Billy Smith getting raw milk from the vending machine. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

chelsea.boyle@age.co.nz

The raw milk business has been quietly growing on Chester Rd, as about 100 litres of milk are emptied out of a vending machine every day.

Clareville Fresh Milk owners Renee and David Smith kicked off their business in early January as the first registered and certified raw milk suppliers in Wairarapa.

The couple were pleased with how the business had picked up.

“We had to be getting close to that 100 mark to make it a viable business,” Mrs Smith said.

But they began consistently hitting that mark from mid-January.

“Some days, way more than that,” she said.

People lining up to collect the milk have been making the most of the reusable glass bottles that are for sale on site.

About 2000 bottles had been sold since the business started.

While regulars refilling their bottles had been rounding out the numbers of visitors, Mrs Smith said she was still meeting new people all the time.

“It’s awesome — there are still lots of new people popping in,” she said.

“It’s been really neat seeing such a vast range of people coming to get it, from young mums, to elderly, to everything.

“So many people are interested in it.”

Some customers had told her it had helped with their children’s eczema, she said.

“Children love the taste.”

Mr Smith said they had recently employed a helper because of the way the business had grown.

Not only would it take the pressure off over the winter months, but it was cool the business had created a job, he added.

In the future, Mr Smith would like to get closer to selling 200 litres a day.

Gradually building the business up had worked well, he said.

“We are pretty happy with the way it is going.

“All the testing we have been doing is going really well, so we just have to keep up with that.”

The milk is tested daily on site.

The vending machine is on 60 Chester Rd, just over the railway tracks.

It is open from 7am-9pm daily and batch information is provided on an overhead whiteboard.