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Jan 01.14

Meet our yogurt supplier

Posted In: Ethical Buying

Our Fresh Face Masks are handmade with fine essential oils, fresh fruits and vegetables, and deep-cleansing clays. Among these fantastic fresh ingredients is organic yogurt, which we use in The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask for its calming, soothing and moisturizing effects on the skin. When selecting a supplier, we look for fresh, local and ethical sources, and yogurt is no exception: we purchase our yogurt from Mapleton’s Organics, a 600 acre farm and dairy located a couple hours away from the Toronto LUSH kitchen, in the rolling farmlands of southern Ontario.

Mapleton’s was founded by Ineke Booy and Martin de Groot, who emigrated from Holland with their two small children in 1980. After working a conventional dairy farm for ten years, and with the arrival of two more children, they began to question the wisdom of conventional farming practices; particularly its heavy reliance on harmful chemicals. They began to worry about the impact of these on the environment, on the animals they worked alongside, on themselves and on the larger community, including the people consuming the milk they produced. They decided to go organic, and in 1999 Mapleton’s Organics came into being. They began processing their organic milk into ice cream, frozen yogurt, and fresh yogurt, sold in a small farm store. This has since been expanded to a café serving lunch, and a store stocked with organic groceries.

Mapleton’s is an entirely organic operation. Organic farming begins with the health of the soil. If the soil is healthy, the crops that grow out of it are healthy, the cows these feed are healthy, and the milk they produce is pesticide and insecticide free: an important detail for something that ends up being consumed, or, in the case of a LUSH Fresh Face Mask, used on the skin.

One of the things that makes Mapleton’s special is that it has its own herd of dairy cows. This means that rather than drawing milk from a communal pool, as is typical for other dairies, the milk they use in their yogurt never leaves the farm, making it fresh and environmentally friendly. Mapleton’s herd of around seventy cows is set out to pasture in the summer months, which allows the cows to express themselves socially. In the winter the herd moves indoors, however they are still turned loose each day to socialize. On average Mapleton’s dairy cows live twice as long as other cows in Ontario. Recently Mapleton’s began the construction of a new dairy barn, based on a progressive design from the Netherlands, which will allow the cows to be milked whenever they like, rather than according to a set schedule.

Mapleton’s also offers educational tours for schools and other groups. I was in attendance at one of Martin’s talks on organic farming, and I was struck by his knowledge, passion, and integrity, as well as his wit and humor. It’s clear Martin and his family believe in furthering the cause of organic farming. One of the many ways they’ve contributed is by lending 70 acres of land to Reroot, an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. This support enabled Reroot to go on to purchase its own 70 acres nearby.

Hung above the café hangs a sign that reads ‘Small is Beautiful’, a nod to the seminal work by E.F. Schumacher, and to the philosophy which has helped guide Mapleton’s. In addition to their ethical and transparent business practices, we purchase our yogurt from Mapleton’s because it’s made with just two ingredients: cultures and fresh organic whole milk. It’s simple, fresh and sustainable.