SpringWood Farm Facts • FAQs

Have questions about SpringWood Farm? We've put together our frequently asked questions for your convenience. If you have further questions, drop us a line through our online contact form. We look forward to answering you.

Farm

Are your cows A1 or A2?

The short answer is that yes - we are moving our cows to all A2A2 as fast as we can. 

For several years we have been testing our younger generations of cows and calves to determine if they are primarily A1 or A2. We are using only A2A2 bulls and are now testing every spring group of calves. We are approaching the 50% A2 mark and believe that in another 5-10 years will be 100% (or very nearly so) A2A2.

For a good source of information about the difference between A1&A2 milk visit this website.

Where can I learn more about the advantages of eating food from 100% grass fed cows?

There are some really good websites out there for your personal research. Try www.realmilk.com,  www.westonaprice.org, and www.EatWild.com for starters. Kudos to you for wanting to learn more about 100% grass-fed dairy farming! 

Why do most dairy farmers choose to feed their cows a non-grass-based diet?

Corn and grain causes the cows to produce more milk, but at a cost both in supplying the grain and in the cow’s overall health! Grain also puts stress on the cow’s whole rumination system, which is designed to eat pretty much 100% forage diet.  We hope many more farmers will get off the crazy cycle and take the time and effort to begin the journey of becoming 100% grass-fed dairy farms.

Why is it better to have a cow 100% grass-fed instead of feeding her a mixed ration of grain-based feed?

Simply put, cows were meant to eat grass -- not grain or corn. Their stomachs are not built for the quick carbohydrates of grain or corn. They were designed to eat the fibrous grass and plants out in the pastures. When they enjoy the rich, fibered grass they are healthier and happier cows. And healthy, happy cows produce the best, healthiest milk around. Grass-fed milk is packed with healthy fats like Omega 3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). Grassfed milk also is laden with more nutrients like beta carotene and vitamins A and E than milk produced using conventional feeds. Drinking grass-fed milk boosts your immune system and is a healthier choice for your body.

Not only is being grass-fed good for the cows and their milk, it is also good for the land and environment. Managed grazing requires less fossil fuels. During the growing season the cows’ daily feed does not have to be grown, stored and then shipped to the farm. The cows’ food is already there, grown by nature and waiting in the pasture. Growing corn and grain specifically for cows wastes huge amounts of non-renewable resources. 

Are your cows 100% grass-fed?

Yes, our cows are 100% grass-fed. Sadly, less than 1% of dairy farms can claim to be 100% grass fed. We are proud to stand in the minority and be an example of treating our cows and land with respect and proper care. We hope one day, for both the cow and the land and the consumer, that many more farms will join us in becoming a 100% grass-fed dairy farm.  

Our cows graze on a diverse variety of legumes and grasses in our beautiful pastures during the growing season, and in the winter months they eat organic hay we grow ourselves or buy from other organic farms. Pastures and hay can fluctuate in energy content so currently we feed a small amount of organic cane molasses to help our cows maintain optimal health. Our cows are not fed soy, corn, grain, or alfalfa pellets. They have a longer, happier life than the cows in cramped conditions being stuffed with corn and soy. 

What is SpringWood Farm's history?

SpringWood Organic Farm in Lancaster County has been the home to four generations of Stoltzfoos farmers. They have worked hard for many years to provide the community with fresh, nutrient-dense and minimally processed dairy products. The Stoltzfoos family loves their beautiful spot in eastern Lancaster County and is pleased to bring nourishment from the land and the animals to the people who enjoy the fruits of their labors.

  • It was originally part of an 800 acre tract of land privately owned by William Penn.
  • 1941 Aaron Stoltzfoos purchased the farm and moved his son Samuel and his wife and family onto the dairy farm. Samuel was very interested in conservation like making sure soil and water were protected.
  • Late 1980s Roman Stoltzfoos, grandson of Aaron, began the slow transition away from conventional farming methods to an organic, grass-based farming approach.
  • Early 1990s  Management intensive grazing was utilized fully.
  • 1995 The entire farm transitioned to certified organic management. SpringWood became one of the first four farms to produce organic milk for Natural by Nature.
  • In 1996 Roman and Lucy purchased the farm from Roman’s parents and preserved it with Lancaster Farmland Trust, giving the easement to the county, protecting it from being developed into housing or other uses.
  • Fall 2012 completed a slow transition to no grain by quitting any supplemental grain altogether.
  • Fall 2014 Roman and Lucy moved into newly constructed house on another part of the farm thus allowing son Dwight and wife Brenda and their children to move into the farmhouse. Dwight assumed farm manager position in 2007 and the transition to the next generation continues.
  • Today Management styles continued to evolve into the current grazing of taller grasses with a better balance of energy and protein, an ongoing challenge with 100% grass fed.

