I'm in love with Chobani.
True to its marketing slogan, this locally made, Greek-style yogurt is, indeed, "nothing but good."
First of all, it's delicious: thick, creamy, fruity and sweet (but not too sweet).
Second of all, it's nutritious. Chobani has no artificial colors, preservatives, flavors or sweeteners. All varieties are either low-fat or fat-free (like the raspberry flavor that got me hooked), and high in protein. Because of the special straining process used to make Greek-style yogurt, Chobani has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. One 6-ounce serving has 14 grams -- more protein than a serving of milk, canned tuna, peanut butter or black beans.
Best of all, Chobani's success is nothing but good for local dairy farmers. Chobani is made at a plant in the Chenango County town of Columbus using milk from local farms. Last month, its parent company, Agro-Farma Inc., launched a $100 million expansion project designed to keep up with rapidly increasing demand for the yogurt. During a ground-breaking ceremony for a 150,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse across the road from its plant, Agro-Farma President Hamdi Ulukaya called on local dairy farmers to consider increasing the size of their herds to meet the plant's growing need for milk.
After years of hearing about the sad plight of upstate New York's declining dairy industry, this is exciting news. Agro-Farma has a strong commitment to supporting local farmers -- it gets all the milk used in its yogurt from farms within 15 miles of its plant in the hamlet of South Edmeston -- and by the end of this year, the company estimates it will need 25 million pounds of milk a week to keep up with demand for its yogurt.
Chobani is one of the top-selling yogurt brands in the country, thanks, in part, to a savvy marketing strategy. The easy-to-navigate Chobani website offers downloadable coupons, recipes and nutrition information, as well as a schedule for the touring CHOmobile -- a mobile booth that visits community festivals and health expos (including the Utica Boilermaker Road Race this past July) across the country to promote the brand and hand out samples. Chobani is wisely working to capture a chunk of the market share for children's yogurt products with a new line called Chobani Champions, featuring fun flavors like StrawNana and Very Berry that seem sure to stand up against popular brands such as Trix and Go-Gurt.
Chobani has also had the benefit of being in the right place at the right time. Ulukaya purchased the former Kraft plant in 2005 and launched the Chobani brand two years later, just when Greek yogurt was starting to become trendy among foodies and nutrition buffs. The health benefits of Greek yogurt have since been touted in a wide variety of food, health and fitness magazines, and Chobani was singled out by Prevention magazine in a June article listing the "49 best ready-to-eat foods" available in grocery stores.
To top off all this "nothing but good" news, Chobani donates 10 percent of its annual profits to charities that fight poverty, promote nutrition and physical activity in schools, and raise money for cancer prevention and research, among other noble causes. What's not to like?
Maybe it's because of my Greek ancestry, but I also have a soft spot for a product with Mediterranean roots. AgroFarma president Ulukaya was born and raised in Turkey, where his family produced yogurt and feta cheese for three generations. Prior to launching Chobani, he started Euphrates Inc., a wholesale feta cheese producer in Johnstown.
In addition to being a great business success story that will help our regional economy, Chobani is one more example of the amazing variety of high-quality, delicious foods that are grown, raised and made in our area.
For me, there's no breakfast more luxurious than a slice of toasted Heidelberg Hearty Flaxseed bread (made in Herkimer) spread with apple butter from Handsome Brook Farms in Franklin. I see the farmers' market season as an endless parade of treats -- from spring lettuce and strawberries to summer sweet corn and blueberries to fall apples and squash.
With products like Chobani yogurt -- not to mention McCoy's honey, Brooks' barbecue sauce, Foti's bread, Harpersfield Cheese and many, many more -- available year-round in our supermarkets and health food stores, we can continue to buy local, even when the gardens and fields are covered with snow.
Lisa Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Oneonta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm in love with Chobani.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
Upstate theme parks offered affordable thrills
I saw in the news last week that Disney theme parks are raising admission prices to almost $100 a person. Children (who Uncle Walt considers 10 and under) are now $86 a day.Continued ...
- Getting creative with gifts for grads
- Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old
- My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
- Catching a whiff of 'Vermont Vapor'
- Upstate theme parks offered affordable thrills
- Cary Brunswick
Book-banning has a tendency to backfire
So what does the 1960s game show ``What's My Line'' got to do with the Bloomsday festivities occurring in Dublin, Ireland, this week? Surprisingly, there is a link.Continued ...
- Envisioning a world without terror
- We've become our own worst enemies
- Plenty of blame to go around for Bangladesh horror
- Obama is going against his word on Social Security
- Book-banning has a tendency to backfire
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
- Otsego County woman drove her way to success
- 'Robber baron' helped provide landmark church in Roxbury
- Bridge workers found toxic surprise in Neahwa Park in 1988
- Oneonta became a movie set in June 1918
- Local marbles players sought national championship in 1948
- Rick Brockway
Don't play around with snappers
The other day, I was driving along Route 205 between Mount Vision and Hartwick. Suddenly, I had to swerve out of my lane to miss a huge snapping turtle. It was crossing from a large swamp on the left to some higher ground on the other side of the road.
- Emmons Pond Bog is pretty easy to enjoy
- Fishing has gotten a lot more complex
- Waterfalls are even better when you keep them to yourself
- Kids have sparkle in their eyes
- Don't play around with snappers
- Sam Pollak
Justice Dept., IRS abuses worth screaming about
"If this had happened while a Republican was president, the liberal media would be screaming."Continued ...
- THIS WEEK'S POLL
- Using time off in the worst way possible
- Terror lives on, and there's no end in sight
- Remembering the glory of their times
- Justice Dept., IRS abuses worth screaming about
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
- Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues