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




Samantha Stevenson says ...
I think their story is incredibly inspiring. The fact that they took a risk at such a young age enourages me to strive to achieve my goals now rather than putting them off until I am older. Sometimes you have to take a risk in order to find success and I am certainly thankful they took a risk on such a great product!
09/20/2011 3:20:26 PM CDT
Natalie says ...
I think this is inspiring. I love peeking into the lives of good farmers. The work is very tiring I imagine and I appreciate their efforts. Good job Tyler and Melanie!
09/20/2011 3:55:40 PM CDT
Briana says ...
I think what the Webbs are doing is awesome and I love Organic Valley products!
09/20/2011 4:09:38 PM CDT
Heather says ...
I love stories like the Webbs, best of all I love Organic Valley Milk and Cottage Cheese. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication!
09/20/2011 4:36:56 PM CDT
Jill Davis says ...
Wow. What a great story! It makes me want to start a dairy myself!
09/20/2011 4:53:33 PM CDT
Gary Rhine says ...
‘Oh, I love your stuff, it’s the best, thanks!’ and it feels great.”
09/20/2011 5:09:31 PM CDT
LaDawn M. says ...
I think it is great that he found his passion and is able to do what he loves everyday! I feel it's a bonus that the rest of us get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. ;)
09/20/2011 10:25:30 PM CDT
Melanie says ...
Happy cows! It was great to see the story of how the cottage cheese my family loves begins -- and it must be pretty good to know that -- at any given moment - the great milk that started with you is filling glasses at dinner tables near and far. Keep up the wonderful work, Webbs!
09/21/2011 9:20:14 AM CDT
Liz T. says ...
How nice to put faces and a story with a brand that I love! What I really enjoyed seeing was the cows all have actual names printed on their ear tags instead of numbers. They are an essential part of the Organic Valley and Webb family and are treated as such, instead of like pieces of machinery on an assembly line. Thank you for sharing this with us and please keep posts like this one coming!
09/21/2011 11:23:51 AM CDT
Julie says ...
I think this story is amazing. I have never tried organic milk and i definately plan on trying it next time I go to the store! Thanks for all you are doing to make things safe for our bodies! keep up the good work! still amazed at how well kept and healthy your cows looked! ;))
09/21/2011 12:19:33 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
I think it's awesome that they were able to reclaim a rundown dairy and start something so fabulous! It's hard to be a farmer, so kudos to them for starting a farm from scratch with a committment to sustainability.
09/21/2011 1:21:12 PM CDT
Leslie Winsor says ...
I love that the Webbs set out to do something they didn't have any experience in, but had a passion for! They followed their dream, and are working hard to keep the dream!
09/21/2011 1:45:44 PM CDT
Kelli Lands says ...
I am super impressed by all the hard work they put in. I also love how each of the cows have their own name and not just a number!
09/21/2011 1:52:42 PM CDT
brenda p says ...
Great encouraging story. Thank you Webb family! Got to try Organic Valley milk and products. Thank you for providing for our family:)
09/21/2011 1:52:44 PM CDT
JennyE says ...
Thank you to the Webb family. It's great to see that your shared dreams are coming true...I wonder how much non-grass the dairy cows for Organic Valley are fed. Jordan Rubin ("Garden of Life" & more) is now farming and, he makes sure his animals have LOTS of land and LOTS of grass. In fact, I saw in an Extraordinary Health mag that he describes the cattle as "green-fed" rather than "grass-fed".
09/21/2011 2:46:11 PM CDT
Soledad Cervantes says ...
Congrats on your accomplishment! ; )
09/21/2011 2:55:15 PM CDT
Soledad Cervantes says ...
Congrats on your accomplishment!
09/21/2011 2:56:00 PM CDT
Carly says ...
Organic Valley products are incredible and also something you can feel good about buying. I never thought people from NYC burbs would think to farm in their 20s when others consider that the partying years. very different & super cool.
09/21/2011 2:58:53 PM CDT
Michelle says ...
Tyler and Melanie's story will encourage many other people to grow and eat organic. Seeing how hard it must have been to farm especially when you haven't before. I think this shows that if you work hard to achieve something, you will get it. I love their products, and I hope other farmer's will learn from their story!
09/21/2011 3:05:51 PM CDT
Camille Ganpath says ...
This is very interesting. My family drinks organic milk. I am definitely going to try Organic Valley next time I go grocery shopping. I started going organic when I had my baby girl. I try my best to do what I can to make her food choices healthy and nutritious. My husband and I have also realized that the taste of organic milk is so much better than what we grew up on and now drink more of it.
09/21/2011 3:30:24 PM CDT
Ravi Chand says ...
Renews my trust in organic valley and orgnaic food in general.
09/21/2011 3:49:08 PM CDT
Laura Wasden says ...
These guys are super heroes! Looks like a great life they have created that will contribute to so many others.
09/21/2011 4:23:50 PM CDT
Casey says ...
I always drink Organic Valley - it's delicious and nutritious! Now I know the rest of the story - some of the farmers and cows behind the product. The Webbs are well spoken, energetic, and passionate about farming in a sustainable and organic manner. Their cows are beautiful, too! Thanks to the Webbs, I got the BEST milk!
09/21/2011 4:37:04 PM CDT
Kymara Ely says ...
I applaud the Webbs for starting their farm. I like the fact that they are young family like mine, concerned about the environment, want to provide the best for their family and their community by offering an organic product, and are living the old-fashion american dream of entrepreneurship.
09/21/2011 4:39:51 PM CDT
DanB says ...
You don't see too many farms like this any more.
09/21/2011 4:43:06 PM CDT