John Gordon farms in the very north of Scotland. He has 94000 Free Range hens and also farms potatoes and cereals over his two farms, one close to Tain and the other north of Fortrose. John was the first person in the whole of the UK to install one of the Farm Food Vending machines. After the success of the first machine at his Balmuchy farm John has since installed another identical machine down at his other site Rose Farm.
Why install a vending machine when you had never seen one operate before?
I had discussed with John Retson over a bottle of wine or two the idea of using a vending machine to sell eggs as appose to having an honesty box system. We both felt that this would be a safer and more controllable way of doing things but we had never seen a machine suitable. When the Roesler machine was brought to our attention it looked like just the thing. Sometimes you have to take a gamble and I liked the fact that we would have the only one in the country so decided to take the plunge and have one. The hardest thing was deciding what size to have and how many lockers to have. The idea of starting small and then bolting on extra lockers makes this easier but I think we did right in having a 56 locker set up.
Who is using your machines.
We get all sorts of people to the machines. The machine at Balmuchy is close to where the hens range so we get a lot of the older generation pulling up in their cars, having a flask of tea watching the birds then they get their eggs before heading off. I also decided to sponsor the local school football team and got them over for a photo shoot. Now they will not let their parents buy their eggs anywhere else.
You have house the machines in a very nice cabin. What was your thinking behind this?
I could’ve put the machines in a more basic cabin however I felt presentation is key. The machines look great being all stainless steel so why make it look less grand by sticking it in a rough looking shed. I always had the idea to have more than one machine and with having my own egg box design I felt we could start building a brand. If people can associate our nice cabins with these amazing machines as the place to buy their eggs then it all helps.
What is your future plans for the vending business?
I am already speaking with a few other farmers in other areas. They are people who farm vegetables and could use a machine on their site but also sell my eggs their too. Basically more machine on more sites.
Mr John Gordon