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Milk-O-Matic A Big Hit in Slovenian Farmers Markets

Milk-O-Matic Raw Milk Dispenser

Milk-O-Matic Raw Milk Dispenser

New Technology in the Old World Offers Fresh Milk Straight from Farm

by Sylvia P. Onusic, Guest Blogger

Photo Credit: Lidija Slana of Ljubljana

Slovenia, on the “Sunny Side of the Alps” is a small country of about two million people located directly east of Italy, south of Austria, and north of Croatia. Slovenia successfully fought a short war for independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, and held the Presidency of the EU in 2008.

The capital city, Ljubljana, is a very charming Austro-Hungarian style Old World town, where almost everyone speaks English. The downtown old city hosts a large farmers market (trznica) every weekday and Saturday during the entire year where green grocers, farmers, flower vendors, and local townspeople sell their wares. Whatever is blooming, budding or for picking in the forests shows up at the market.  Living in Slovenia for 6 years, I learned a lot about quality of life and a big part of that involves the availability of home made and local foods. Slovenes are also no strangers to raw and fermented foods which are traditional and honored foods. In the market during the fall, raw lacto fermented sauerkraut and its juice, and pickled turnips, have been available for years.

A Traditional Culture Embraces Technological Innovation

A recent addition to the market is a “mlekomat” – an automatic raw milk machine which dispenses non homogenized, non pasteurized milk from cows on Alpine pasture, which are not ever treated with antibiotics.  This summer I visited Slovenia and had the opportunity to use the machine and drink the milk. The machine dispenses milk in a variety of quantities, and bottles can be purchased to transport the milk. Patrons also can bring their own containers.

Mlekomat

Mlekomat

I heard about the presence of the machine in the market and made it my goal to find it when I next visited the market.  I located the object in question, walked back and forth quickly, and decided to approach.  I was lucky enough to be able to observe a few patrons using the machine. It was truly a delightful experience to watch the machine in action for the first time. Each patron performed the procedure very matter-of-factly, using their  container of choice, and then went their way.

See the Milk-O-Mat in Action

For a look at the process on You-Tube, see the operation of the melkomat owned by Potokar Farms by a young, handsome Slovene man who is delighted with the machine.

My Encounter with the Mlekomat

Like the young Slovenian in the film, I was excited when it was my turn, and couldn’t wait to taste the milk. I was sure something would go wrong, the machine would stop functioning, the machine would run out of milk, or the milk would not taste good. There were directions on the machine, in Slovene language, but it was easy to use. The milk was the richest, creamiest, loveliest and most delicious surprise I ever have had. Safe to say, my experience with the mlekomat made me a fan. I returned time and again. Each time I wondered, how is it that a small country like Slovenia, and other countries in Europe, could trust their citizens to buy this lovely milk without any intervention such as milk police, or large looming signs, not only once, but  day after day?

Fresh Daily Direct from the Farm

Fresh Daily Direct from the Farm

The mlekomat system was developed in Switzerland, but perfected in Italy, where it is now very popular and called latteria. The Bar area where the milk is dispensed, is disinfected after each use with a special UV antibacterial lamp. A special fan repels insects.

Health inspectors have a special control card which enables them to examine the status of the functioning of the machine, whenever they like,  back to one months time. The temperature is automatically checked every twenty minutes by the software. The program of the milk machine does not allow dispensing of milk more than 24 hours old, or if there has been an uncontrolled rise in the temperature of the milk. The Farmer who owns and maintains the machine is constantly informed about the status of his machine through a GSM module in his phone.

Small Farms Are Saavy at Direct Sales

The Farm's Photo on the Mlekomat

A Farm's Photo on the Mlekomat

The farms that own the milk machines are very entrepreneurial, customer friendly, and have web pages which present their farm, nutrition, and information about the mlekomats. On the Potokar Farms website you can even join their Facebook group.

Here is a link to the Facebook page for mlekomati.

Customers Have 24/7 Convenience

Consumers can buy a prepaid milk card at local shops for 20 Euros which entitles the buyer to two free liters of milk. The card can be refilled.  One liter costs about one Euro, or $1.30. Smaller or larger amounts than a liter can be purchased.

The mlekomats, open 24 hours, have been such a success, that in a very short time, after their introduction this summer,  three machines are now in operation in Ljubljana and in 11 Slovenian cities. At the opening of the first machine, Simona Prevec, the governmental representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, pointed out that “the consumer now has the opportunity to buy fresh milk everyday from local farms.”  Can you imagine that happening in America?

Slovenian Scientists Attest to the Health Benefits

Slovene researchers found that the fat from homogenized milk accumulates on the walls of blood vessels.  Maja Tomkiewicz-Vouk, a chemical technology engineer, feels that all homogenized milk should, like the cigarettes in packages, come with written warnings that homogenized milk causes blood vessel damage. She further stresses that the body cannot absorb calcium from homogenized milk. In addition, she explains that pasteurizing milk destroys most of it health giving properties, which makes processed milk not worth consuming, only for calories.

Sylvia P. Onusic

Sylvia P. Onusic

Sylvia P. Onusic holds a BS in foods and nutrition, and a PhD in Health Education and Wellness, and has completed studies to qualify for RD (Registered Dietitian). She was a home economics teacher for many years.  Her concentration is in holistic nutrition with a focus on the evolution of food and the human body in relation to food allergies and disease.  Sylvia is the mother of two teenage sons, one on whom has celiac disease. She has several food allergies as well.

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Comments

  1. Devon Hernandez says:

    This is amazing, and I wish we had them here!

  2. Now THAT’S the way to do it!!
    When can we get these all around the UK please?!
    We have been fooled long enough into believing that the, ‘good for you safe milk’, is pasteurised and homgeonised.

