French farmers sell to the public using vending machines
Set up by a group of farmers in Tarn-et-Garonne, the shop sells fresh produce with ease of access at any time
It is the post-Covid farm shop – fresh produce, but sold from refrigerated vending machines.
Products on offer include seasonal fruit and veg, dairy items, bread, pasta, fruit juice, olives and meat, with pork, veal, rabbit, duck and poultry.
The customer chooses the food, presses the locker number, pays by credit card, and the door opens so the goods can be taken away.
The shop, set up by a group of farmers, is open from 6:00 to 22:00 at Albias, minutes from Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne.
Poultry farmer Hannah Gauleau-Mille said: “There is more and more demand for local, good quality food, and this is a way of supplying it without having to invest in staff, or having to take up our valuable time selling.
“My birds are outside and I have my own abattoir, so I can guarantee the quality.
“Our bread supplier uses local grain made into flour in a local mill, and we only sell what our farmers have to offer at any moment.”
After the first confinement, the farmers set up “Drive de nos Fermes”, where customers give an order in advance that they can pick up at distribution points twice a week.
'We had to diversify'
“We had to diversify because many in our group had to find new outlets as they could no longer sell to school canteens or restaurants.
“The locker system is ideal for people who want to shop without planning ahead, with ease of access at any time.
“We are near to a main road, so accessible. You can also reserve the contents of a locker, accessible by a code for up to six hours if you can’t get to us straight away.
“We think this type of scheme is a good idea for farmers in the future.”
They are not the first in France with this idea – there are a few others, but they believe they are the only ones with such a range of products.