Maple Hill Creamery: the grass-to-yogurt connection


We don’t know if you’ve had a chance to sample Maple Hill Creamery yogurt when we’ve demoed it in store, but it’s worth a try the next time you see Ron offering tastes to customers.

Aside from its creamy consistency, and not-too-sweet taste, it’s the science behind grass-fed outcomes as opposed to grain or corn-fed outcomes that appeals to us at GreenAcres. Maple Hill Creamery has done its due diligence over time, and yogurt made from 100% grass-fed cows wins our seal of approval by a mile.

Founded in 2009, Maple Hill Creamery bucked the usual tradition of milk production by feeding its cows a mixture of unadulterated grasses in the lower, eastern portion of New York, and eventually buying milk from small, often Amish dairies nearby that believed in feeding and treating their cows and the land in a similar manner.

California’s reputed happy cows have nothing on those grazing freely in Stuyvesant, New York. The family-run operation has become a thriving manufacturer of nationally-distributed whole milk products. At GreenAcres, we carry Maple Hill’s grass-fed milk yogurt, Greek yogurt and grass-fed dairy kefirs.

Just as we value our vendors who supply us with grass-fed beef and free forage pork, we like to offer our customers the best and cleanest milk products produced today. We pay more for these products, and our customers do too. But we think good health is worth every penny.

It wasn’t until after World War II that farmers started feeding grain to their animals to beef them up at processing. Corn, grain, silage and synthetic by-products were cheaper and easier to feed larger amounts of cows.

The Maple Hill website gives us a history lesson:

Prior to WWII, most US farms were small and diversified. Cattle were put out to pasture and supplemented with very little if any grain or corn, as their natural place in a diversified farm was to consume grass. When peacetime arrived, there were many products and technologies from the war effort ‘looking for a home.’

“The WWII munitions industry’s surplus of nitrogen—once used to create bombs—found its home in agriculture, setting off the first ‘green revolution’–that was found to be not so green in the end. With cheap and available nitrogen (one of the three synthetic fertilizers part of the N-P-K triad we still see on lawn fertilizers today) farmers could grow grain and corn crops much more quickly, and the American farmer could now ‘feed the world’ – as well as its cows.

“The focus and the race towards higher yield and ever increasing crop production began, and feeding cows this now inexpensive grain and corn did as well. A grain-based diet for dairy cows became the norm, and the prevailing opinion—for quite some time—has been that any dairy farmer who attempted to raise their dairy cows on grass only was crazy—it couldn’t be done, and that ‘you can’t make milk with just grass.”

At Maple Hill, the family recognized that while a grain-based diet increased milk production, it didn’t enhance the health of the cow or the health of the individual consuming that milk by product. Others looked at the company with consternation, but the Maple Hill family simply replied:

We may be a little nutty at Maple Hill, but we’re adding more 100% grass-fed NY State dairy farms every few months, and making a little bit more yogurt each step of the way, supporting a farming system that keeps long-term wellness of the animals and land at the forefront.”

The proof is always in the pudding as they say, and in this case it’s in the yogurt. The Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio and the ph factor is in balance in grass-fed milk products. And that spells good health to a “T.”

We at GreenAcres applaud Maple Hill for sticking to its principles. As the company says, “success is defined not just by yield, but by production practices and values.” Maple Hill believes that when it uses certified organic, 100% grass-fed cow milk, it is supporting and growing a food system that is beneficial to the land, the animals, the farmers and ultimately the consumer.”

Our CEO and Founder of GreenAcres, Barb Hoffmann, runs her stores and delis with similar principles. We offer our customers all-organic salad bars, organic vegetable hot cases with grass-fed beef and free range chicken. Our bakers bake food from scratch daily using only grass-fed, organic milk products, butter, cheese and yogurt. Even the finest restaurants in the world don’t do that!

As Barb always says: “It costs us so much more to run our food production in this manner, but health is worth everything. If we don’t do it right, why do it at all?”

It looks like companies such as Maple Hill Creamery agree with that assessment.