Published: August 28, 2020 | Updated: February 7, 2022

Feast for foodies: Farm shop on wheels brings 46 locally sourced products direct to your door

Shane Byrne of The Milk Cart. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

It’s a farm shop on wheels  – and it’s proving a real hit.

The Milk Cart is the brainchild of Shane Byrne and Michelle Petford.

And although the business only launched earlier this year there are already nearly 50 products available.

They range from milk, cheese, eggs and yoghurt to meats, jams and even rice pudding.

All are sourced from within 32 miles of Bournemouth and Poole.

Shane, 39, said: “My background is farming in Ireland.

“I have been involved in agriculture pretty much all of my life, either working on farms or selling to farmers.

“Michelle and I met five years ago.

“We have always had a desire to start our own business but we knew it would have to be something a little different.

“We always liked the idea of farm shops and supporting farmers.

“We also knew that buying local from farms that reared their animals outdoors was very important.

“It was also important to give them a fair price for a premium product.”

Originally planned as a milk round for Bournemouth and Poole, the idea took on a new dimension after Shane and Michelle met Dan Miller and Alex Rawe of the Dorset Dairy Co.

The Stalbridge business now supplies eight of The Milk Cart’s 46 products including milk – whole and semi skimmed – cultured butter, cream and yoghurt.

Shane said: “Dan and Alex gave us a great start.

“They were really supportive of us and we found them great to bounce ideas off.”

Another key supplier is The Open Air Dairy at Littlebredy near Dorchester, owned by Tom and Kelly Foot.

Shane, who worked in dairy breeding, said: “Tom’s farm was the first one I worked on when I came to the UK.

“They were delighted to supply us.

“The Open Air Dairy now supply us with a lot of cheese for our delivery round, market stalls and wholesale side of the business.”

Other suppliers to The Milk Cart include:

  • The Book & Bucket Cheese Company, Cranborne (cheddar, halloumi and brie).
  • Fluffetts, Fordingbridge (free-range eggs).
  • The Salt Pig, Swanage and Wareham (beef, pork and lamb).
  • Ajar of, Sturminster Newton (jams and chutney).
  • Woodbridge Farm, Sturminster Newton (rice pudding).

Shane said: “We are fortunate to live so close to so many great producers.

“Our aim is to source local artisan produce and deliver straight to the door, keeping food miles low.

“Supporting local is very important to us.

“Our ethos is to supply quality, fresh and free-range food direct from local farms.

“We want our customers to know where their food comes from.

“We believe in giving farmers a fair price for their products and keeping food miles to a minimum for lower environmental impact.”

Launched pre-Covid, Shane said the lockdown had dramatically affected business.

“Everything went crazy within a few days.

“We went from having ten to 15 customers to delivering to around 80.

“That brought a demand for more products.

“Things have tailed off a little since the lockdown was lifted but many stayed with us,” he said.

Apart from deliveries – free in the Bournemouth and Poole area if you spend over £5 – The Milk Cart also attends pop up markets with Bournemouth and Poole mobile market and Our Planet Zero Waste.

Every Wednesday, it is at The Dorset Soldier at Corfe Mullen and, on Thursday, at The Chequers Inn, Lytchett Matravers.

The Milk Cart has also started supplying local coffee shops with milk, creams, yoghurt and cheese.

Shane said: “Our next big thing will be our mobile milk refill station.

“We have it ready to go and our plan is to set up our pop-up shop and refill station in areas that don’t have easy access to fresh non homogenised milk and our Dorset products.

“We are really excited about this.”