Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Organic Valley

By Marc Hamel and Ha Lam, September 20, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Marc Hamel and Ha Lam
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER CASEY FROM ANNAPOLIS, MD. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS! We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’ll be sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series. Read on for a chance to win a $50 gift card. “We go out to the grocery store wearing our Organic Valley hats and someone will come up to us and say, ‘Oh, I love your stuff, it’s the best, thanks!’ and it feels great.” In scenic Fairfield, Vermont, young farmers Tyler and Melanie Webb run Stony Pond Farm, an organic dairy farm that supplies milk to Organic Valley. Their road to farming was a little unorthodox. Neither Tyler nor Melanie have a background in farming; they both grew up in suburbs of New York. Tyler’s first interest in farming came from studying anthropology in college. Through taking a soils class, he studied plant and soil science and worked for the government for a few years before taking the leap to start Stony Pond Farm. “Tyler found this farm and it was a rundown old dairy farm that together we brought back to life,” says Melanie. “I figured if I’m ever going to have a chance of being a farmer I’d better try it in my early 20s than my late 60s, so I quit my job, “ says Tyler. “I look back and I don’t even know how we pulled it off. Every day you wake up and you do what you have to do. You milk the cows and you do what’s possible and then before you know it, you’ve done the impossible. In looking back, it seems like it was impossible, but we did it.” For the Webbs, it was important for their dairy to be part of a farmer-owned cooperative like Organic Valley that encourages the growth and stability of family farms. “I think Organic Valley has been really interested in supporting and promoting young farmers, “ says Melanie. “It’s cool to be part of a co-op that is so forward-thinking.” What do you think about the hard work that the Webbs have put into starting their dairy farm? Watch the slideshow above and leave a comment with your answer by October 11. One comment will be chosen at random to win a $50 gift card to our stores.
Category: Supplier Stories




Tyler and Melanie Webb says ...
Wow. Thank you all so much! We love what we do, and hearing all the appreciation is so inspiring to always continue our journey as farmers, and stewards of the land. Enjoy. Ty, Mel and Wyatt.
09/22/2011 8:19:54 AM CDT
Kristen says ...
All I can really say is that I'm so glad that there are people like the Webbs. Without them and their commitment to raise happy, healthy animals that are able to lead fairly comfortable lives, my family wouldn't be able to have dairy-based products. I'm not able to raise my own animals and I won't buy from people who don't treat their animals with love and respect. The Webbs are the kinds of farmers I want to support and give my money to. Thanks, Webb family! Keep up the hard work.
09/22/2011 8:21:11 AM CDT
The Sweetest Vegan says ...
Im vegan, but I am all for family farms!
09/22/2011 10:51:37 AM CDT
Janelle says ...
How inspiring! I've always been interested in these things but never knew where to get started.... they are an awesome example that anyone can do it!
09/22/2011 10:51:39 AM CDT
Jon says ...
What a fabulous and encouraging story. I am honestly inspired by this.
09/24/2011 8:20:46 AM CDT
Sebastian says ...
I envy them! I love Vermont and dairy and being active and in the nature there while being part of Organic Valley must be pretty awesome. I would like at least to visit such a place.
09/22/2011 1:54:05 AM CDT
Stephanie Bjerk says ...
This story was pretty inspiring, and it also made me smile when I read that soil played a part. I had always perceived dairy farming as a very rigorous career and to see that this family is a young one just blows my mind. I am extremely excited to see younger individuals interested in farming! My friend's family owns a dairy farm and I always ask how his cows are. I love the fact everyday people can take on greater roles and conquer such demanding tasks. The movement to support great quality and down to earth goodness is spreading and I am proud to say that I do this through purchasing Organic Valley products.
09/22/2011 12:20:13 AM CDT
Kathy Clark says ...
I think what the Webb family is doing is super fantastic! I wish every farmer would go organic!
09/22/2011 10:29:54 PM CDT
Jan C. says ...
So wonderful to hear this story of dedication and success! I'm trying my hardest to source out food providers exactly like the Webbs, to feed my family; the state of our food system in North America is devastating, so it's wonderful and inspirational to hear about young people who are willing to go down the road very-much-less-travelled and start a wholesome farming business, from scratch! Well done! :D
09/26/2011 9:42:11 PM CDT
Kelly Murphy says ...
What a great story! It is so great to meet the folks who are working hard to make such great products.
09/24/2011 11:03:57 PM CDT
Kim Herba says ...
