Readers of this blog have long known of my love affair w/ a certain yogurt. WELL. This past Friday, I just so happened to be in New Hampshire. Although time was tight (my kids were due home from school), and I knew I’d have mere minutes to gaze in wonder upon Stonyfield Farm, I was NOT GOING TO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. I could not, would not, return to Maine without making the pilgrimage to the mecca of organic yogurt. So I drove south, speeding all the way – through Manchester, past the mall, round the airport, to a most unexpected sight.
WOWZA! There I was – two minutes away from Stonyfield Farm – and a plane was nearly landing on my car. Hmm.. Not quite the idyllic setting I’d imagined.
Picture this. You’ve been “dating” a guy online for a while. He looks good and sounds even better. You’re ready to make that face-to-face plunge. So you schedule to meet someplace, only when you arrive – you can’t find him anywhere. Eventually another guy meanders over and sheepishly explains that HE is your guy. You see. He fudged his photo.
When I arrived at Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works I felt very much like that. Why? B/c I had pictured Stonyfield Farm looking like the scene on its label. Pastures, animals, manure.
Instead I got:
This is Stonyfield Farm.
Contrary to the pastoral scene on the front of each and every one of its recyclable cups, Stonyfield is actually born in an industrial park. Where there are no real cows. A good thing, too, because there was barely any grass. The Yogurt Works is a factory. A large but otherwise nondescript building located in an office park behind the Manchester Airport.
I should have anticipated this. Right? I mean, how else can Stonyfield mass produce the best selling organic yogurt on the face of the planet? By hand, in a barn? Still – I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t let down. By the way, they no longer give tours.
They do have an 11-minute video. Which is cute. And informative. But as a true groupie, it just wasn’t enough. How long is the yogurt left in the incubator? The cool-down tunnels? How many HONKIN CUPS are stored on all those pallets? I wanted more. Much more. And when I got home I realized something else. The woman at the Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works Gift Shop (although pleasant) actually overcharged me by F-I-V-E whole D-O-L-L-A-R-S. My t-shirt was on sale. It was clearly marked. ??!! I should have been paying more attention.
And speaking of attention. I just noticed something else. If you look closely at that enormous Yogurt Cup above (yes, I will wait for you to scroll up & back down…) you will see that it says STONYFIELD – BUT. It no longer says Farm. Stonyfield. But no – Farm.
The old Stonyfield Farm logo had the word farm. I know this b/c earlier that day I’d been at the New Hampshire Historical Society.
And back when I did the Yogurt Taste-off, the cups still said Farm.
But in 2009, Stonyfield changed its logo. I knew all about this b/c as a true groupie, I belong to the online MyStonyfield website. I’d been asked for my opinion by the marketing group responsible for the Stonyfield makeover. (Note: they didn’t pick my first choice of logos – which looked more like their old logo – but that’s o-kay. I am not bitter and still love Stonyfield as much as ever.) I of course noted when the new cups came out. Being a yogurt groupie, one tends to notice these things. Unfortunately, I must be love blind b/c until this very moment I failed to notice they’d removed the word FARM altogether. Strange but true.
The new logo is pretty. It’s fresh, and new. Not as good as my first choice, of course, but lovely all the same. I read an online appraisal of this change. People seem divided as to the aesthetic, but I’m happy to see most people are still united as to what’s inside. Stonyfield Farm yogurt is Good. And really, that’s what counts. Right? So I will leave you with a photo of me in my new tee shirt. Which I love even though I paid $5 more for it than I should have.
Once a groupie, always a groupie.