Life is change. As we start 2018 I will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations, marketing or distribution, with Snowville Creamery. Victoria has been increasingly leading operations over the last year and is now firmly at the helm. She and I both each retain a 50% ownership position, as we work to transition to an employee owned business. It has been 11 years since we broke ground to build Snowville Creamery and 10 years since we started bottling milk and delivering it to our local Athens community. As proud as we all are of our outstanding products, we are even prouder of Snowville's $4,000,000 per year contribution to the local rural economy. There are few, if any, such food businesses in rural Ohio, and few such dairy processing businesses in all America. The year of 2017 reflects Snowville Creamery's striving for continuous improvement. It was the first full year as America's only dairy processor providing multi-state regional distribution of fresh A2/A2 milk and yogurt. Snowville introduced 8 ounce single serve yogurt and a new flavor, Maple, flavored and sweetened with only pure Ohio Maple syrup. Snowville rolled out in a dozen Philadelphia area Whole Foods Markets, and supplied one of the nation's first four Whole Foods 365 stores in Akron. I was able to continue advocating in Ohio and Washington DC for grass-based dairy and progressive food and agriculture policy, as a member of the Humane Society of the United States Ohio Agriculture Advisory Council, and with Tom Colicchio's Plate of the Union. Snowville Creamery has the finest team, is making the finest products, supported by the most highly developed infrastructure we have enjoyed. We launched Snowville Creamery with two fundamental goals. The first was to support grass based dairy farmers and give consumers the choice of outstanding fresh grass-based dairy products. We have succeeded in that mission. The second was to help steer America towards a functioning representative democracy through local community capitalism. Unfortunately, we have lost ground on that goal. This is now a primary focus for me. The external environment is increasingly challenging. People have less money to spend on food. Our biggest retail grocery partner is concentrating more on national brands and phasing out in-store sampling by local companies like Snowville. The National Organic Program administered by USDA is now controlled by big business industrial agriculture interests which are weakening the integrity of the organic label in opposition to overwhelming public sentiment. These anti democratic government food and agriculture policies make it increasingly difficult for businesses like Snowville Creamery to thrive, or even survive. The coming year of 2018 offers wonderful opportunity for progressive change in agriculture policy through the ballot box in a special 12th District Congressional election within a few months, and in the federal and state congressional elections this November. The multibillion dollar Farm Bill which is rewritten every five years is being taken up in Congress right now. It is impossible to properly thank you for years of partnership in our shared mission of rewarding dairy farmers practicing restorative agriculture on grass-based dairy farms and providing fresh grass-based dairy products for enjoyment and health. I have relocated to northeastern Ohio where my address is 516 Cuyahoga Street Kent 44240. My cell phone remains 740-541-7992. My email is now firstname.lastname@example.org I hope to have time to see you personally over the coming year, and thank you for your friendship and partnership in Snowville's audacious mission. With best wishes for the coming New Year, Warren Taylor
Snowville’s own Warren Taylor was in Columbus this week to attend the Presidential Picnic, hosted by the OSU Real Food Challenge team.
The team at Real Food OSU was awarded the Plate of the Union grant to put food systems issues on the front burner of the 2016 election. The result was the Presidential Picnic, held this past Tuesday, to which they invited as speaker Tom Colicchio, celebrity chef and host of Bravo’s Top Chef, and co-founder of the political action group, Food Policy Action, as well as food activist, Dara Cooper, an OSU alumna.
The Real Food Challenge was created to “…leverage the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. Our primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources—what we call “real food”—by 2020.”
Snowville Creamery wholeheartedly supports the vision of The Real Food Challenge, and encourages students and faculty to get involved. Learn more through the links above, and step up to the Challenge!
Warren encourages the Food Community to participate in the November election since Ohio and national food policies affect us all.
Yogurt should taste good. The judges at the 2016 American Cheese Society competition and conference think Snowville's yogurts do just that! Snowville Creamery brought home a second and third place ribbon for our 2% Low Fat Plain Yogurt and our 6% Plain Yogurt!
Have you tasted the difference yet?
Hi, my name is Jessie Maier. I just started working for Snowville Creamery this December. I graduated from Ohio State University in 2012 with my degree in animal science. After college I joined the Peace Corps as a sustainable agriculture extension agent. I lived in a small village in rural Senegal for two years teaching farmers alternative field crop management, agroforestry, and vegetable gardening techniques. I came back from Africa wanting to learn how to farm in America. I spent 7 months interning on a pasture-based livestock farm in Oregon. As my internship drew to a close, I started looking for jobs that would keep me connected to the sustainable agriculture community. I sent my resume to Snowville Creamery and I was thrilled when Warren Taylor called me and said Snowville would hire me.
