Country View Dairy produces all natural farmstead yogurt in both Original and Greek styles from their family dairy herd in Hawkeye, Iowa. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Bob, Dave, and Carolee for sharing your story with us!
What is the name of your farm and where are you located?
Country View Dairy is located in Hawkeye, Iowa, which is in Northeast Iowa on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
Tell us a little about the make-up of your farm.
Dave and Carolee Rapson own and operate their family dairy farm in the hills of Northeast Iowa. While Carolee grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas Dave began working on one in his teens, rented a dairy farm in Michigan where he was from and started a family but decided to purchase a farm in Iowa to plant roots and create a long lasting dairy future for their 5 children.
We milk 180 Holsteins 3 times per day. On the days we make yogurt the milk gets pumped directly over from the milking parlor into the new creamery they built right on the farm 5 years ago. Around 2009, 2010 they knew they had to do something different and add value to the milk they were already producing or they would be forced to get out of the dairy business all together so with lots of research and visiting on farm dairy products producers around the country they arrived at making yogurt and in a leap of faith broke ground on the creamery and started their first small batch in the Fall of 2011.
What does your farm specialize in?
We specialize in yogurt products. We sell locally as well as to some food service distributors in Iowa and neighboring states but most of our product is sold at Natural Food stores and Co-op Food Stores.
Can you tell us a few things that make your signature product(s) special?
Our Greek yogurt would be our signature product and our best seller is our Aronia Blackberry Greek yogurt. All of our yogurts are all-natural with no artificial colors, flavors, no gelatin, no high-fructose corn syrup, made with milk from cows not treated with growth hormones. Also, we can control the quality of our milk since it is single-source all happening right here on the farm from working with a nutritionist on the cows diet to how we milk to processing the milk. We have made many tweaks over the past 5 years and our yogurt is truly an artisan yogurt. We were also recognized in the past year by winning 2nd place in the American Cheese Society contest for our Aronia Blackberry Greek yogurt and at the Iowa State Fair this year swept the yogurt categories for 1st 2nd and 3rd place ribbons with placement right next to the famous Butter Cow. We make our products that we are proud to offer to your families.
What is your farm’s biggest season?
Our cows produce milk 365 days per year and we also make yogurt every week but our busiest seasons are Spring and Fall.
What is the most important thing for consumers to know about your products?
It is made in small batches with simple natural ingredients, all happening right here on the farm.
Do you have a funny/interesting/surprising story about your business?
The Rapsons are a Mennonite family that moved to Iowa from Michigan in 2002 to start their own dairy farm and plant roots in Iowa which is 1/2 way between their home states of Michigan and Kansas. Since then, there are now 25 Mennonite families in the 10 mile radius and they have their own Church and school in Hawkeye.
Anything else we should know?
We have a small farm store in front of the creamery on the farm which sells other locally made foods in Northeast Iowa. We encourage folks to stop by and visit when they are in the area 7-days per week. If you stop during the day during the week you can watch the yogurt making process through our viewing window. We also always have soft-serve frozen yogurt on tap at the farm store for a buck for a cup or cone.