We are committed to only using containers that do not have a negative impact on the earth. We use ceramic containers for single serving size yogurt, and glass quarts for the larger size. The ceramic crocks are dishwasher, oven safe, and are of course lead-free. Please rinse and return to any place of purchase for a refund of your deposit.
In 2003 the idea of yogurt in a ceramic reusable container was entirely new and we had very few options for closing them. The first lids were plastic, and our only choice when we began in 2004. In 2005 we switched to foil lids. The older plastic lids posed several problems. First, they could not be reused for health reasons, which meant that we were still contributing to the landfill and fossil fuel use. Secondly, they had to be imported from France. Third, because most lids are meant to fit plastic containers that do not vary in diameter -as opposed to ceramic cups that can vary greatly- we ended up with about 15% of the ceramic cups that could not be used for yogurt making. Finally, we could not easily provide a tamper-resistant seal with the plastic lids. We therefore moved to the recyclable foil lids you see now.
We are committed to preserving the environment and employ many ecologically friendly practices in our work. Many of these practices are simply common sense and age-old traditions of conserving whenever possible. Our partner farm, John Mattos Diary, provides excellent opportunities for us to reduce, reuse, and recycle. For example, any expired yogurt that stores return to us is fed to livestock on the farm (pigs, goats), providing them with excellent quality organic nutrition. (The pigs are especially fond of old blueberry yogurts and come running when they see us arrive!) Throwing whey and dairy into the environment not only fills the landfill, it can taint surrounding lands if it is done on a large scale.
The water we use in yogurt production is reused as irrigation for the surrounding pastures, helping to increase the available pasture time for the cows and reduce total water use. In addition, we source our fruits and honey from local fellow farmers at the farmer’s markets and of course our milk is taken from the cows that pasture in the fields that surround our creamery.
All paper products and any broken ceramic and glass yogurt jars are dropped off for recycling at the Sonoma County Waste Management site located in the area. At the farmers market we use plant-based compostable spoons for tasting and are working on developing a reusable bag for carrying yogurt conveniently. In the meantime, we encourage customers to bring their own bag or reuse the paper ones we have available. Our cars are hybrids, our truck runs on CNG and our van has Biodiesel capability. These little gestures add up to a reduction of fossil fuel use, lowered water use, less food waste, and better waste management.
And of course those are just a few of the little things we do… our container-deposit system has kept 1,000,000 cups out of the landfill since 2004. That means a total surface area of 10 acres of plastic has been prevented by our reusable container and foil-lid program.
Our yogurt is a cream-top. You can simply mix the cream back in and enjoy—or eat it separately!
We do not currently make a low fat version of our yogurt in part because it creates additional waste. Since we do not homogenize (or break the fat molecules) of our yogurt, customers can choose to make their yogurt low-fat by simply removing the cream-top layer. On an individual basis this creates little waste, especially if there is a family member or friend who likes it spread on toast… On a larger scale level, we would need to use energy and resources to remove all the fat, then re-inject it into the yogurt, and finally throw out any that was left over. This would use more resources and create disposal problems for the environment. We prefer to remain small-scale and close to the source.
You might be wondering about the life cycle of the jars and much they travel. We “backcharge” the glass jars and ceramic cups which means that when the yogurt is dropped off at a store, the delivery person picks up the returned containers and brings them to the farm to get sterilized and start again! There are no extra trips necessary to move the jars and we help make each delivery trip as efficient as possible.