Who is Nancy?
Nancy Hamren, The Namesake
“I had always loved yogurt because my grandmother was very much into natural foods.” Nancy Hamren, 2005
People often ask, “where did Nancy’s Yogurt get its name?” Simple, from Nancy Van Brasch Hamren, the Springfield Creamery’s long-time bookkeeper and recipe supplier.
Born and raised in California, Texas and Iowa, Nancy’s was the third generation in a lineage of health food enthusiasts. In 1966, Nancy moved to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco to attend college. It was 1969 when she met Ken Kesey, counterculture leader and author of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest', and she was invited to take care of Ken’s Pleasant Hill, Oregon farm while he was in London recording stories with the Beatles. When Nancy heard Ken’s brother, Chuck, had a little creamery in Springfield, Ore., and was looking for a bookkeeper, she applied and soon found herself sharing her knowledge of making yogurt.
This was just when live cultures were becoming a topic of conversation. Using Nancy’s grandmother’s recipe for yogurt, Nancy and Chuck began experimenting using acidophilus in a sour cream-like yogurt. What they ended up with was traditional, creamy, full-bodied, tangy yogurt that is now known as Nancy’s Yogurt.
“The neat thing about this creamery is that it’s not just work,” she says. “I’m the bookkeeper and the historian..."
Nancy’s career at Springfield Creamery has supported the growth of her own family, including her husband, Jerry, and two daughters, Emily and Meredith. “The neat thing about this creamery is that it’s not just work,” she says. “I’m the bookkeeper and the historian. I do research on new cultures, new ingredients; I taste every batch of yogurt we make. We are each deep banks of knowledge about many things, and what makes it so enjoyable is that we all fill in for each other in so many ways. It’s a culture of sharing.”