Our food is our heart and soul. That’s why we choose our ingredients – and suppliers – carefully! A perfect example? Anita’s Coconut Yogurt.

Anita’s has quite a following locally, and for good reason. Whereas many coconut yogurts on the market are loaded with additives and have a less than stellar taste, Anita’s vegan yogurt has an ultra clean label and is produced in small batches out of Brooklyn. You can taste the difference – pure, unprocessed coconut milk leaves a perfectly creamy taste, minus any additives or added sugar.

We sat down with Anita to learn more about how her yogurt came to be. What we learned made us all the more proud to be working with her!

Anita’s Story

On going vegan:

“Before I was vegan I was a line cook. I ate meals at work every day, lots of heavy baked goods, meat entrées and starchy sides. Very quickly my health started to dive bomb. My boyfriend suggested I try a vegan diet for a couple weeks to see if that solved the problem. Those two weeks turned into the rest of my life!”

On starting Anita’s:

“I had a vegan baking business. I needed a good vegan yogurt to put in my dessert recipes, but came up short looking for one at stores. A chef friend suggested I try making yogurt and gave me a pack of starter cultures. That is where it began. It took about three years to get the recipe right. Coconut milk gave the best results in flavor and texture.

“So many food businesses go under because they have too many components. They are trying to please everyone. My baking business failed for this reason. One of the last things I made was a wedding cake. I thought, ‘Why did I do this? Do I really want to bake wedding cakes?’ I decided then and there that my next business would have one item. One ingredient. One customer need.”

The Process

Anita started by going to Home Depot, buying a bunch of crazy tools and using trial and error to figure out her own yogurt making process.

On production today:

“People ask to see my ‘kitchen.’ Small batch yogurt production to me looks more like a laboratory than a kitchen.”

“We use additive-free coconut milk and pure organic coconut water. We have partnered with our culture supplier to create a custom blend that has twice as many probiotic strains than our previous cultures. I found the milk by talking to a local Thai family that has a direct connection to manufacturers there.”

The Best Part of Anita’s

On being a small business:

“My favorite part of it is being part of a community of local food entrepreneurs. We help each other along the way and share resources.”

On her favorite recipes (check out her blog for more!):

“In other regions of the world, yogurt is primarily a savory food. I want to see people use it in dressings, sauces and marinades. Two of my favorite recipes are tzatziki sauce and seitan tikka kebabs.”

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We’re proud to work with small business owners who put so much care into crafting their product. We’re thrilled to introduce Anita’s yogurt outside New York, where it’s otherwise not yet distributed.

Ready for a taste? Find it in our Açai Berry Bowl, Complete Breakfast Blend and Fresh Fruit bowl this season!

Photos by Christina Nuzzo (LifeMosaic Photography)