When it comes to practicing what I preach, there is room for a lot of improvement. I am limited by where I live, my current budget, my knowledge, and my bad habits, and I act in a way that goes against my ideals more often than I’d like to admit. I manage to swing big dinners with my housemates and friends several times a week, and that’s definitely a great source of joy in my life. One arena in which I feel secure about my behavior is in the YOGURT sector. To finish off this post, I’d like to tell you about why buying yogurt makes me happy.
I’ve been eating yogurt every day for years now. It is a delicious source of protein that can be enjoyed in many different ways. For most of this time, I didn’t really care what brand I was buying or even notice a difference between brands. One day, my boyfriend sat me down and confessed to me that he’d been going steady with a particular yogurt farm for over a year: Butterworks Farm, located in the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, conveniently available at the grocery store in our neighborhood. Butterworks is owned by a husband and wife team who have been farming organically together for over twenty five years. All their Jersey cows are born on the farm, and the cows eat food that is grown organically on the premises. Jersey milk has a high butterfat content, and the “Jersey Milk” variety of Butterworks yogurt is truly the most delicious and creamy yogurt I’ve ever had. And who can resist this face?
Some of my housemates and I drove up to Vermont a few weekends ago, and we decided to stop by Butterworks on the way, to see if they really were the way they said they were, to learn about how they did what they did, and hopefully to make some good connections. I called up the farm and Jack Lazur talked to me for over fifteen minutes about directions, the things we would see on the drive up, how his cows were doing, and he even asked about what I did in the big city! I hung up the phone a little starstruck, amazed that someone who ran a business could be that informal and genuine.
The trip itself confirmed and went beyond everything we had hoped for about Butterworks. The drive was beautiful. We watched I-93 change from Boston congestion through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, then continued on I-91 into Vermont. After a certain point we took small roads through the Northeast Kingdom, speechless at the sight of so many farms and beautiful mountains. We didn’t even know when we’d arrived because the farm was so small. Unfortunately, Jack was running an errand when we got there, so we didn’t get to meet him, but a friendly farm employee gave us the full tour. We learned how small an operation the farm really is: there are around fifteen people in total on the payroll, with about half taking care of the fields and cows and the other half in yogurt production.
We left the farm with ten pounds of beans, a box full of yogurt (including the ever-elusive Maple flavor), and confidence in our brand loyalty. I think that this visit illustrates a good strategy for the kind of food habits I want to develop: Know where your money is going, and establish personal relationships with the people who produce your food. It’s comforting to know that as long as Butterworks continues to do business this way, and as long as I live in New England, my purchase of yogurt will benefit the forces of good.
Next on my list: milk. My ultimate dream is to own a Jersey cow of my own, but for now I’ve gotta find someone I can trust to make it for me. Stay tuned.