Benoît de Korsak and his company St. Benoît Creamery are named after St. Benoît (aka St. Benedict), the patron saint of farmworkers. In 529 C.E., this famous monk founded a religious order known for hard work, agricultural innovations and commitment to the land. Centuries later, his practices live on in his namesake.
Founded in 2004, St. Benoît Creamery is located in Petaluma, California and is known for its French-style yogurt. There are just three ingredients: Jersey cow milk, a special French culture and local fruit or honey. Compared to Greek or Icelandic yogurt, this simple recipe is creamier and much less sour.
Due to a weird paperwork mishap when Benoît emigrated from France, the big banks actually believed he was born in 2003. This made it difficult for him to obtain financial backing when it came time to expand his business.
The First Loan for Fantastic Yogurt
In 2008, Whole Foods Market offered Benoît a low-interest Local Producer Loan to help him build a creamery on the farm that supplies his milk. We’ve been fans of his yogurt since we first tried it, and we were reasonably certain Benoît wasn’t a very small child.
With the facility located so close to the cows, he’s able to use a special low-temperature, non-homogenizing, vat-pasteurization method that keeps the yogurt nice and creamy. Less than an hour passes between milking the cows and processing.
“We put the dairy in the middle of the farm, because we wanted to share in the cows’ free range life,” Benoît says.
Jersey cows are a huge part of what makes the dairy so incredible. As far as cows go, they’re nimble and can easily navigate the farm’s lush, hilly terrain. Their genetics and healthy lifestyle produce milk that’s higher in protein and milk fat.
Magnificent Milk and Loan Number Two
St. Benoît Creamery took out a second Local Producer Loan to bring their glass-bottled, pasture-raised, organic Jersey cow milk to market. With the extra cash flow, they were able to purchase more cows for the farm. Since the Jersey breed produces about 30% less milk than a typical Holstein, this was an important step in their growth.
This is phenomenal milk. It has a rich cream top, and the milk’s extra fat is left in to preserve taste as well as the naturally occurring vitamins A and D. The grass the cows eat is not grown with synthetic pesticides and the cows themselves are given no antibiotics.
Revolutionary Packaging and a Third Loan
Benoît spent a lot of time in the mountains of France and has a natural love for the outdoors. This inspired him to develop environmentally conscious packaging for his product. For many years, St. Benoît Creamery’s yogurt was only available in ceramic containers that could be returned at farmers’ markets and reused. As demand grew, they looked for a way to bring their product to the rest of the country while maintaining their commitment to sustainability.
With a third Local Producer Loan, the creamery purchased a machine that packages its yogurt in recycled glass bottles. Nearly all yogurts are shipped in plastic, so this machine had to be custom-made. Since it was switched on, it has kept over 2 million containers out of landfills.
We’re extremely impressed with how St. Benoît Creamery has grown over the years. It’s a source of great pride for our company to have been a part of St. Benoît Creamery’s success, and we know you’ll love their yogurt and milk as much as we do.
Pick some up on your next trip, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.
They’re still a growing company and are only available in select regions. Look for St. Benoît Creamery yogurt in Whole Foods Market stores in: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Western Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey (excluding Marlton and Princeton), New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington. If you don’t see their products, ask a Team Member in your local store if there’s a local yogurt they recommend.