It’s a well established fact that my family is obsessed with Stonyfield yogurt! And back in August I had the incredible opportunity to fly out to Vermont and tour several of Stonyfield’s organic dairy farms. It was an amazing experience and I learned SO much!
I’ve tried to type out this post a million times but found it difficult to encapsulate such a rich experience into a single blog post. That being said, I’m going to give it a try :)
Food is so much more than feeding your family. The products that you serve in your home have an impact far beyond your kitchen table. In the case of Stonyfield, it starts with the dairy farms where they source their milk.
Close to Home
My ties to dairy farming go back two generations. My Grandpa Jim took over the family farm at age 16 and devoted his life to his livestock, his land, and his family.
Even as a child, it was easy to see the amount of passion, patience, and dedication that went into my grandpa’s work.
Running the farm was a family affair…
And an immense source of pride…
Shopping at the supermarket, it can be easy to forget the faces, the families, behind our food. Touring Stonyfield’s farms was an important reminder.
Green Wind Farm — Enosburg Falls, VT
Our first stop was Green Wind Farm where we met Julie Walcott, Stephen MacCausland, and their family. Stonyfield is in the process of helping Green Wind transition to an organic herd. Julie milks 25 head and it’s clear that she has a special bond with her animals – these cows are like children to her.
She knows them each by name and is incredibly invested in doing what’s best for the herd. As Julie transitions her dairy operation to her children, organic practices will help ensure the sustainability of their small farm for future generations. And when Green Wind becomes USDA Certified Organic, Julie’s herd will be welcomed as another supplier for the Stonyfield products we love.
This is exactly what sets Stonyfield apart. Stonyfield doesn’t just buy milk – they work side-by-side with their dairy suppliers. While touring the farm, I had the pleasure of meeting Kyle Thygesen, Farm Relationship Manager for Stonyfield.
Kyle works one-on-one with farmers to help navigate organic certification, establish business plans, and address questions on health, productivity, and profit. With Stonyfield’s educational opportunities and resources, farmers have the support they need to better provide for their farms and their families.
Wonder Why Farm — Cabot, VT
Next up we met the Churchill family at Wonder Why Farm. Jen, Morgan, and their two adorable kids, run a dairy operation that has embraced a new level of technology – a robot milks their cows!
The Churchill’s dairy operation was nothing short of fascinating. The cows line themselves up, enter the milking room one-by-one, and a robot does the milking! This new technology is a brand new take on herd management.
The robot is able to report on a variety of stats – when a cow is milked, the quality of the milk, etc, and alert Jen and Morgan of any potential issues with a cow. And with the robot taking on the traditional milking duties, the Churchills are able to focus on other areas of their operation.
Food with a Mission
Touring these two very different dairy operations was eye-opening. And seeing how Stonyfield was an advocate for and partner to each of them was inspiring. I will truly never look at a carton of Stonyfield yogurt in the same way. Buying Stonyfield is a purchase I’m proud of.
Thank you Stonyfield for an amazing weekend in the gorgeous state of Vermont and introducing me to the 12 other fabulous bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.
From left to right: Ann Fulton – Fountain Avenue Kitchen, Me ;), Jessica Morrison – 30 Something Mother Runner, Lynda McMillen – Me and My Pink Mixer, Sarah Bates –The Chef Next Door, Erin Huiatt – Midwest Mom and Wife, Ashley Covelli – Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen, Michelle Palin – My Gluten-Free Kitchen, Calley Pate – Back to Calley, Dianna Muscari – The Kitchen Prep, Leah Segedie – Mamavation, Angela Bekkala – Happy Fit Mama, and Nicky Omohundro – Little Family Adventure