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Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
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9:31 AM 27th July 2020

Famous Local Cheese Shop Now Features The Region’s First Cheese-vending Machine!

The popular Courtyard Dairy at Austwick near Settle has invested in what is certainly a regional, if not national, first: a cheese-vending machine offering a selection of the shop’s superb quality cheeses. The vending machine is located just outside the shop in a newly-constructed self-service ‘chalet’.

The owners, Andy and Kathy Swinscoe, originally came up with the idea after seeing similar machines when visiting cheese-makers in Switzerland. They decided to copy the idea as one of several new initiatives they have had to put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been a challenging few months during which we have had to adapt quickly,” said Andy, “Most of our shop, wholesale and café business disappeared overnight when the lockdown was imposed, so we had to heavily promote our online and mail-order business to ensure traditional farmhouse cheese-makers could still find an outlet for their cheeses.”

“Since the relaxation of the lockdown rules, an issue has been how to serve the customers in our tiny shop whilst maintaining social distancing, coupled with finding ways to entertain those who kindly queue outside. The cheese vending machine is our attempt to make things easier for our customers, minimising contact and allowing them to buy cheese even if the shop is busy and they haven’t got time to queue. And the vending machine is open from 8 am to 8 pm, longer hours than the shop, which will mean those passing on the busy A65 can still buy cheese even when the shop is closed.”

As well as the cheese vending machine, the ‘chalet’ also features ice cream and coffee vending machines so visitors to the site can refresh themselves – which is particularly appreciated by those queuing for the shop.

The coffee on sale in the ‘chalet’ is produced by a top-quality Italian bean-to-cup takeaway coffee machine, using local free-range milk and freshly roasted coffee from Casa Espresso in Shipley, whilst the ice-cream vending machine stocks Bouncing Cows Ice Cream made a couple of miles away by dairy farmers Fiona and Gary Robinson.

So next time you’re travelling on the A65 and see The Courtyard Dairy signs, pop in to enjoy what is a truly unique service in the area.