We went on a trip to our local health food store the other day to take advantage of their bulk beans and spices. Buying staples in bulk lets you avoid excess packaging and is therefore often cheaper than branded goods. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case if you compare the per pound cost of dried beans from the health food store with a bag of Goya beans, but at least we’re supporting a local shop. And for some reason, our local supermarket only sells candy, cookies, and peanut butter in bulk.
Anyway, while we were there, we also wanted to pick up some plain whole fat yogurt, which is a surprisingly elusive product in stores around us. Our standby is Seven Stars, which is made just under 200 miles away in Pennsylvania. This time, however, we noticed they also carry Trimona Bulgarian Yogurt, which is made in Chenango County, NY (though the company is maybe based on Long Island?).
Apparently, Bulgarian yogurt has some particular strains of beneficial fermenting bacteria. If you want to read a detailed and extensively footnoted article about it (and about the advantages of organic dairy) by a nutrionist/microbiologist, this link’s for you. Health benefits aside, the Trimona yogurt cuts about 50 miles off our yogurt’s travel for an extra 30 cents ($5.29 for a 32oz container as opposed to $4.99 for the Seven Stars). Not a huge difference in either distance or price, really.
And (to play devil’s advocate) if you compare this to the $2.78 you’d spend on a 32oz container of Dannon plain whole fat yogurt at Walmart, you’re clearly still investing more in your yogurt by buying a local (and organic) product. No surprise there.
There are indication here and there that the Hudson Valley Fresh dairy coop started a yogurt line, but it’s not listed on their website and we haven’t noticed it at the supermarket. If it’s out there, that might be the most local option. We’ll have to be on the lookout.