Actually, the answer to this is yes and no. We do not want to remove the fat from the milk and then re-inject some of it to make low fat yogurt because we craft an artisan yogurt. Adding a low fat yogurt to our products would create waste which goes against our philosophy. However, it is possible for you to make our yogurt low fat by simply removing the cream-top layer. We strive to keep the ingredients as close to the original state as possible and do not homogenize the milk. Since the cream rises to the top, you can decide how much of the cream to stir in if you prefer a lower fat variety. Removing the entire cream layer makes the yogurt about %1 milk fat.
There are two possible explanations for this. The primary reason is that we do not add any stabilizers or thickeners such as gelatin or milk powder to our products. Because the cows are pasture fed, their milk varies seasonally, creating a slight variation over the course of the year. The same is true for the fruit flavors. During the course of a year the naturally occurring sugars in the fruit vary. When the fruit spread is slightly more acidic it can interact differently with the yogurt and change the consistency slightly. The other possibility is that the yogurt was tipped over and left on its side for a little while breaking the fragile set. Which leads us to the next question…
There are two possible reasons for this. We always fill the cup-size yogurt jars with a minimum of 7.5 ounces. However, because ceramic containers are less precise than plastic there is some variation in cup diameter. The actual amount of yogurt does not change, but not all of the containers are exactly the same size leading to the impression that you have less yogurt. The second possibility is that the container was left on its side at some point between the farm and your table. The set is fragile since we do not add anything to stabilize or emulsify our products. Therefore, if the yogurt is shaken or tipped over the whey starts to separate from the rest of the yogurt. Eventually it either leaks out or evaporates. Given long enough this produces a very thick yogurt that looks as though the jar is only half full.
We never add sugar to the yogurt itself. However, there is a naturally occurring amount of milk sugar (lactose) in any dairy product. In our fruit at the bottom yogurts, we use our plain unsweetened yogurt over a layer of fruit spread. In the fruit spread, we add a minimal amount of sugar to extend the fruits spread’s limited shelf life. We do not use a 65% sugar jam in our yogurts, as is the current industry standard. Of course the layer of honey at the bottom of the honey yogurt contains naturally occurring sugars. Unlike many commercial yogurts, we do not add sugar to the yogurt portion of our fruit at the bottom and honey yogurt.
All of the fruits are sourced locally within approximately 100 miles of the farm except the plum which comes from 250 miles of it. We begin with whole locally grown California fruits to make our fruit spreads, adding a minimal amount of sugar to extend the shelf life of such wonderful but fragile fruit. We do not purchase commercially made yogurt jams or frozen purées, preferring instead to continue our philosophy of supporting local farmers by partnering with our fellow farmer’s market vendors Lagier Ranches.
There is no raw yogurt allowed under California law, and all milk must be heated on the way to becoming yogurt in order to make the healthy bacteria grow. However, we begin with fresh raw milk and then low heat pasteurize it on the way to becoming yogurt, rather than high heat pasteurizing and then reheating the milk to make the yogurt. We do not homogenize. Our yogurt is safe for small children and pregnant women.