Organic Yogurt

Is your yogurt raw?

Raw yogurt is kind of an anomaly:  To establish a high amount of yogurt culture you need to kill all or most of what is in the milk originally or it will not culture well. 

The second reason: It would not be yogurt then, but a kefir instead.

Third reason: raw yogurt is not allowed as a legal dairy product. Only two dairy products are allowed In PA in the raw form and those are milk, and cheese that has been aged for 60 days.

How can I get SpringWood yogurt in my local store?

The best way to get your store to carry our yogurt products is to go and request it. Stores want to provide you with the food you want. By requesting our healthy and creamy yogurt, you can begin to change the scene in your grocery's dairy aisle! Your store can obtain it via a national organic food distributor.

What is the shelf life of your yogurt?

It is 60 days after the manufacturer's date. The expiration date is clearly marked on the yogurt container. Normally our yogurt is fine for weeks beyond the best by date and if it looks and tastes fine you have nothing to worry about in eating it past that date.

Is your yogurt GMO-free?

YES! To be certified organic, we are GMO free. Organic certification does not allow for GMOs to be used in any part of the organic farming process.  You can rest assured that there are no GMO’s in any of our yogurt.

Do you add preservatives to your yogurt?

Nope. No way. Never. Our yogurt is preservative free, making it as natural and good for you as possible.

Do you add thickeners to your yogurt?

No, we do not add any thickener or stabilizer to our yogurt. We do not add any extras. Our creamy and smooth yogurt texture is exclusively because of our 100% grass-fed milk, the right culture, and a slower process. 

Why is your yogurt tart?

With the first bite of our creamy yogurt, you can taste the wholesome goodness that comes from simple, pure milk. It delivers a stronger, tangier taste. Our yogurt develops richer flavor because of the culturing process and choice of exact culture. What you are tasting is the result of sunshine, living soil, lush grass, and healthy cows.  

How do you sweeten your flavored yogurts?

We do not use any sugar. Our goal is to offer the same qualities to you that we want for our own family. We try to avoid sugar and so are doing the same for you and your family.

We use organic stevia to sweeten our vanilla yogurt, creating perfect flavored, lightly sweetened goodness for you and your family to enjoy. 

Are you Kosher?

Not any more. Our yogurt used to be Kosher but since production was moved in early 2016 from the larger Natural By Nature plant to a small Amish owned/operated plant in Lancaster we have not been Kosher. The new yogurt plant has not yet seen it necessary to spend the money to be coming Kosher certified.

But nothing has changed as to our ingredients and the individual ingredients are all Kosher certified. Only the manufacturing plant is not Kosher.

Are there any allergens in your yogurt or present in your facility?

Our manufacturing plant is a dedicated dairy processing facilitiy and is free of most common food allergens. 

Is your yogurt pasteurized?

Yes, our milk is pasteurized as required by Grade A regulations.

While we ourselves enjoy raw dairy products and believe everyone should have the right to enjoy the benefits of raw dairy, this is not raw yogurt. It must be pasteurized to be store-friendly. The special difference is that we are starting with raw milk and turning it into yogurt. During that process, natural pasteurization occurs.

Why don't you make low or non-fat yogurt?

We believe in eating the whole food, as close to natural as possible.

The fat you find in our yogurt is higher in omego 3’s and lower in omega 6’s than you will find in food from grain fed animals. The fat from 100% grass fed cows is a very different fat than what you will find from corn and grain fed cows. It breaks down differently in your body. Eating the whole food avoids many of the problems caused by our modern industrial food system

Is your yogurt organic?

Yes, our yogurt is organic. It is certified USDA through Pennsylvania Certified Organic.

Organic Yogurt Nutrition

Is the milk used to make our cream-top yogurt from 100% grass fed cows?

Yes, all the milk used to make our yogurt is from our PCO Certified-to-be-100%-grass-fed cows. We can say this with confidence and certainty -- because every drop of milk that goes into our yogurt comes from our own cows. We know exactly what is being fed to our cows and everything that goes into their systems and daily care. It gives us great joy to watch our herd graze in our lush, beautiful farmland and know that they are enjoying their lives and being fed the very best. You can taste the difference in our milk and yogurt.

What is that creamy layer on top of your yogurt?

