Now that I’m done with Stonyfield for good, I’ve purchased a couple of tubs of different yogurts that are made with milk that has not been homogenized. I’ve eaten Sugar River Dairy’s Plain Whole Milk Yogurt twice this week for breakfast. Sugar River Yogurt is made in Albany, WI. They do not claim to be organic, but say that their yogurt is crafted from Grade A milk produced from pasture grazed cows on a local family farm. The ingredient list is as follows: Non-homogenized Grade A Pasteurized Milk, Nonfat dried milk, contains active cultures including I. Acidophilus, Bifidus and Casei. The nonfat dried milk might give some pause due to oxidized cholesterol, but this does not concern me since there isn’t significant cholesterol in nonfat milk in the first place. I think this is the route Sugar River has gone to thicken their yogurt. Stonyfield contained pectin. I understand that many who make homemade yogurt find that homemade yogurt is runnier than commercially available yogurt and this may be why. The yogurt tastes good. When I opened the package there was a thin layer of cream on the top. The second day, there was only minimal separation of whey from yogurt. It appears to me that Sugar River is doing everything right. They are local, while not organic, their cows eat grass. I’d rather have my yogurt come from cows eating grass than cows stuffed full of organic grain. I’ve also been shopping for local vegetables, meat, eggs and milk either directly from the farmers or from local stores. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to try a more locally produced yogurt earlier.
I’ve also tried Seven Stars Farm Original Plain yogurt from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It appears that Seven Stars is distributed more widely than Sugar River. Seven Stars Farm is located on 350 acres of land and they employee Biodynamic farming methods. Their packaging goes on to describe good farming methods including grazing from early spring to late fall and sustaining good fertility of the soil using crop rotation and farm composts. They say that they may use milk from neighboring Biodynamic and organic farms during times of high demand. Their yogurt contains only Biodynamic and/or organic whole milk and several live cultures. There was definitely a layer of cream on top when I opened the package. This yogurt is a bit lumpier than other commercial yogurts that I’ve seen, though I understand this is much more like home-made yogurt than something with a very uniform texture. It has a tangy taste and if I lived in Pennsylvania, it would definitely be my choice.
I think I’ll stick with Sugar River with Seven Stars as a backup, but I’m still going to sample my way through all the cream top yogurts that the Willy Street Coop carries with the exception of Brown Cow, which I guess I might buy if I had no other options, but it is a Stonyfield product and at this point I have no interest in supporting Stonyfield and their evil overlords at Groupe Danone.
My typical breakfast, inspired by the yogurt with fruit and granola at Macy’s in Flagstaff is back on track with good yogurt, a sprinkle of organic raw cacao nibs, half a cup of frozen fruit (or fresh fruit in season) and topped with about 1/4 cup of my home-made granola which is my best take on the awesome granola that they make at Macy’s. I’d eat their food more often, but it’s usually impractical to travel 1600 miles for breakfast.
Disclosure: I purchased all of the yogurt reviewed in this post. I received no compensation of any sort from Sugar River Dairy, Seven Stars Farm or Macy’s European Coffeehouse in Flagstaff, Arizona. I would not however, say no if they wanted to give me a free latte the next time I’m in there eating their yogurt with fruit and granola or any of their other great food.