There are two things we will always love: sharing our yogurt and visitors. If you’re ever in southern New Hampshire, we hope you’ll stop into our Visitors Center to sample our scrumptious yogurt, buy it at discount prices, hear about our early days on the farm, and shop for Stonyfield goodies.
You don’t have to just stop by the Yogurt Works to have a visit, however. We sat down and chatted with Diane Coghlan, Stonyfield’s long-time Community Education Associate. She shared her passion for educating fans and explained what goes on when someone visits.
“We like to talk about the farms and organic, Stonyfield’s mission for the environment and its sustainability practices,” Diane says. “We explain what the production process is all about. We welcome people that come in to buy our products on a regular basis that live in the area. We do wear many hats.”
“I like to share a bit about what organic farming means and what it means to the nutrition of the yogurt and to the health of the cows,” she says. “It’s a good eye-opener for people to understand the connection between the yogurt that they’re eating and where it’s all sourced.”
The Stonyfield Visitors Center was opened in the mid-80s as a welcoming area for the public to learn about what makes the company unique. It was dedicated to Louise and Samuel Kaymen, co-founders of Stonyfield Farm.
When the Visitors Center first opened, we also offered factory tours to the public. “When we first started tours, we actually had the public go out through the factory on the floor, in the incubator, in the cooler. I came on board about ten years ago and we were still doing tours but we were using the glassed-in hallway where you got to observe one line of production.”
“Now, it’s just not feasible anymore. We’ve grown and had to use the room for expansion of our organic production.” Diane says. Fans can still experience production though by watching a short video that shows how yogurt is made.
Visitors can also sample free yogurt with spoons made from recycled yogurt cups.
“That’s another lesson we like to share. We ask fans to put their spoons and cups in the green basin. It’s going to get cleaned, and then it’s going to get recycled and the plastic sent to Preserve to be turned into spoons. We like to point out how important it is to not use something to begin with, to reuse it, and lastly, to be able to recycle it. We’re trying to walk our talk.”
Our Visitor’s Center is also active in community outreach. Diane loves to talk about “Tuesday Tales”, a story time for preschoolers that takes place at the Visitors Center every Tuesday morning from about 10-11:30 a.m. “It has really become quite popular. We have a good following of moms and sometimes dads, grandparents with preschoolers who come in. “We tell a story, do crafts, and of course, every week we get to partake in a healthy snack of yogurt.”
People come to the visitor’s center for a variety of reasons. Many want more education on where our yogurt comes from, production practices, and our environmental mission, but others come in to choose from the widest selection of Stonyfield products, anywhere.
“We do offer a store with our products. It’s one of the few places, if not the only place, where people are going to see everything that we make from the milk to all the varieties of yogurt.”
At the end of the day, however, each visit “is about the farms,” she says. Diane and the Visitors Center team truly work hard to make sure visitors never lose sight of where everything begins.
Find out how to get here: http://www.stonyfield.com/contact-us
The Visitor’s Center is open:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday from 8 am to 5 pm
Thursday 8 am to 6 pm
Closed weekends and holidays