dairy raw milk from the vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nothing is wasted either. Even the muck is put in the farm’s biodigester to produce electricity for the National Grid.

Mr Gill, who runs the dairy while brother Mark is in charge of arable operations, said although only a very small percentage of their milk yield was being sold through the vending machine scheme, with the rest going commercially, it did feel like they were getting a bit more control back.

“Milk prices have been a bit dire for the past few years and I think this will always be a sideline, but we like seeing people come to the farm and educating their children about where milk really comes from. We have had some great feedback already.”

Zara Francis, six, and Theo Gill, six, carry the Coston Hall Dairy raw milk, which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Zara Francis, six, and Theo Gill, six, carry the Coston Hall Dairy raw milk, which is dispensed at their farm by a vending machine. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Why drink raw milk?

The Gill family say there is plenty of information available about the benefits of raw milk but want people to make their own minds up about whether it is right for them.

There certainly appears to be a revolution in favour of leaving it in its natural state. Proponents of raw milk say:

* The pasteurisation process reduces the nutritional quality of milk products. Research has shown a decrease in manganese, copper, and iron after heat treatment.

* Cows fed fresh green forage, especially those grazing grass, have been shown to have higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (beneficial in lowering body fat) and essential fatty acids in their milk.

* Nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D and immunoglobulins (antibodies) found in raw milk naturally boost the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies.

Visit the farm’s website for more information.

Other news

Yesterday, 12:34

The retired owners of a golden labrador bundled into a stranger’s pick-up truck have pleaded for her safe return.

Yesterday, 12:22

He has lived around the world for nearly 40 years, but now after returning to the region he is coming to Diss to sign copies of his new book.

Yesterday, 12:11

The Arts Society of Diss have been encouraging youngsters to get involved with art by helping students to experience different aspects of the artist world.

Yesterday, 10:53

For the 10th successive year, the Hethersett Methodist Church Council will host a Christmas charity market sale.

Most Read

Yesterday, 07:00

A controversial housing application which was rejected by a planning inspector has been resubmitted - much to the anger of villagers.

Read more
Breckland Council
Thursday, February 6, 2014

It was its down-at-heel aura that first attracted Polly Grieff to the crumbling Old Manor at Saham Toney.

Read more
Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Norfolk drugs baron who was caught smuggling cannabis hidden in a lorry-load of flowers from Holland has been ordered to pay back more than £1m in ill-gotten gains.

Read more
Thu, 16:46

A pressure washer and bank cards were among items stolen from a garage in Wretham, near Thetford.

Read more
Wed, 06:00

Waste paper collected from Norfolk households is being shipped 13,000 miles away to China for recycling – rather than being processed here.

Read more
Norfolk County Council

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 0°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter