This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. As always, all opinions are my own ?
I visited some organic dairy farms last month. I came back 99.9% an organic evangelist. True story!
I also came back craving yogurt haha. I’ve been so inspired to create new recipes with organic yogurt. In my house, that usually means a savory recipe. We literally throw yogurt (we call it laban) on so many dishes like Fatteh. This week, I decided to create an herbed yogurt sauce to pair with grilled shrimp.
It went a little something like this:
- Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt – because it makes the sauce tangy and fresh without using heavy cream
- Parsley – because I’m channeling my green goddess! But you can also sub cilantro, mint, dill or any combination of those
- Garlic – because flavor!
- Lime juice – for more tanginess
- Olive oil – to emulsify this bad boy
- And salt and pepper.
Blend it all up in a food processor.
Get a magic green sauce.
Rejoice in the many ways you can use this green yogurt sauce!
There’s grilled shrimp that was the first thing I thought of to pair with this yogurt sauce. But I made so much of this in testing this week that I ended up adding it to chicken, tossing it in a pasta salad and drizzling it on my lunch salads for the week.
Can we just get back now to how I became an organic evangelist? For realz. Here’s the story:
Bloggers Visit a Farm!
I was invited to visit some organic farms with Stonyfield a month ago and get a true Organic 101 lesson straight from the horses’ (err cow’s mouth). I’m pretty much a firm believer in buying organic food, and I was already a huge fan of Stonyfield yogurt. But the deep dive into organic farming for two days was so eye opening for all of us bloggers. We left inspired, uplifted and ready to share as much about what we learned.
See that jolly man in the middle of the picture below? That’s co-founder Gary Hirschberg, who was basically our organic cheerleader during the trip. They call him the Chief Organic Optimist. That smile on his face is constantly there when he talks about the benefits of organic farming.
As part of the visit, we attended a dinner at Philo Ridge Farm that was hosted by the Blue Apron Culinary Team. Stonyfield recently partnered with Blue Apron to include their yogurt in their meal kits. It’s all a part of Blue Apron’s commitment to their ingredient sourcing, which focuses on quality, seasonality, and sustainability. And that theme was so apparent in the fresh and fabulous farm-inspired meal.
What the Farmers Told Us
This trip wasn’t just farm tours on a tractor. We visited with these family farms in person and had meaningful long conversations with them. These farmers educated us about what it means to be organic and why they made the switch when they did. Unfortunately, the number of farms are decreasing the U.S. But the percentage of those farms that are organic is growing. The number one reason these farmers switch from conventional to organic? Profits. And these organic farms can make more profits with as little as 25 organic cows, as compared to more than 100 cows in the far less profitable conventional farms!
So I wondered why don’t more switch? It has to do with commitment, resources and doubt. Many of the conventional farmers don’t want to let go of antibiotics they depend on for their cows’ health. Some just don’t have the pasture and fields configuration. Others don’t have the time or patience to switch their mindset and learn about grazing, proper pasture and breeding for organic farming. And a lot of others unfortunately don’t believe in the organic philosophy or benefits. There’s so much resistance to change, especially given that it takes 1 year to convert a cow to an organic one and 3 years to convert a farm to an organic one.
Those who do make the switch though see so many benefits outside of just profits. For example, one farmer told us that their vet bills for their family dog and cat outweighs that of their 20 cows. These organic cows rarely get sick! Another farmer mentioned that the fact that he can go into his home during his breaks and after a long day of farming and hug his children without worrying about pesticide residue on his clothes was such a small, but fulfilling reward of switching over. They also enjoyed the benefits of less contaminated water system due to the lack of nitrogen fertilizer. And some even mentioned that there were cost savings from the cows helping to mow and manure, and build better soil through rotational grazing.
What We Learned from the Cows
Some parts of the farm tours were just for bonding with the cows. Swooooon. I mean we literally just hung out in a field with cows, petted them and watched them graze on pasture. I saw so much love from the farmers for their cows; and these cows seemed to really love all the attention we gave them. I swear they were the happiest cows ever! That worry about no antibiotics? It turns out it’s not much of a concern after all. When the cows are allowed to roam on the pasture, it’s like a salad bar for them with tons of nutrients! They have a wide variety of grass with essential fatty acids, a mixture of clover legumes that provide lots of protein, plants with medicinal properties and even flowers, like dandelions which have diuretic attributes.
The cows roam the pasture, pick and choose what they want to eat. All that fresh air, all that quality natural nutrition and being part of a healthy ecosystem gets transferred to the dairy they produce. And that all becomes a part of our own nutrition and that of our families. It’s nutrition that is free of toxic and synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals. It’s all so tightly connected. I never realized how important it was to truly understand where our food comes from. But just the simplicity of a cow feeding on pasture has a long chain of effect from impacting the type of milk it produces to impacting biodiversity.
So Why is Organic Better?
I know there is a lot of confusion with consumers about what organic really means and is Non-GMO label the same thing? Is it good enough? Can we even trust these large companies that say they’re serving us organic product? And we don’t have all the answers yet. But I believe that organic shouldn’t be food for the elite. And I know that the answer to lower cost is to scale. It’s already scaled up so much, and it will continue to scale up as more customers buy organic and basically place a vote for it at grocery stories.
Bottom line is, cheap food isn’t cheap.
So yes, organic is better.
I’ve always believed that we get what we pay for. And with organic food, I know more than ever now that I’m getting my money’s worth. Just the peace of mind that I’m eating food without toxic chemicals helps alleviate the burden of the higher price tag. So I recommend, start small. Start with organic produce. Work up to organic dairy. And slowly switch out the conventional products you eat most often with organic ones. It’s little changes that impact our bodies and our ecosystem big time!
I hope you’re extra hungry after this nice read about organic dairy and ready to make this herbed yogurt sauce!
Thanks Stonyfield for a fun trip and for sponsoring this post.
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
- Juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups fresh parsley
- 1 cup Stonyfield organic whole milk plain yogurt
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the herbed yogurt sauce, place the parsley in a food processor and pulse to roughly chop the parsley. Add the yogurt, garlic clove, lime juice and salt/pepper and blend until well combined and smooth.
- While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the olive oil and allow it to emulsify the sauce, scraping down the sides of the food processor as necessary.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat. Thread the shrimp on skewers and place on the grill. Grill on each side for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Remove the skewers from the grill and serve immediately with the herbed yogurt sauce.