LAND OF MILK & MEMORY
There is a tang in the air outside Snowville Creamery. It is the scent of Wednesday — yogurt day.
Cows of the neighboring farms are off grazing in a distant pasture. In a couple hours they will be gathered to be milked. Then they’ll march in a lackadaisical parade back to the fields. It’s an easy life being outside.
While it is easy for the cows, the slopes of southeast Ohio aren’t an ideal location for a large-scale dairy processing plant, but that is where Warren Taylor calls home. His passion for the land and the memories it holds have brought him back to produce “milk the way it used to be,” with the help of the surrounding community.
Outside it is quiet. Inside is different. The processing plant is loud. Machinery grinds. Yogurt squirts out into plastic containers and weave through a stainless steel maze of pipes to the walk-in refrigerator.
After 30 years of designing dairy plants for some of the nation’s largest companies in California and Wisconsin, Warren was disenchanted by the industry. He decided to start his own small creamery around the corner from his home in Meigs County to do things a different way. “I wanted to get back to food in its natural state,” Warren said.
Taylor hopes to show that his business model is sustainable and reproducible. “The local Athens community is very tuned in to sustainable agriculture. The land here was depleted by the mining companies and it was farmed out. Part of the goal of moving here was to rebuild the land by building a sustainable agriculture model that builds soil and returns the land back to the way it was before the mining companies came in,” Warren said.
Snowville has become a staple in specialized grocery stores and coffee shops from Columbus to Pittsburgh. Warren prides his company on paying its farmers a fair wage and treating its cows respectfully, giving them a grass diet and not treating them with hormones.
Because Warren's attempts to run his business in a holistic way pit him against the large dairy industry, he has begun a grassroots effort to distinguish Snowville from the competition.
“My Honest Table” calls for dairy companies to label products from cows that are fed genetically modified grains. Further it urges Congress to pass legislation requiring this. To bring it to the attention of congressmen, Warren visits Washington D.C periodically to discuss the issue in their offices.