As a new hire at Snowville Creamery and as an aspiring farmer, I was honored to be able to attend the Acres conference this year. I first heard about Acres while interning on a pasture-based livestock farm in Oregon. The farm received issues of the magazine monthly. I read the magazine and every issue got me inspired to research and try some new sustainable farming technique, not to mention that I was always blown away by the number of articles and the span of topics they covered. For instance, I can still remember stumbling upon an article about growing algae as a future food and fuel source. Imagine my surprise when the December issue given to everyone at the conference had an article on the farm that I interned for!
This year the annual Acres conference took place from December 9th to 11th in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference is a four days long. Amanda Peterson, Snowville’s Science Officer, Warren and I represented Snowville Creamery. We attended classes to gather information and inspiration to bring back to the creamery and to Snowville farmers.
Acres USA is one of the world’s leaders for sustainable, organic farming. They publish a monthly magazine that Snowville sends out to all their farmers. The magazine contains articles written by experts in their fields who are involved in growing environmentally sustainable products. Authors include farmers, ranchers, consultants, scientists and even chefs. Acres also publishes books on everything from permaculture to bee-keeping.
While at the conference I was aware of the huge amount of knowledge and resources that surrounded me. Not only from the lecturers, but from the other conference attendees. For instance, I talked to a farmer who owns thousands of acres in the Southern U.S. He grows everything from corn to soybeans to alfalfa hay to beef cattle. He farmed conventionally his whole life but he said that he’s sick of putting poison on his fields, of seeing his soil get worse with every passing year. He came to the conference looking for alternative growing methods. I met him the first day. We were in a session on growing high-nutrient crops together. He said coming to the conference was a huge risk for him—it could have been a waste of his time and money. But, and he looked like he might cry, in this first session all the risk was worth it. The biggest challenge would be finding a market in the Texas and Oklahoma areas to profitably sell his more sustainably produced soy, corn, hay and beef to. He is going to try though, even if it’s only a few acres at a time.
The class that I found most relevant to Snowville was Profitable, High Brix Farming taught by Glen Raeburn, CEO of Soil Works LLC. It was the perfect complement to the information taught by Dan Kittredge in a Bionutrient Rich Crop Production seminar put on by the Amesville chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) this past November. Brix is simply a scale that measures the amount that light bends when it passes through a liquid. It is used to measure the amount of sugar in plant sap and can therefore be correlated to the nutritional quality of a plant, fruit or vegetable.
Snowville is currently working with the Amesville BFA chapter to improve soil fertility in pastures on the main farm, Melody Holler. Soil fertility is extremely important, whether you’re growing vegetables or grains or grass. The soil needs to have all the nutrients plants require to grow and protect themselves from pests and disease. If the soil is deficient in nutrients, the plants won’t produce to their full potential and will be nutrient deficient as well. In turn, when people eat vegetables or cows graze grass on that soil, they won’t get those nutrients either. By improving soil fertility Snowville’s producers can improve the quality of their land, improve the health of their cows and the quality of milk they produce, and reduce the amount of grain and mineral supplements they buy.
Glen Raeburn explained how to read a traditional soil test and how different elements and microminerals effect soil fertility and plant health. One of his main points was that a soil test only tells you so much. For example, if soil samples are taken from below the aerobic zone than none of those minerals are available to plants because most roots can’t push down that far. Instead of relying on soil tests there are other relatively inexpensive tools that allow farmers to do their own tests throughout the year to know what’s happening in their soil and plants immediately. These tools are:
Acres website: http://www.acresusa.com/
Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) website: http://bionutrient.org/
Glen Rabenberg’s consulting company Soil Works LLC: http://www.gsrcalcium.com/index.html
Snowville Creamery is committed to providing folks with quality dairy products free from GMOs, because it matters. Compelling research like this from The New England Journal of Medicine reinforces why it is so important to us to offer our customers dairy products made without the use of GMOs or herbicides. Click here to read the article from The New England Journal of Medicine on why GMOs and herbicides are so harmful to us.
