The New York Times reports a small, farmer-operated outfit is confident in its organic milk, but soft demand from foodies and a crowded market is hurting business.  

Maine’s Own Organic, also known as MOO Milk, is an organic, slow-pasteurized milk company serving local markets. It has shelf space at Whole Foods in Massachusetts but organic shoppers are choosing national brands like Horizon Organic and Organic Valley.

MOO milk began when the processor, Hood, in Oneida, N.Y. ended its contracts with organic dairies who were further away from the plant. Nine farmers worked together to form MOO Milk.

MOO has been able to stay afloat through the deal with Whole Foods and co-owner Aaron Bell remains optimistic he can create loyal customers if they sample his product. Farmers saw opportunity in the organic milk market when MOO Milk was established in 2005. The economic downturn in 2008 hurt demand for organic milk when consumers could purchase twice as much nonorganic milk for the same price.

The small organic dairy group doesn’t have funding for advertising in a crowded market where consumers buy based on habit. MOO is hoping  to wait a few months for demand to improve.

MOO Milk farmers including Herb McPhail are willing to make the sacrifices to stay in business and are convinced a market for local, sustainable agriculture exists.

Source: New York Times