PAGE TITLE

Iowa's Coolest Summer Treat

If you’re a long-time reader of Family Living, then you may have noticed that we like to run stories about Iowa dairy foods and farming.

That isn’t an accident. Not only is it June Dairy Month, but I must confess, I’m a huge fan of the state’s dairy industry.

The work ethic of dairy farm families amazes me. As I have learned, dairy farmers rarely take vacations. Farmers must milk their cows two or three times a day, every day, with the first milking often in the early morning hours while most of us are still in bed.

Not to mention, dairy is my favorite food group. My fridge is always stocked with milk, string cheese, yogurt and ice cream — my once-a-week (OK, twice-a-week) indulgence.

Because I snack on yogurt almost every day, I was excited to learn about Country View Dairy yogurt, made fresh on a family farm near Hawkeye.

When researching my story, I stumbled upon news that Yotopia, a locally owned frozen yogurt shop in downtown Iowa City and North Liberty, started offering Country View Dairy frozen yogurt last summer.

Frozen yogurt is a trendy treat right now, with chain stores popping up in strip malls across Iowa. But Yotopia is the first shop to source its frozen yogurt straight from an Iowa farm.

“I feel like it’s the best yogurt I’ve ever had,” says shop owner Veronica Tessler, who previously sourced her frozen yogurt from a national distributor before discovering Country View Dairy’s yogurt.

“The quality of the product itself is the best in the industry, and just the fact that it’s from a local farm, it’s produced by Iowa cows, adds to the appeal to me as a small-business owner.”

Yotopia was the first frozen yogurt shop to open in Iowa City three years ago. But when the national chain stores arrived in the area, Tessler decided to sell locally produced frozen yogurt as a way to set her shop apart from the competition.

Through her network of business connections, she discovered Country View Dairy in northeast Iowa. Dan and Carolee Rapson invited Tessler to their dairy farm, where she got to meet their five children, pet the cows and help develop new frozen yogurt flavors.

“It was really special, and it makes me feel good about doing business with their family,” Tessler says.

Yotopia serves several frozen yogurt flavors from Country View Dairy, including the best-selling strawberries and cream, dulce de leche (a caramel flavor) and a new chocolate flavor that the Rapsons have worked months to perfect.

Tessler and her crew also mix up their own in-house frozen yogurt flavors, offering 10 flavors at all times and 33 flavors that rotate throughout the seasons, such as pumpkin spice in the fall.

However, Tessler says her go-to favorite is the tart frozen yogurt topped with berries, a combo she discovered in California and inspired her to open her own frozen yogurt shop close to home.

And unlike the national chain stores, Yotopia’s frozen yogurt is made from farm-fresh milk, not from a powdered yogurt base, Tessler says.

So treat yourself to a frozen yogurt or a trip to your local drive-in this summer for a root beer float, and remember the Iowa dairy farmers who woke up at 3 a.m. to supply the milk for your favorite cool treat for hot days.