June 24, 2015
Snowville Doesn’t Foam Right
As you noticed, Snowville Creamery milk is not foaming well, or at all. This is a comment on the seasonality of grass grazed milk. June is a unique coincidence of many cows which birthed calves in the spring being at the height of their milk production volume. Cows produce milk for 9-10 months after having a calf. That volume peaks at about 3 months when the calves’ demand for milk is highest, as calves begin eating grass. With the high volumes comes about 10% lower protein. The dip in protein at the end of cows milking calves is part of the natural cycle. It probably helps encourage the calves to start getting their protein from grass.
In June the heat and less rain reduce the quality and protein of the grass.
We are sorry to disappoint so many Baristas.
The milk protein levels will gradually rise month to month as more cows are later in their lactation, and as temperatures moderate.
We are looking to boost the protein content in the maximum 10 pounds per day grain which Snowville’s farmers may use. This may speed the return to foamable protein levels. We will let you know what we learn.
We encourage you to use someone else’s milk in the meantime that will give your Baristas the quality which your customers deserve. We understand. We will let you know as soon as our protein levels rise, at which time Snowville will send you samples to try before you go back to enjoying Snowville.
Thank you for your understanding. We are sorry for the disruption of your business. We welcome your comments and input.
All the best,
As so many of you have noticed, Snowville Creamery is back to being short of whipping cream. To some extent this is a comment on the seasonality of the milk. June is a unique coincidence of many cows which dropped calves in the Spring being at the height of their volume of milk production. Cows produce milk for 9-10 months after having a calf. That volume peaks at about 3 months when the calves demand for milk is highest, as they begin eating grass. With the high volumes, comes lower butterfat and protein.
In June the heat and less rain reduce the quality and protein of the grass. All these factors together are combined with nearly twice the orders for whipping cream, as compared to last June. Our cream is a real bargain for those who are able to buy it in a half gallon size. We do not want to raise our prices to reduce the demand, but due to our high standards including non-GMO feed, we only have the cream produced by our own committed farmers’ cows.
The recognition of grass fed dairy fat’s healthfulness is also behind shortages across the country in Kerry Gold Irish Butter, and a 25% increase in organic whole milk sales last year. Snowville Creamery also sees increasing whole milk sales, about the same 2% sales, but constantly decreasing fat free milk sales. This also reduces the cream we have available to make whipping cream.
Lastly, our Crème Fraiche sales continue to grow. That cream must be taken from whipping cream volumes.
We are sorry to disappoint so many of you with the lack of whipping cream. We have been trying to rotate the shortages, but retail stores don’t want empty shelves. You may find your retailer will drop this item until we can give them a more consistent supply. Please understand this is not the stores fault, but Snowville’s lack of supply.
The milk fat and protein levels will gradually rise over the next couple months as more cows are later in their lactation, and as temperatures moderate.
We appreciate your understanding of the seasonality of our grass grazed dairy products, and the resultant effects on fat and protein levels in the milk.
A big thanks to everyone who came out to visit with us at our 6th Annual Open House and Farm Tour. We hope you had as much fun visiting The Creamery as we did showing you around.
See you next year!
We join all of the Columbus and Ohio Food Community in welcoming Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream back into our lives. Jeni's Splendid distinguished themselves from Jeni's own top-down leadership through their entire team. You can read an excellent article in last week's Columbus Dispatch article.
Jeni continues to be the committed, dedicated, and passionate entrepreneur and local food advocate that she has always been. She just keeps getting better.
Calm seas do not a great sailor make. Jeni and the Jeni's team know this. They continue to grow and strengthen, as our entire sustainable food community does. Thanks Jeni, for showing us all how it should be done.
We thank you for your appreciation of our dairy products, and we are sorry we have made it more difficult for you to enjoy Snowville.
The problem is that it costs Snowville about $.70 to put a carton of milk on grocery store shelf in Columbus. By the time the store marks it up, it is about a $1.00 of what our milk costs the consumer.
We hope that Kroger will choose to bring our milk into their stores through their own very efficient distribution, rather than require us to deliver to each store individually.
At Kroger stores we are paid by what goes across the cash register, so any delivered but unsold milk is a loss to Snowville.
Based on our ending 2014 evaluation of profit in individual stores, we could not justify staying in stores we were serving at a loss. Only on that basis did we make the hard choice to stop serving certain Kroger stores.
We are about to announce price changes that we hope will encourage grocery stores like Kroger to either have us deliver to their warehouses for their own distribution, or to purchase from distributors who can more efficiently deliver because they are providing a larger group of products.
Thank you for supporting Snowville,
Warren and Victoria Taylor, Co-owners