I like yogurt. And I like many different flavors and several styles and a number of brands. But no matter how many variations on this theme I try, there’s one brand to which I always seem to return, and that’s Seven Stars Farm. There’s a real farm behind this yogurt (many products with farm in the name do not come from actual farms); it’s 350 acres in southeastern PA.
They have a small number of cows for so much acreage, so yogurt output is limited. But that allows for more care in the maintenance of the animals and the production of the yogurt, and every bit of that care is needed, as this farm is certified biodynamic (a very labor-intensive system). If you’re not familiar with biodynamics, you can find an introduction here. (Note: Demand for Seven Stars Farm yogurt has increased substantially over time. Although the farm continues to use mostly their own organic milk in yogurt production, they must now bring in additional organic milk. Because of this, the yogurt is certified organic, but not certified biodynamic. The farm, however, remains certified biodynamic.)
One aspect of the yogurt made here I especially like is the small ingredient list. No thickeners, no added vitamins or minerals, no coloring agents—just unhomogenized milk, cultures, and, where indicated by flavor, organic vanilla extract or organic maple syrup. This yogurt isn’t as thick as some, as you might have guessed, and it’s not as sweet as many others, but it just plain tastes good. It doesn’t come in snazzy packaging, there aren’t any cartoon spokescharacters, and it’s not available in the latest ultra-antioxidant-fruit-of-the-moment flavor. It’s a simple product made by people who care about their animals and what they’re doing; maybe we all need more of such products in our lives.
Speaking of animal welfare, Seven Stars Farm is genuinely concerned with the well-being of their livestock. Between April and November, their cows spend most of their time on pasture. Cows’ tails are not docked, nor are the cows de-horned. Their stated goal is to keep their cattle “clean, comfortable, well-fed and free to move about as seasonally permissible.” Would that all dairies felt this way!
If I had to pick a favorite type of Seven Stars Farm yogurt, it would be their Whole Milk Maple (there’s a low-fat version, too). You’ll also find whole milk and low-fat versions of both the Vanilla variety and the Plain (I know someone who makes meals from the Vanilla or the Plain by adding granola and lots of fresh fruit). This yogurt always tastes fresh and creamy, no matter which kind you select. It is sold only in 32 ounce containers; while that seems like a lot of yogurt, you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll consume it.
The sole sticking point regarding Seven Stars Farm is availability. The yogurt is available in much of the eastern US, but this small business does not ship their products. More information can be found on the website, but be advised that what’s on the site lags behind what’s happening on the farm. If you can get your hands on this yogurt, consider yourself lucky!