Upper Canada Creamery launches two-ingredient yogurt

Biemond-branded yogurt focuses on all-natural flavours and ingredients

The way Josh Biemond tells it, your run-of-the-mill dairy takes milk and culls the butterfat out of it for butter and cheese. The watery milk that remains is used to make yogurt. Manufacturers use gums and powders to thicken the substance, then sugar is added to give it flavour. But at his Upper Canada Creamery in Iroquois, Ont,. a family business run by Biemond, his brother Rudy and their wives, Ellen and Jennifer, all the butterfat is left in the milk their 45 cows produce. When introduced to the sweet Italian yogurt culture they imported to their new $1 million 8,200-sq.-ft., processing plant, 1,700 litres of rich, additive-free yogurt is produced. Capacity is 4,000 to 5,000 litres a week. “I hate crap in my food,” explains Biemond. Biemond yogurt hit supermarkets last week, and so far six or seven stores have signed up, including a few of Loblaw’s Independent stores. Biemond says other chains are working to get 10% of their products locally produced. Since yogurt, unlike fruits and vegetables, can be churned out year-round, he says their yogurt, from sweet grass-fed, antibiotic-free cows, is in demand. He hopes to be at full capacity within two years. “We don’t have vet bills,” says Biemond. “Just being out on pasture, getting natural vitamin D, we have very little health issue with our cows.” The family has been running “full tilt” the last year and a half after deciding to produce yogurt instead of cheese. A litre of milk makes a litre of yogurt, he says, so there’s no lost byproduct as there is with cheese. They’ve been working seven days a week and long hours every day, but Biemond, as is the rest of the family, is in his 30s, and laughs at the endless days. “You make it work,” he says of the family business. “You have your good days and your bad days. Some days stress gets to you but everybody gets it.” And some days, he says, even the kids will eat the yogurt without sugar.

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