March 27, 2008
Update on Vermont producer of Buffalo's Milk Products
You may recall a recent post, in which I recommended yogurt produced by Woodstock Water Buffalo Company under the Spoondance Creamery label. On a shopping trip a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Whole Foods was nearly sold out of the yogurt. "Wow," I thought,"a ton of people in western Massachusetts read my blog and rushed out to find buffalo's milk yogurt! Eat your heart out, Clotilde Dusoulier!"
Unfortunately, I learned that the shortage was not caused by a sudden explosion of Savor Culture fanaticism. Days after I published the post, Woodstock Water Buffalo closed its doors. It seems that the company had been sold by its founder, David Muller, to a private investment group in 2006. In February, those investors declined to provide the capital needed for national distribution of WWB's products. Production ceased, and the company was put up for sale.
The new owner is an Italian-born businessman currently residing in Toronto, Canada. According to the Burlington Free Press, he is committed to keeping the company in Vermont, and he plans to expand the product line to include grass-fed buffalo meat and aged cheese, in addition to yogurt and mozzarella. In a telephone conversation, an employee of the company told me that aged cheeses will be developed with several Vermont small-scale cheesemakers: Plymouth Cheese, Crowley Cheese Company, and Jasper Hill Farm.
The company is now known as Vermont Water Buffalo Inc, and its products are expected to be available beginning in April, though distribution will be limited to Vermont for some time. The name "Spoondance Creamery" will not be used for at least six months, as a condition of the business deal.
I was relieved to learn that this unique operation, with its herd of 680 water buffalo, is back in business. By all accounts, the new owner seems to have the passion (and the deep pockets) needed to make this project successful again. I'm looking forward to trying the new products from Vermont Water Buffalo, and will provide updates about product distribution.