Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Being a person of mature years, I can well remember the days when the milkman would call daily (except Sundays) and leave fresh milk on the doorstep in glass bottles. For some years, the Old Bat and I were part of an ever-declining number of people who supported the local dairy, refusing to haul our milk from the supermarket, even though supermarket milk was considerably cheaper.  We believed - or maybe just hoped - that the milk delivered to our doorstep (by now on just three days a week) was fresher than could be bought at Tesco or Asda or wherever and had probably travelled fewer miles.  But when the dairy used an increase in VAT as a reason for putting up prices, I cancelled our order.  VAT is not charged on milk so an increase in the tax was not a valid excuse for a price rise.

One of the few speeches I learned in preparation for exams when at school mentions milk.  It is a speech by Lady M in Shakespeare's Scottish play in which she says that her husband is "too full of the milk of human kindness" to take the shortest route to acquiring power.  I don't think any of our supermarket companies could be charged with being too full of the milk of human kindness towards dairy farmers.  For years, farmers have complained that they are forced to sell their milk at prices lower than the cost of production.  This, I imagine, applies mainly to the smaller farms; huge, industrial-sized concerns will reap the benefits of large-scale production, quite possibly by keeping their herds indoors instead of letting the cattle roam the pastures and eat their natural food.

We are warned, too, that world production of milk is increasing while consumption - notably in China - is falling.  But I am not interested in long-life (UHT) milk, I want fresh milk, the fresher the better.  And if it needs another 5p or 10p on the price of a pint, I'm quite prepared to pay that - so long as it is the dairy farmer who benefits.


joeh said...

I remember the milk delivery. I also remember in the spring a faint taste on on onion as apparently there was some sort of onion grass they fed on for a short time.

Don't drink much of it anymore, just a bit in my coffee.

Sarah said...

We were still having milk delivered by a milkman until the children were small and the round was discontinued, probably because so many people were buying it cheaper from supermarkets.

I would happily pay more per pint for my milk too were the proceeds to go towards the dairy farmer - something has to happen and hopefully it will very soon.