Emeryville, CA (August 20, 2008) — Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoods.com), the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first certified organic retailer, proudly announces that it has provided Sonoma, CA-based St. Benoît Yogurt (www.stbenoit.com) a low-interest $60,000 loan through its Local Producer Loan Program.

The Local Producer Loan Program at Whole Foods Market makes $10 million available annually for low-interest loans to small, community-based food producers. An extension of Whole Food Market’s efforts to expand the availability of quality, local, differentiated products for customers, the loan program supports the communities in which the company does business. This program also strengthens Whole Foods Market’s partnership with local producers and therefore reinforces the value of environmental sustainability.

“The Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program was created to assist artisan producers like St. Benoît and it will have a huge impact on their business,” said Harv Singh, local product forager for Whole Foods Market Northern California. “This loan will allow them to increase production and offer their products to Whole Foods Market customers in regions beyond Northern California.”

St. Benoît will use the loan to restore an old milking parlor, located on John Mattos’ Diamond M Dairy farm in Petaluma, and turn it into an artisan yogurt making room. St. Benoît sources all their organic Jersey milk from Diamond M and this improvement will increase production from 90 gallons of milk daily to 250 gallons daily.

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“We are so thrilled to be a part of this loan program and with the overall support we have received in the past two years from Whole Foods Market,” said Benoît de Korsak, co-founder, St. Benoît Yogurt. “The increased production capacity will result in reduced costs, increased sales and the opportunity for us to more rapidly introduce new flavors.”

St. Benoît is dedicated to the concept of “terroir” and only uses local, certified organic ingredients. In addition to sourcing only organic Jersey milk, they purchase all the fruit and honey used in the yogurt at Bay Area farmers markets. Sustainability also is very important to St. Benoît. They make their yogurts on a farm that is a model of sustainable agriculture and have developed and utilize a reusable ceramic container to hold the yogurt and eliminate packaging waste. Additionally, yogurt deliveries are made via a Compressed Natural Gas vehicle to reduce impact on the environment.

Recent recipients of the Whole Foods Market Local Producer Local Loan program in Northern California include Dr. Melina (San Francisco), Kombucha Botanica (Santa Cruz) and Revolution Foods (Emeryville).

St. Benoît yogurt is available in all 24 Whole Foods Market Northern California locations. Please visit www.wholefoods.com for more information and for store listings.