That layer of cream is a sign of you are eating simple, pure goodness. Because our yogurt is not homogenized, the cream rises to the top when the yogurt cools and settles after our careful, long culturing process. Just mix it into the yogurt or eat it plain and enjoy the rich, savory layer of cream.

As you enjoy our yogurt through the year, you will notice the creamline changing. It's because the cows diet and milk butterfat percentage changes from summer to winter. In the summer it is thinner and more golden; in the winter, it is thicker and whiter. Enjoy the seasonal yogurt, knowing you are experiencing a simple, minimally processed yogurt. 

Why did you start making yogurt?

Our love for making the best organic yogurt started with our love for homemade style yogurt. We had access to a batch pasteurizer owned by Pitango Gelato. Pitango leases a facility here on the farm where they make their gelato. We were permitted to make small batches using their equipment. At first we made it just for ourselves and friends--but we found that more and more people wanted earthy, minimally processed artisanal yogurt: simple and pure with no thickeners, preservatives, or coloring. We began to supply yogurt for the happy customers at The Family Cow, and our business continues to grow.

We see making this 100% grass-fed yogurt as a service to our friends and community. Our goal is to produce yogurt we will gladly feed to our own families that is free of all preservatives, sugar, and as basic and near to being raw as possible. Making and distributing this yogurt is also a way for SpringWood to remain profitable in a time of escalating production costs and changing organic commodity milk demand. 

What cultures are added to your yogurt?

A mixed strain culture containing Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus

 

Why does the amount of cream on top of the yogurt change seasonally?

The reason for the lower amount of cream currently on our yogurt is simple:

  • We operate/manage a semi-seasonal grass fed herd of cross-breed cows.
  • Our yogurt is made from milk straight from our bulk tank that is less than 48 hours old. It is not separated and "standardized" to a flat 3.25% like industry yogurt that is called whole milk yogurt (A rare thing BTW).

The meaning of the above two points = Our yogurt is a mirror of the average butterfat level in our milk. The majority of our cows calve in March and April with the last ones calving by August. This means the cows peak in milk production in the Spring (when grass growth is at its peak which allows us to produce more milk on a very high percentage grass diet) and go through the normal butterfat percentage curves together. It is normal for our cows to produce slightly lower levels of butterfat during and immediately following peak milk for each lactation. Combine that norm with the normal grass growth slump and hot weather we experience each summer in late June though August causes our average butterfat levels to be at their lowest.

Our dairy herd's average butterfat is usually at it lowest of about 3.9% in June and at the highest of 5 - 5.5% in December or January. You can expect to see a correlation between the thickness of the cream top and what time of year it is. Note that the US average butterfat level from most conventional holstein herds is in the 3.25 - 3.5% range. Due to our crossbred Jersey/Friesian/Ayrshire genetics and being grass-based our average is much higher at about 4.5%.

Pastured Eggs

What makes quality pastured eggs?

Good soil is the base for good food!
 Good soil is a long-term project!
Our goal is the best soil for the healthiest plants. These healthy plants make for healthy animals and food. We have been organic and working on our soils for over 25 years. We do this with good grazing management as well as spreading 1-3 tons of compost per acre along with the needed amendments/nutrients to bring a balance of air, water and active microbiology. Live food comes from live soil!

How do you know the layer feed is non-GMO and whether chemicals are used on this grain?

We source our feed from a mill that is Non-GMO Project Verified. This is a testable 3rd party verification that we feel can be trusted similar to the way we trust USDA Organic Certification. But the difference between Project Verification and Organic Certification is that for Verification chemicals are allowed for weed or pest controls while they are not allowed for Organic.

Why is an organic farm using non-organic GMO free feed instead of certified organic feed on the layers?

Good question! The short answer is cost. We would much rather use organic feed (since that also has no GMOs). Feed is the biggest expense with layers and certified organic feed is usually about twice the price. Several years ago the organic certification on the layers was dropped because the market would not support the price needed to be profitable. The qualities of free-range and pastured were more important to our customers than certified organic.

How do you pasture your layer chickens in the winter time?

The short answer is that from December through most of March they are not pastured. We move the entire egg mobiles inside a turkey barn (with lots of space per bird) that is used for turkeys only in the summer and fall. We always eagerly await the warmer temps that allow the hens to be truly pastured again!

Why do you produce soy-free eggs?

There is a growing market for soy-free products and we decided to produce for this market. Please do a Google search for "Dangers of soy" and you will find plenty of info. Soy is the most efficient source of protein for poultry so when it was removed our egg production decreased and has remained lower. This is the reason for the higher price demanded for soy-free eggs.