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Vermont Creamery a good niche fit for Land O’Lakes — and vice versaVermont Creamery a good niche fit for Land O’Lakes — and vice versa

Land O’Lakes captures dairy goat product niche by acquiring Vermont Creamery. Market expansion for the creamery anticipated.

John Vogel

April 3, 2017

3 Min Read
ARTISANAL MILK-MAKER: This Saanen dairy goat’s job was ensured with the Vermont Creamery deal.annadarzy/iStock/Thinkstock

Last week, Vermont Creamery and Land O’Lakes jointly announced the creamery would become an independently operated subsidiary of the giant Minnesota-based cooperative. Co-owners Allison Hooper and Bob Reese see the deal as an opportunity for them to slow down and spend more time with family. Land O’Lakes officials see the artisanal cheesemaker as a window for new product and market expansion.

Here’s now Hooper put it in her blog: “After several years of searching for the right partner, we’re thrilled to share this news. We’re filled with a myriad of emotions: Delight that we have found a great partner. Elation that our baby, Vermont Creamery, is a great catch and a good fit for America’s iconic butter-maker. Nostalgia for those naïve 20-something-year-olds starting an improbable enterprise. Relief that we’re leaving behind the stress of owning a business that isn’t so little anymore. Excitement that the future for Vermont Creamery and our team is bright and filled with opportunity.”

Success for creamery and its milk providers
Hooper and Reese started out in a milk house on a goat dairy in Brookfield, Vt. They quickly outgrew the converted creamery, and their team moved to Websterville, Vt., in 1989. Led by French master cheesemaker and current president Adeline Druart, the creamery team crafts European-style artisanal dairy products.

The creamery supports a network of 12 family goat farms located in Vermont and New Hampshire. Milk is also brought in from 10 goat farms, members of the Hewitt's Dairy Cooperative in Ontario, Canada. Cows’ milk cream, brought in from northern Vermont’s St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, is used to make European-style crème fraîche, cultured butter and mascarpone.

Reese and Hooper will serve as advisers and brand ambassadors for the business. Druart and the leadership team will remain in place as will all employees of the business.

STILL INVOLVED: Hooper and Reese will remain as advisers for the creamery.

Vermont Creamery’s team will continue producing its award-winning fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter and fresh dairy at the creamery. “We’ve always taken seriously our commitment to our farmers, employees and Vermont's working landscape,” adds Hooper.

“These values are at the core of our decision to sell the business,” he reflects. “As we experienced unprecedented growth, we needed a partner who can bring the resources and expertise necessary to help us realize our vision and the potential of our business.”

Land O'Lakes likes Vermont Creamery’s brand plus its market growth opportunities. “We’re excited about the culture of product innovation they’ve built in addition to the category itself and the opportunities for even more expansion,” remarks Beth Ford, Land O'Lakes group executive vice president.

Partnering with Land O'Lakes adds key ingredients for growth — additional resources and dairy expertise, affirms Druart. Founded at a time when Americans rarely ate goat cheese, Vermont Creamery has grown over nearly 35 years to be a premiere producer and national distributor of fresh and aged goat cheese, crème fraîche and cultured butter. The company’s product line has won more than 100 national and international awards.

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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