Seven Stars Yogurts are available up and down the East Coast. Choose a state, below, to find a retail store near you.
Essential Facts About Our Dairy Operation
How are you certified Organic/Biodynamic?
Certification of Organically produced products is done under the auspices of the USDA's National Organic Program. Seven Stars Farm and the other farms whose milk is used to make Seven Stars Yogurt are all certified Organic under the USDA's standards. In addition to its Organic certification, Seven Stars Farm is also certified Biodynamic by the Demeter Association.
Can we visit the farm?
Visitors are welcome. The best time to visit our farm is in the Spring and Fall, when temperatures are moderate and the cows are out on pasture. Winter is, also, a cozy time to visit our barn, but high summer temperatures means over-heated cows, flies and sometimes stressed farmers. Consider yourself forewarned! While we don't mind people dropping by, it's good to make arrangements ahead to make sure there is someone to show you around. We milk very early in the morning (4am-6am) and from 3-6pm in the afternoon. If the weather is above 90 degrees and the humidity high, the cows will be in the barn during the day. If it’s cooler, they are out on pasture between milking times.
How old are your cows when they're culled?
The average age of a milking cow in our herd is just around 8 years old, with a range of ages from 2 and a half to 12-years-old. Conventional dairy herds typically have an average age of less than 4 yrs, meaning that the majority of animals leave the herd after milking less than two years.
What happens to your calves when they are born?
Our cows give birth in maternity pens where they spend much of the first week with their calves. They are still taken out for milking during this period. At one week old, the heifers that we plan on keeping are moved into individual calf hutches where they are raised on whole milk. The heifer and bull calves (we only raise a few bulls) that we can’t keep are sold to a group of local small farmers and folks with "farmets". They then raise the heifers to milk or sell, and the bull calves are raised for beef. Once in a while, we may have calves that we can't place and they will go to the conventional live stock auction. We always do everything in our power to avoid this last resort.
Are your cows grass fed?
April to November, our cows derive the majority of their diet directly from pasture. They also receive a grain supplement that helps them maintain weight, stay healthy and produce more milk. We supplement their diet with homegrown and purchased grains, primarily spelt and corn. The term "grass-fed" when applied to dairy cows usually means that the cattle have access to pasture when seasonally available. When it's applied to beef production, it means that the animals were raised until slaughter on pasture or hay, and have skipped the grain feeding period customarily used to finish beef.
Can you tell me about the welfare of your animals?
The issue of dairy cattle welfare is more complicated than one would think, and is just beginning to be really thoroughly studied in a scientific way. I'm sure that our idea of the ideal environment for dairy animals will continue to evolve. It is a subject that we feel very strongly about here at Seven Stars Farm. Fundamentally, our cattle are kept clean, comfortable, well fed and free to move about as seasonably permissible. During the grazing season, April through November, they spend the majority of their time on pasture. Calves are raised on whole milk instead of milk replacement, after spending the first week of their life with their mother. The cows are naturally mated via a bull. Their tails are not docked, nor do we de-horn our cattle. Generally, cows leave the herd because of some specific medical problem, such as infertility or mastitis. We have gotten pretty good at treating illnesses via natural remedies. The average age of our milking herd is approximately 8 years old, with some individuals living well into their teens. For more information about our herd, visit the Our Farm section.
Does all the milk used for your yogurt come from your farm?
No it does not. We produce approximately half of the milk used in the yogurt on our farm. Another quarter is produced by Camp Hill Village, Kimberton Hills (www.camphillkimberton.org) and the remainder comes from several Amish farms. All of us are certified organic and graze as much as possible.
Do you sell raw milk?
Although PA is amongst the small number of states in which raw milk is legal, we do not have raw milk permit. All of the milk that we produce is used for yogurt. For further insight into local raw milk options, check out the real milk website www.realmilk.com.
Is your yogurt gluten free?
Yes, our yogurt is gluten free.
Why is your yogurt more liquid than other types?
Our yogurt generally has a more liquid texture than most commercial yogurts because we don't add thickeners. However, it shouldn't be liquid. It can become more liquid, if it's handled roughly or stirred up. In addition, its texture can suffer from being allowed to get warm or freeze. Finally, there is the possibility of having a container of yogurt that did not culture properly. Some of those will slip through our screening process. Each container is filled as a liquid and develops its yogurt body over the incubation period. Unfortunately, sometimes a container will not set up properly in an otherwise successful batch
How long do you pasteurize your milk?
We vat pasteurize our milk at 169°F for 30 minutes. Our culture manufacturers recommend this time and temperature.
Once I open a container, how long will it stay fresh?
Maintaining freshness depends on how you handle the yogurt. It's best not to stir or shake it. Make sure to use a clean spoon each time you dish it out and keep the container refrigerated. Following these suggestions will maximize the shelf life of your yogurt.
Is your yogurt okay for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)?
From my interpretation of the Diet description, our yogurt would not be suitable because we add bifidus bacteria species. Also, we do not incubate our yogurt for as long as they recommend and, therefore, there may be residual lactose in our product. The Diet stresses eating very fresh yogurt, so it seems like there is no way around making your own.
What kind of bacteria are in your yogurt?
