A Holmes County dairy farm’s yogurt business continues to develop as Velvet View Farmstead Yogurt adds more markets that carry both its plain and Greek yogurt varieties.
Velvet is a word that describes two unique features on the Schlauch family dairy farm. In the growing season, the 200 acres of fertile farmland is so green and lush that it looks like endless yards of emerald velvet fabric. It also perfectly defines the texture of their farmstead yogurt: smooth, like velvet.
Brandi Schlauch, her husband, Aaron and their sons, Logan and Wyatt, work together as a family.
“Aaron’s grandparents bought this farm in 1948 when he was 6 months old,” said Brandi. “We can trace the deeds to this farm back to a land grant signed by James Madison.”
When milk prices fell for farmers, it was time to brainstorm. In 2009 the family, including Aaron’s parents and business partners, David and Sandy, looked to branch out its dairy product line.
“Since there were two families living off the farm, we needed to figure out a way to supplement our income,” Brandi said. She knew that Aaron and David were dedicated dairymen and Holmes County didn’t have room for another cheese maker. So they explored yogurt production.
On yogurt making days, the milk goes a short distance from the milking parlor to the processing room where it is pasteurized at low temperatures for longer periods of time to preserve flavor and texture. Brandi adds active cultures to begin the fermentation and the yogurt will sit for 12 hours until Brandi breaks the yogurt curd before moving it to the cooler for 24 hours before packaging.
For Brandi, traceability is important to creating a quality yogurt. “We know which animals produced the milk,” said Brandi. “I can name names.” Holstein milk is a good choice for yogurt. It’s not as high in butterfat as milk from Jersey cows whose milk is well suited for ice creams, but the fats and proteins in Holstein milk are at ideal levels for yogurt production.
Brandi describes Velvet View’s whole milk yogurt taste as mild and not as tangy as some commercial brands.
“It’s an original style yogurt, thinner than most popular brands and almost drinkable,” she said. No preservatives, stabilizers or milk powder to thicken are added. “When people ask if it’s fresh, I say, ‘Yes. I made it yesterday,’ because I did,” she said with a laugh.
Both Velvet View Farmstead’s original plain yogurt and its flavored Greek varieties are on store shelves and farm markets throughout Ohio.
This story was originally written by Marilou Suszko for the January/February 2012 Our Ohio magazine. Suszko is a food writer from Vermilion. She is the author of Farms and Foods of Ohio: From Garden Gate to Dinner Plate and The Locavore’s Kitchen.
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