Tree Island Yogurt co-owner Scott DiGuistini has his hands full keeping up with market demand.

Tree Island Yogurt co-owner Scott DiGuistini has his hands full keeping up with market demand.

Demand doubles for Tree Island Yogurt in past year

Now available at Thrifty Foods locations

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

 

 

Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt has more than doubled its production in the last year.

This means twice as much local milk is used each week to make yogurt, and 120 pounds of B.C. honey  to make cream-top yogurts.

The Courtenay-based business has expanded into Thrifty Foods locations and into the Okanagan.

“We’re steadily growing,” said Scott DiGuistini, who owns the business along with his wife, Merissa Myles.

“We’re pacing the growth. We have three products in the store right now, that’s our Greek yogurt. The three products that we’re adding are cream-topped yogurt.”

The couple has received a $46,000 provincial Buy Local grant, which will help promote their product, and other farms and food producers in the region.

They are holding a recipe contest to promote the use of their yogurt with other local food products.

Tree Island is the first company in Canada to use lightweight plastic containers. In the first year, the company will save 26,000 pounds of plastic.

The couple, who have two young boys, started Tree Island in 2012 after returning from France where they tasted artisan yogurt made with fresh, whole milk. With nothing to compare in B.C., DiGuistini and Myles decided to create their own product. They now make grass-fed, artisan yogurt at a production plant at 3747 Island Highway South. The grass-fed milk comes from Birkdale Farm in Comox.

“We developed recipes for grass-fed yogurt because we are passionate about the benefits for humans, cows and the land,” Myles said.

It took about two years to get the facility operational before they opened the doors in January, 2013. With no staff but themselves, the couple started by supplying five grocery stores. They now have about 12 employees.

“It’s kind of stabilized now,” DiGuistini said.

The Harvest Recipe Contest runs until Nov. 9.

For more information visit treeislandyogurt.com