MOUNT VERNON — Annie Lambla, who is also known as the “Yogurt Pedaler,” will be sharing her love and knowledge of yogurt making at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market Saturday morning on Public Square.
“I learned how to make yogurt when I was working on a dairy farm in France a couple of years ago,” Lambla said.
She said curiosity led her to her first experimentation with the process of yogurt making.
While working as an English teacher and copyeditor in Turkey a few years ago, she said she was looking for new work which would involve working with her hands.
“I wanted a way to get back to France after studying there during college,” Lambla explained.
She graduated from Kenyon College in 2007 with a degree in anthropology. She has not been back to Knox County since then, and looks forward to Saturday, where she will be in Mount Vernon as the last stop on her first bike trip as the “yogurt pedaler.”
A year ago she began a blog detailing a proposed bike tour across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio visiting dairy farms, and sharing her passion for yogurt making with people along the way.
The trip, which has lasted a month, has taken her to dairy farms and farmers markets in all three states.
“I’ve stopped at dairy farms and I’ve tried to make a bigger city for each Saturday,” she said.
She also conducted a workshop on yogurt making at Kenyon while in town.
Saturday she will be there when the farmers market opens, and plans to stay until it closes at noon. She will have her yogurt-making materials in her cart.
“I’ll have information people can take home about how to make yogurt,” she said.
Besides the process of yogurt making, Lambla is also passionate about people gaining a better understanding of where their food comes from.
“I’m trying to make people excited about making their own yogurt and knowing where their food comes from,” she explained.
“So many of the raw materials are only a bike ride away, and I’m trying to get people aware of what they have in their local communities,” Lambla said.
Back home in Chicago, Lambla works with bicycles and food. She combined the two vocations for this project. She works as a bicycle mechanic for a nonprofit bike shop in her Hyde Park neighborhood. She also manages a produce market.
On Saturday, Lambla will have yogurt made from milk produced on family farms in Fredericktown and Utica.
She said the monthlong ride, which has been funded by Lambla herself, as well as donations, has taught her things she did not expect.
“I learned that there are not as many dairy farms as I had hoped,” she said. “I learned a lot about the tight-knit agricultural communities that are really interwoven into the rural communities and nearby towns.”
“This was just a crazy idea, but being out there on my bike has inspired a lot of people and that was the goal,” Lambla said.
For more information, visit Lambla at her blog at www.yogurtpedaler.com.