Fill ‘er Up, Elsie!

We’ve had gasoline filling stations for some time. Many grocery stores today have water filling stations for filtered water fans. Now, we have the milk filling station.

A German dairy farmer has come up with a novel way to drum up new business — he opened a “milk filling station.”

The “Milchtankstelle” near Cologne in the town of Neunkirchen-Seelscheid dispenses the output of 78 cows from a stainless steel vending machine. Customers can either bring their own empty containers or buy milk bottles to fill up.

This story from Reuters News Service goes on to say the station is doing good business.

“I only had a few customers before I opened the station because they had to come at set milking times, which was a problem,” dairy farmer Bruno Stauf told Reuters. “Now they can buy my milk whenever they want.”

The milk filling station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers can select the amount of milk they want to purchase at a price of 70 cents per liter. They insert the money, put their container under the nozzle and press a button.

For those of you without a calculator handy, that 70 cents a liter price works out to about $2.65 a gallon. That’s a great price for consumers. Apparently, it’s a good price for farmers as well. Another example of how farmers can be better off selling their products directly to consumers.

Farmer Stauf tells Reuters what he gets from the commercial diaries has declined as discount supermarkets have put pressure on the dairies to lower prices they pay the milk producers.

“For half a year were only getting 20 cents per liter and when it’s like that, you have to do something else,” Stauf said.

At 70 cents a liter, the milk from the filling station is more expensive than at some supermarkets, but Stauf, 55, points out the advantages of tapping a machine for fresh milk.

“There’s a lot more protein and fat in it because it is not treated like the milk you get in normal supermarkets,” he said.

What’s more, the farmer says his customers tell him the processed milk in the stores just doesn’t taste good anymore. Now you might understand why the raw milk movement here in the U.S. is growing. Would you buy raw milk from a machine? Or are you afraid that unpasteurized milk might be dangerous? Let us know by clicking on the comments link below.