The primary yogurt culture is Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. We also add Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus casei. This is a website that can give you information on what the standard cultures for yogurt are and how they affect the texture and taste. http://www.aboutyogurt.com/lacYogurt/facts.asp
Can the yogurt be frozen?
I don't recommend freezing. It messes up the texture. Our yogurt generally will be okay beyond the sell by date if it remains unopened, refrigerated and handled carefully. Once you've opened it, it becomes susceptible to contamination from the air and utensils.
Distribution & Sales
Where is the place closest to me that I can purchase your yogurt?
Seven Stars Yogurt is available throughout most of the Eastern United States, as well as some parts of the Mid-West. We sell the majority of our yogurt through a single distributor, United Natural Foods. While they do not provide us with a list of retail stores stocking our product, we are currently working on compiling a comprehensive list of retailers for the site. (Some of them are already available in the state-based search at left.)
Other distributors of our yogurt are:
- Neshaminy Valley Natural Foods
Neshaminy Valley delivers to natural food, gourmet and specialty retailers; restaurants; universities; co-ops; and pharmacies. Areas of distribution include: Massachusetts; Connecticut; Southeastern New York; New Jersey; Southeastern Pennsylvania; Maryland; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Northern Virginia (as far south as Richmond).
- Alberts Organics (800-899-5944)
Alberts Organics distributes our product out of Bridgeport, NJ.
- Frankferd Farms Food (724-352-9510)
Frankferd Farm's delivery areas are Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Ohio.
- Lancaster Farm Fresh (717-656-3533)
- Four Seasons Produce (717-721-2800)
- DPI Baltimore (301-430-2200)
- Tree of Life (800-223-2910)
Tree of Life delivers our product to the Florida area.
Can we purchase yogurt at the farm?
Yes, we sell yogurt both by the case (6 quarts/case) and the quart at our farm. In addition to our yogurt, we sell meat from our herd and organic maple syrup from Canada!
When is your Farm Store Open?
Our farm store’s hours are Monday through Saturday 8:30 AM to 4 PM.
We sell the following:
Organic Plain $3.00 quart
Organic Maple $3.50 quart
Organic Vanilla $3.50 quart
Organic Lowfat Plain $3.00 quart
Organic Lowfat Maple $3.50 quart
Our newest flavor $3.50 quart
Heavy Whipping Cream $5.00 quart
Organic Plain $16.00 case
Organic Maple $20.00 case
Organic Vanilla $20.00 case
Organic Lowfat Plain $16.00 case
Organic Lowfat Maple $20.00 case
Organic Heavy Cream $20.00 case
Our newest flavor $20.00 case
Heavy Whipping Cream $25.00 case
Ground Beef$4.50 lb
Beef Patties$5.00 lb
Beef Cubes $7.00 lb
Soup Bones $3.50 lb
Chip Steak$7.00 lb.
Hot Dogs $7.00 lb.
Breakfast Sausage $7.00 lb.
Fresh Beef Sausage $7.00 lb.
Smoked Sausage $7.00 lb.
Maple Syrup$17.50 qt.
Can we get a shipment directly from the farm?
Regretfully, we are unable to ship directly to individuals. We are simply not set up to efficiently package and ship individual cases of yogurt at this time. We haven't geared up to do this because, for most folks, the final product would be much more expensive than a local retail price.
Why do you only sell yogurt in quart size?
Our lack of a cup size portion is due to a combination of choice and necessity. We are a small dairy farm that processes our own milk and that of a few neighbors. We've been doing this for 20 years. Early on, we chose to stay farmers and not focus on expanding the milk processing business because we both enjoyed farming, and felt that we could best control milk quality by staying farmers. By using only one container size (qt), we are able to remain economically competitive with larger yogurt makers. Small containers require a different kind of filling machine ($$) than the one we use for quarts. We also feel better about not using all the extra plastic that smaller containers require.
Your container #5 isn't recyclable, why don't you use #1 or #2 Plastic instead?
Polypropylene, #5 plastic, is used because of its physical and chemical stability at the higher temperatures present during filling. Our yogurt is put through the filler at its culturing temperature of 108°F – 110°F. It incubates at that temperature for approximately 8 hours. # 1 and #2 plastics can't handle that without being made much thicker. Container manufacturers have chosen to reduce the amount of resin as much as possible per container, thus they no longer make the thicker #2 quart containers.
This creates an undesirable situation, because #5 is not as widely recycled as #2 or #1. The good news is that there are companies who specialize in converting hard-to-recycle waste, like #5 plastic, into household products. We send our yogurt containers to a company in New Jersey called TerraCycle, who helps keep our containers out of landfills by recycling them into a wide variety of products. You are more than welcome to drop your used Seven Stars yogurt containers off at our farm for proper disposal. Just please make sure that they are clean and dry!
Remember, rules for the proper recycling of #5 plastic vary, so be sure to contact your local waste authority to find out where they stand. A safe bet is dropping off you containers at your local Whole Foods store. Through efforts like Preserve’s “Gimme 5” program, many of your local Whole Foods stores have a designated #5 recycling bin. Visit Preserve’s website to locate a #5 recycling Whole Foods near you!
If you have any additional questions/suggestions, please be sure to submit them to our contact page and we will do our best to answer them.