|Producer of the Month: Vermont Yogurt Company|
by Jon Megas-Russell
Jenn Brunyeel has been working in the dairy business for over 30 years. She started on a family dairy farm with over 100 cows.
Much of that milk contributed to the Cabot cooperative milk pool. As is often customary here in Vermont, she also did maple sugaring and had a state-inspected trout hatchery. And Jenn had a job at Cabot Cooperative for 18 years. During that time she learned the many ins and outs of the wholesale dairy business. An entrepreneur at heart, she longed to get back into business for herself.
Because of her passion for cows and her family, in 2012 she decided to start a small-batch yogurt business in Orwell, VT.
She experimented with many yogurt recipes using cow’s milk from Holstein and Jersey breeds, but she finally settled on Jersey milk. According to Jenn, the rich and thick butterfat of the Jersey cows makes the best yogurt for flavor and consistency.
She started with only one cow, but after the business took off in 2013, she added another. She milks her cows by hand. Anticipating more growth, she is raising two more calves.
In 2012 she started with just two flavors: vanilla and maple. Over the past few years she has expanded to offer nine flavors including coffee, chocolate, apple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and plain. She grows many of her own berries and sources her ingredients within Vermont as much as possible, including local organic apples and local maple syrup. If you’ve never had any of Vermont Yogurt Company’s offerings you should—they are absolutely delicious.
Her unique presentation includes a homemade granola in the cover that adds delicious depth and flavor when mixed into the yogurt. It is a simple wholesome snack for any time of day.
Speaking with Jenn, it was apparent that family is extremely important to her and to her business. Her husband hays and does the farm work, her mother helps her pack the granola, her sister assists with marketing/labeling and other family members help with deliveries. This is truly a family business! We are fortunate to have her product at the Co-op.
For now she only distributes in Vermont and to one store in New Hampshire; she works with Thomas Dairy in Rutland to make her deliveries. She dreams to soon grow her business so that she can upscale her operation, build a better barn for her cows, and take her products to many new stores in Vermont. Jenn also has launched a website for her yogurt business and hopes that this will help her visibility, marketing, and sales. Please visit their website at vermontyogurtcompany.com for more information and come to the Co-op to taste Jenn’s small-batch yogurt in March!
Visit Jenn and enjoy samples from the Vermont Yogurt Company on March 17th from 11am - 1pm.