Selling raw milk from their front gate is a dream come true for Mike and Chris Richmond, owners of Hump Bridge Milk.
The self-serve shop is on Pokuru Rd about 2km South of Te Awamutu — just past the 'hump bridge'.
The purpose-built cow shed and shop sits on 8.4ha surrounded by greenery and views of Mt Kakepuku.
Twelve hand-picked grass-fed cows produce about 180L of fresh, unpasteurised milk daily.
"The cows have a good life," Chris says.
"They're so happy wandering in and out of the shed once a day."
It takes about 45 minutes to milk the cows every morning, most of that time spent on cleaning each individual teat.
Each cow's teat is cleaned thoroughly, sprayed and wiped down before being milked.
The milk is filtered and passes through an 'ice-bank' system to get cooled down.
It can then be enjoyed by customers straight from the chilled self-serve dispenser at $3 a litre.
The vending machine self-sterilises after each pour.
Customers can bring their own bottle or buy a sterilised Hump Bridge glass bottle for $5.
The shop's second vending machine sells bottles, chilly bags and extra bottle caps.
You can also buy a credit stick to load up with cash and then use over time.
Mike and Chris were both born on dairy farms and grew up drinking raw milk.
The couple have farmed together for their whole married life — more than 30 years.
"I've dreamed of selling milk from my front gate ever since I started milking cows," Mike says.
"There's something special about selling a good quality, fresh and healthy product that people are passionate about."
Hump Bridge Milk opened this month and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, Chris says.
"People love the milk because it's natural — it hasn't had the goodness stripped out of it."
And people love the glass bottles, both for environmental and nostalgic reasons.
Customers also report the milk tastes and pours better from a glass bottle.
Chris says people love pouring the milk on their porridge or cereal, or adding a dash to their tea and coffee.
"People are also experimenting making butter and cheese. Raw milk is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but a lot of people are saying they'd never buy supermarket milk again."
Mike and Chris have gone above and beyond to comply with food and safety requirements and gain council consent, and the milk is regularly sent to Hamilton and Auckland for testing.
The shop is self-service, but Chris and Mike are sometimes on-site to help people fill their bottles or have a chat.
"It's Mike's favourite part of the business," Chris says. "He loves meeting new people and sharing the benefits of fresh, raw milk."
¦Hump Bridge Milk is at 161 Pokuru Rd, open seven days a week 7am to 7pm. The vending machines only accept cash. Find Hump Bridge Milk on Facebook or contact 0274 858 767 or email@example.com