Yogurt Taste Test and Dilemma

August 21, 2006 at 7:52 pm (Product Reviews)

3I decided to stop buying low-fat yogurt even though I like it much better than nonfat, because of Dr. Greger’s talk at the vegetarian summerfest about the high levels of dioxins, pcb’s, pesticides, and other toxins in animal fat (even the fat of organic animals). But trying to choose a non-fat yogurt is always a bit of a dilemma here in Pittsburgh.

My favorite nonfat yogurt is made by Brown Cow. Unfortunately, though, it’s 1) not organic, and 2) from the west coast. It is free of growth hormones, and according to the Brown Cow website the milk supposedly comes from family farms, where the cows are fed grains like corn but no animal meal. (BTW, Brown Cow was recently bought by Stonyfield Farms.)

The organic brands that I can get in Pittsburgh are:

Seven Stars Rating: 5/5 Phoenixville, PA (281 miles)
Stonyfield (yogurt) Rating: 4/5 Londonderry, NH (617 miles)
Butterworks Farm Rating: 5/5 Westfield, VT (717 miles)
Wallaby Yogurt Rating: 4/5 Napa, CA (2550 miles)
Nancy’s Rating: 4/5 Eugene, OR ( 2676 miles)

The rating is based on how resonsible their organic practices are, based on their responses to a survey conducted by the Cornucopia institute. The miles is the distance to Pittsburgh.

Seven Stars is by far the closest, and got a top organic rating from the Cornucopia Institute. (5/5). However, their yogurt is terrible. I’ve tried it multiple times and it’s always lumpy and runny and off-tasting. I cannot imagine who actually buys it?

Butterworks is also an East-coast brand, but like Seven Stars it’s pretty bad. It’s also lumpy and runny, but the flavor is perhaps a bit better than the Seven Stars yogurt.

Stonyfield yogurt isn’t bad. Right now it’s my top choice out of the East Coast organic brands.

Wallaby is a very thin yogurt, but very smooth with good flavor. Unfortunately it’s a west coast yogurt.

Nancy’s is another west coast brand, and I think I’ve tried it and it was somewhere in the middle of the pack, but I’m not positive.

Then there’s Horizon, of course, but the Organic Consumer’s Association is boycotting that brand, so I’ve actually never even tried it.

So for right now, when I buy nonfat yogurt in Pittsburgh I stick with Stonyfield Farm, but I really wish there was a better tasting Organic yogurt from the East Coast available. Can anyone recommend another brand? Maybe I can get the co-op to carry it instead of all those west coast brands.

Or maybe buying from the west coast isn’t so bad? Does anyone know? And how different is the Brown Cow yogurt from truly organic yogurt? Are their cows actually treated pretty similarly to organic cows since they’re (supposedly) from small family farms? Anyone have any hard facts about this?

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