Food / Slovenia / Technology

James and the Giant MLEKOmat!



You should’ve heard the conversation. We were strolling through the fantastic open-air City Market in lovely Ljubljana, admiring the rows of fresh produce, local honey, and the straight-from-the greenhouse mums. 

Something loomed in our peripheral vision, and we came to an abrupt halt in front of a … contraption!

“What in the world do you think that is?” James asked.
“Well, it’s got a cow on it, so maybe it’s an ice cream vending machine,” I replied.
“Well then what are all those bottles for?”

Just then a young guy walks up, pumps in some coins, retrieves a bottle, and the process starts. One of the little doors opens – he places the bottle over the spigot … and voila! Milk comes shooting out. We were gobsmacked!


It turns out that a Mlekomat is a raw milk vending machine. Evidently, farmers from the Ljubljana countryside fill up the milk machine with fresh, raw, unprocessed, unpasteurized, unskimmed milk. I know that those of you who grew up on farms already know the joys of fresh milk, but for city kids – what a treat!

So anytime, day or night, 24/7, you can get your milk straight from the cow. … well, almost. Imagine that!

Has anyone else run into a MLEKOmat?

Peaceful Trails,
Terri & James

49 thoughts on “James and the Giant MLEKOmat!

  1. It is interesting. But I have to say I am sorry, the first thought I had was to wonder how they keep the machine clean. I grew up on a dairy farm, and we went to great lengths to keep the bacteria count down in the milk.

    • This is a good question, and here’s the company answer:,en,midi,14.html

      When I was a kid, my grandfather had a small dairy farm, and when we visited, fresh milk was always on the table. As you know, sanitation is always an issue with any fresh food, but sadly, the Mlekomat is an interesting concept that would probably never make it in the US. Lawyers would be lined up around the block. ~James

    • Kathy, I’m sure there are lots of people that would love the option of un-processed milk. I suspect that pasteurizing changes not only the flavor but also the chemistry. Humans have been drinking the natural stuff for a long time, and we made it to the top of the food chain. 🙂 ~James

  2. Almost like having a cow and a milking machine behind the wall. 🙂 Doesn’t sound like milk can get much fresher. I milked a cow once and tasted the warm milk direct from the udder! –Curt

  3. Wow, what an awesome vending machine! Nope, never heard of that, but I love the concept. Fresh from the press. 🙂

    In Belgium, we have had fresh bread vending machines for a while, so when the bakeries are out of their daily supply, or at funky hours, you can always get a fresh bread out of the machine. There are tons of those spread around cities and villages.

    • Liesbet, I was in Belgium not long ago, and I didn’t see one of these machines – at least that I recognized. What a great idea. I know for me I would want a fresh butter machine next to the bread machine. But, at that point, it would be unlikely that the bread would make it home. ~James

    • Darlene, when I saw the coffee aficionados in Europe drinking vending-machine espresso, I knew there had been a sea change in attitudes. There’s a business idea there somewhere – vending machine maple syrup for Canadians? 🙂 ~James

    • That’s an interesting point Henry: what certain cultures will and won’t buy from vending machines. I passed through a large airport recently and saw a vending machine selling iPads, phones, etc., and I asked myself who on earth buys that kind of stuff at an airport vending machine. Of course, later I thought that I order stuff just like this online all the time, and I can’t even see the real product. Interesting, no? ~James

    • I don’t know of many food products that doesn’t taste better fresh, so cutting a few steps and some time between the cow and consumer must certainly help. It certainly tasted great to me. ~James

  4. Just when I thought I’d seen it all. How cool is that. I agree with your earlier comment though, it would never fly in the USA. The worst part of that is, even with all our regulations, we still have salmonella and e. coli outbreaks regularly. I’ll bet fewer people get sick from untreated milk than lettuce and ground beef!

    • Interesting point Laura. Thinking back on the recent food-related outbreaks, you’re right: there seem to be fewer milk-related issues than veggies and beef. Of course, most of this information comes from news organizations who are always looking for the next headline-grabbing scare. ~Jamees

    • Peta, in these days of natural products and their health benefits, I’m surprised that we don’t see more of this sort of thing. I mean, why not? The technology lends itself to all sorts of products – liquids especially. ~James

    • Chris, I’d expect this sort of vending machine someplace like Austria or Switzerland, but not in Slovenia. We rode a bus through the countryside and I don’t remember many cows. But they’re out there somewhere. ~James

  5. I grew up on a small farm and never liked the taste of fresh milk, I think it was the fact I had to go get the milk straight from the cow and on a cold morning not much fun.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Terrie.

    • I was hoping you’d check in Joyce. Since I was a wimpy city kid, I’m not surprised that our experiences with milk on the farm are different. The next time I see you, I’ll want to hear some of your stories. BTW, you’ll appreciate this one. The few times I helped Pa Fred with milking he sent me to the corn crib to get “nubbins” for the cows. Mostly, I was terrified that I would run into what I just knew was the 10-foot snake that lived in the crib … or a few of the huge rats. 🙂

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and Dascal as well. Love, JH

    • LuAnn, I’d never really considered it, but after seeing this vending machine I realized how unusual it is to see unprocessed milk. If you’re like me, you hardly ever drink that evil, wicked, artery-clogging 🙂 whole milk, let alone fresh-from-the-cow stuff. ~James

      • We have the convenient store vending machine here in Memphis. You can buy pretty much anything from it that you would find at a gas station convenience store, even milk. Of course our vending machine milk is in pre-packaged bottles and has been thoroughly cleansed of anything that might be good for you, or bad for you depending on your perspective. 😉

    • Rusha, it was certainly interesting to see. I’m sure there’s someone at the CDC shaking their head in disbelief and wondering why more Slovenians are dropping like flies. But they’re probably also wishing they could have a Ceasar Salad. I know I am. ~James

  6. When I was a girl my grandmother had a milk delivery from a local farmer. She left a quart jug outside in her porch and he filled it up from his churn. She lived to 88.

    • Anne, your comment paints a delightful picture of your granny, her porch, and a lifestyle that’s long gone. My grandfather had a small dairy farm, and when I visited, I drank nothing but raw milk. I also helped him carry his big, metal milk cans up the hill to the main road where someone picked it up every day. BTW, this probably has nothing to do with the milk, but he smoked unfiltered cigarettes his entire life and liked a drink sometimes … and he lived to be 91. I hope I have a few of his genes. 🙂 ~James

    • Joanne, in the US (and Canada as well I suspect) there are all sorts of health guidelines that would make this simple idea cost prohibitive. Depending on one’s POV, it’s either big government nosing into our lives or protecting us. Political considerations aside, it was pretty cool. ~James

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