FRESH MILK » Andrea & Stuart Weir: Real Milk Timaru

PHOTO: Andrea and Stuart Weir, from Real Milk Timaru, say their fresh milk home delivery service has gone from strength to strength.

Since the Covid-19 lockdowns Real Milk Timaru’s home delivery service has gone from strength to strength, increasing by 30%.

“It was the convenience factor during lockdown of having milk delivered direct to the door. We’re still picking up new customers every week,” says Stuart Weir who runs the business with wife Andrea from their Glenwillow Farm in Timaru.

The fresh, non-pasteurised, and non-homog enised milk is delivered two nights a week to Timaru town and to Waimate, Fairlie and Pleasant Point weekly. Just like the good old days people leave their empty glass bottles at the gate and freshly filled bottles are delivered. If people are not home they can stipulate the milk be left in a garage fridge or chilly bin.


“People love the fact there is no wastage and it’s the best milk they can get. It’s what everyone wants to get back to.” says Stuart.


The Weirs are in their seventh season supplying the milk direct to consumers. They started the business after a number of people enquired at their farm about buying milk. Their milk is also dispensed via vending machines in their retail shop with customers serving themselves and pay ing via the machine. Real Milk Timaru has grown steadily and now accounts for about 15% of their business. It’s a side business to their supply of Fonterra but gives them more control over the return of their product by adding value to it.

It’s a labour of love. The Weirs keep 15 of their cows separate, which are milked once a day, for Real Milk Timaru. These cows, which are typically their lowest somatic cell count cows and lower end producers, are milked before the main herd.

They are hand washed, iodine teat sprayed and hand dried before the cups are put on. Their milk is tested every week for consistency and bacteria count.
It also dictated the design of their milk shed, a parallel parlour with DeLaval plant.
Stuart says they didn’t want a rotary because Real Milk Timaru necessitated a cleaner shed.
Their shed has a pan that runs the length of the pit for effluent so nothing goes onto the floor of the shed. With automatic cup removers they only need one staff member. It is also a rapid exit shed as the head bail lifts up and the cows just walk forwards and out.

The dairy shed and shop with viewing area have become popular with schools and kinder gartens. Andrea takes the tours where kids get to feed calves and sample the milk. There are probably two generations who have never had access to a farm. This shows kids where their food comes from and helps bridge that rural-urban divide,” says Stuart. 

The couple farm 100ha with 200 holstein/ friesian cows. They winter milk around 160. Both Stuart and Andrea are hands on farmers and typically work 10-hour days starting at 6am each morning for the milking. They calve at the end of February to give a winter supply herd for Fonterra and Real Milk. No bobby calves are sent off the farm - all of their calves are either replacement heifers or beef cross calves sold on for the beef industry.

They have just finished building a 170 metre deep well. This will replace their water take from Salt Water Creek, which runs through the farm and give them greater water security over the summer months.