Kyle and Janelle Wehner make handmade yogurt at Dreaming Cow Creamery in Pavo, Georgia. They moved from Janelle’s native New Zealand to Kyle’s family farm in southern Georgia in 2009, intending to build a yogurt business. Their goal is to produce the highest quality all-natural cream-top yogurt possible with “the most contented cows in America.”
The milk for Dreaming Cow yogurt comes from Jumping Gully Dairy, one of three grass-based, New Zealand-style rotational grazing dairies owned by the family. Being in Georgia, the cows are able to graze high quality grasses year round. The farm’s methods include maintaining a high level of soil organic matter (which traps nutrients for the grass and therefore the cows, and also stops the nutrients from leaching into streams) and planting seed with a no-till drill (which stops soil erosion and protects volatile soil nutrients). The farm participates in soil erosion prevention programs and biological pest control case studies as part of caring for their land.
The cows are Jerseys with many other breeds mixed in to create a southern-adapted herd of cattle; by focusing on breeding cows for things like heat tolerance, instead of high milk production, the family has evolved a herd that enjoys a comfortable and stress free life with significantly less sickness. The Wehners use no bST or rBGH, the artificial bovine growth hormone. During the summer, they mist water over the grazing animals through a central irrigation system, effectively cooling the air around the cows by 15 to 20 degrees. In the rare occasion that a cow gets sick, they do what is needed to treat her (vitamin injection or antibiotic use); however, when they use antibiotics, they remove the cow from the milk herd until the antibiotic residue clears her system. (The farms are not organic, but use hybrid ecological and biological farming methods instead. The Wehners are commited to the consumer’s right to know where his food comes from and how it was grown and processed, and to keeping Dreaming Cow transparent. People are welcome to schedule a visit.)
Exemplifying their love of clean, wholesome foods, Dreaming Cow Creamery does not use stabilizers, gums, preservatives, added hormones, or refined sugars. All of this affects the taste of the milk and thus the yogurt. The Wehners think of their yogurt as having a “regional flavor” like those found in Europe and Asia. The intense sourness of the plain yogurt balances with the thick creaminess of the cream top (which you can see if you don’t stir!) If you don’t like sour yogurt, try one of the flavors.
Dreaming Cow’s yogurt cups use 40% less plastic than a conventional cup; a recyclable cardboard label holds the cup rigid. (The plastic is #5 and can be recycled at Orange County’s Solid Waste Convenience Centers.) They use organic or local ingredients when possible, such as raw organic amber agave nectar or honey from The Savannah Bee Company.
Visit Dreaming Cow online at www.dreamingcow.com or on Facebook , where you can give feedback on new flavors you’d like to see.