Organic is the only way to go~ that's all I buy!
09/21/2011 10:29:53 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
I love their story because it is so similar to mine and my husband's story. We, as a young couple, left our careers, him as a project manager for a remodeling company and myself as a graphic designer, and started our own business doing existing home energy audits and certifying new homes for Energy Star and Green Star. We went out of our comfort zones and sacraficed having steadily paying jobs (and insurance) to start a company that will better the environment and educate homeowners about saving energy in their home. Today, 4 years and 3 kids later, we still enjoy what we do. We participate in programs like Habitat for Humanity, local low income weatherization programs and do local home shows to educate and promote energy saving. Plus, the fact that our commute is usually in slippers. It is a hard road and looking back you don't know how you were able to push through the first years. You do it for your family and when it's a business that betters the planet, you are doing for others as well. Kudos to the Webb family for dong the right thing and making the food we eat and the land we live on better.
09/21/2011 10:30:03 PM CDT
Connie says ...
It seems that Orgainic Valley is really about family farmers, that are passionate about a quality product.
09/22/2011 5:27:38 PM CDT
suzanne g says ...
Thanks for posting. It's great to hear a story like this.
09/22/2011 10:54:30 PM CDT
K. Villareal says ...
Wow! Kudos to the Webbs! They really make me feel that it's not completely impossible to achieve my goals. And thanks to them for giving us a healthy supply of milk!!
09/22/2011 7:25:43 AM CDT
Babs says ...
Running a dairy is hard work, but we're grateful someone is willing to take on all the challenges. We buy Organic Valley products constantly and don't know what we would do were they not available.
09/22/2011 2:39:08 AM CDT
Blandine Duvillier says ...
Their should be more people with passion for organic like them. You are what you eat :)
09/22/2011 2:51:25 AM CDT
Cassie says ...
That was so nice to learn about a family that took a risk to live their dream! Growing up I always had it in the back of my mind that I'd like to make a living working with the land, so it's great to see that my family's milk is coming from a family similar to mine (although, the mom seems to accomplish a lot more than I can with the baby in the sling! ) We try to buy locally and know the farmers who grow our veggies. So, it was great to see my milk coming from people I can actually relate to! It was also wonderful to see the happy cows. Seeing this has really solidified my commitment to Organic Valley!
09/22/2011 2:21:26 AM CDT
Melody says ...
That's amazing how they were able to change their own lives and work toward what is really important to them.
09/22/2011 3:17:51 PM CDT
Crystal Welsh says ...
Happy cows! Happy farmers! Happy customers! Happy Earth! This is how all farms should be! I'm so glad that there are committed brave young folks out there who are willing to embrace farming as an occupation. Thank you!
09/22/2011 3:24:29 PM CDT
Lisa Johnson says ...
Very Inspiring!. Exactly what my 8 yr old daughters needs to see with her own eyes a better understanding for myself as well. I can not change the past but I am working hard to direct the future for my daughter "Organic Valley" is a big part of that journey eating right drinking right. Thank you Beautiful animals (healthy looking, cleaning, happy) Beautiful people. Thank you
09/22/2011 2:21:10 AM CDT
Kathy T says ...
They wanted their work to be a reflection of their values--and Organic Valley & Whole Foods are a part of that.GOOD--Organic Valley products are always top notch- and I am glad to buy products MADE IN USA!!
09/24/2011 3:33:53 PM CDT
Mary Hopkins says ...
It's awesome to see a couple working together doing what they love! Their products are amazing and I hope they continue to inspire others.
09/25/2011 9:35:35 AM CDT
Lisa says ...
Very heart-warming, inspiring story of impacting the world for good. Thanks!
09/26/2011 11:04:49 AM CDT
Jimmy Arcade says ...
Tyler and Melanie's story is refreshing. My wife and I have joked around about being farmers and have never thought it possible. We have a friend, whose parents are conventional farmers and, in their opinion, it's nearly impossible to run a farm and to do so in a financially viable way. It's very cool to see Tyler and Melanie start an organic, sustainable, cruelty-free, and environmentally-friendly dairy farm. The fulfillment of their dreams, in starting and running this dairy farm, is a great testament to the spirit of creative ingenuity and steadfast persistence that has been resurfacing in North America, in small trickles. It is inspiring to hear such successful stories and reflect on the possibility that this country could, again, be the land of opportunity that it was once known for. I pray that this trend continues and that the responsible approach to agriculture and horticulture would become a way of life.
09/27/2011 1:55:56 AM CDT