  3. paula becquart says:

    Excellent! Good to know other countrys have made it possible to get raw milk out to the people in a safe & efficient way. Gives me hope that we may see the same here in the not so distant future!

  4. Great story Kimberly. BTW, have you seen what Nicholas Kristof says about Slovenian health care in comparison to American?

    http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/slovenian-health-care-secret-legal-raw-milk/
    .-= The Bovine´s last blog ..Slovenian health-care secret: raw milk! =-.

  5. Heather H. says:

    God bless their government for caring about the people enough to actually want what is best for them! What a concept 🙂

  6. Thank you for posting this, Kim. I don’t know whether I’m more inspired that this exists somewhere, or depressed that we’re so far away from something like this in the US!
    .-= Ryan Platte´s last blog ..Laying out some of the 125 windows we’ve collected for covering… =-.

  7. Dear Sir
    I am looking for such raw milk dispencers. I would be obliged if you could please send me some info with a price structure. Initially my inquiry is to source 100 such machines. We would require a know how and how the machines function and also if our local currency can be adapted into the machine , electrict connections etc.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  8. Hi I´m from Slovakia and I´m interesting in that machine and I´d like to buy one. Please send me and information about machine – what brand (trademark) is this .
    Thank you Sambo

  9. Great Article,
    I love Slovenia! what a fabulous idea, hope that teh whole world gets into it soon. x
    .-= Louisa´s last blog ..Getting down to the real root issues of your root canal =-.

  10. david reynolds says:

    hi i am interested in maybe setting up a milk vending machine and was woundering could you send me on a broucher of your machine thanks

    david reynolds

  11. While other businesses are shrinking, Fresh Healthy Vending is expanding and currently has career opportunities nationwide. Help us change the way America is eating by joining the team.

  12. Fresh Healthy Vending Careers says:

    Fresh Healthy Vending addition the company not only belongs to the traditionally recession-resistant food industry, it is also in the healthy and natural foods category which has been expanding in recent years as more and more consumers have America is eating by joining the team.

  13. zülfiye says:

    çi? süt otomatlar?n? fiyatlar? ne????????????

  14. zülfiye says:

    çi? süt otomatlar?n? fiyat?n? ö?renebilir miyim????????

  15. Konrad Pszowski says:

    Dear milk producers,
    we are Polish producer of raw milk vending machines.We can sell You very good quality with very good price.If You interested in this way of selling raw milk or any other farm products (cottage cheese, eggs, cream etc), don’t hasitatet to conntact with me. I will send You more information with prices.You can find us on alibaba (search for company MILKMAT).http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/121021336/MILKMAT_MIDI_v1_1_mlekomat_.html
    mob             +48 600 831 210      konrad.pszowski@milkmat.pl
    Konrad PszowskiMILKMAT

  16. Potter Aba Aba says:

    We want to invest in any country contact us for more details we are ready to start co operation.Email potterchrist@yahoo.com

Trackbacks

  1. […] of Slovenian raw milk automat is from Kimberly Hartke’s blog — which Cathy Raymond calls “The Huffington Post of Real […]

  2. […] We know this isn’t about walking but we just had to post it! Raw milk is available from automatic vending machines in several Slovenian cities. Buy a bottle or BYOB! We think this is fantastic and its things like […]

  3. […] Milk-o-matic big hit in Slovenian Farmers’ Markets Jump to Comments Ever seen a milk-o-matic?  Probably not, unless you’ve been to any of a handful of small European countries (including Slovenia and Switzerland).  They’re like vending machines, but for fresh milk.  Check it out here. […]

  4. […] Tim Wightman, NTP Talk, Robert Burns, Sally Fallon Morell, Stanley Fishman, Stephanie Small, Sylvia Onisuc, Peg Beals, Ted Beals, Susan Blasko, Tom Maurer, The Bovine, The Complete Patient, Steve Bemis, […]

  5. […] Milk-O-Matic–A Big Hit in Slovenian Farmers Markets by Sylvia Onisuc was a facebook sensation, and generated emails from a number of folks interested […]

  6. […] Raw Milk Machine For those familiar with the struggle raw milk supporters are facing in the US, here is a refreshing bit of news. The Mlekomat – a machine that dispenses raw milk from Alpine pastured cows – has been a huge success at farmer’s markets in over a dozen locations in Slovenia.  Sylvia Onusic writes about this inspiring story at Hartke is Online. […]

  7. […] about raw milk vending machines in Italy and on Kim Hartke’s blog they have a post about raw milk vending machines Slovenia.  Last semester I got to know a girl from Italy, so I asked her about whether she knew of […]

  8. […] one of my favorite countries, Slovenia, on the other side of the Alps is also starting to set up raw milk vendors. Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands have started to install machines […]

  9. […] one of my favorite countries, Slovenia, on the other side of the Alps is also starting to set up raw milk vendors. Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands have started to install machines […]

  10. […] became interested in Slovenia when she published Sylvia’s stories about the “milk-o-matic,” the automatic raw milk machine available in Slovenia, and after hearing Sylvia speak about Slovenia at the Second Annual Raw Milk […]

  11. […] pasture raw milk 24/7 at the push of the button. We didn’t try it ourselves, but I found one stamp of approval claiming it’s the “richest, creamiest, loveliest, and most delicious surprise” […]

  12. […] only perfectly fine to consume, but also the best they can get.  In fact in Slovenia, they have raw milk vending machines!  (Watch it in action … you buy a washed & sterilized glass bottle and fill it with raw […]

  13. […] Milk-O-Matic A Big Hit in Slovenian Farmers Markets […]

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