Two Sisters and a Farm: Meet the Founders of Painterland Skyr Yogurt

Stephanie (l.) and Hayley (r.) Painter.
Stephanie (l.) and Hayley (r.) Painter.

Stephanie and Hayley Painter always dreamed of bringing light to their family’s fourth generation dairy farm in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, but they weren’t sure exactly what that would look like. Growing up on a farm – and learning the benefits of true farm to table – they soon realized, once they were “out in the world” so to speak, the big disconnect between people and their food.

After being away from the farm for a few years, they returned to Painterland (as their farm is aptly called), to help solve that problem. The result is Painterland Sisters, which they launched in 2022 with a lactose-free yogurt called Skyr, which recently won a prestigious NEXT Award at the Natural Products Expo East, which celebrates the best of the best in the natural products industry.

Stephanie and Hayley spoke to us about their business and their mission to connect consumers with the direct source of their food, while respecting the land and the community built around organic practices.

Walk us through how the idea for the business came about. 

We set out to create a value-added dairy product, emphasizing how it can be both good for people and the environment. Additionally, it was vital to identify a product that could scale to preserve our farm and other family farms for generations to come. After experimenting with various product ideas, we identified a gap in the yogurt market and decided to create Painterland Sisters organic Skyr yogurt. By sparking a conversation about sustainable family farm dairies, nutrition foods and transparency, we are connecting with consumers in a fresh way that has fueled the growth of our business and online community.

Why yogurt? 

We spent years trying to answer the question: “What dairy product do we want to bring to the world that will be a niche, meet a need, and be able to grow?” Through crafting and learning from experts in the industry we decided on Icelandic-style yogurt. We were drawn to Skyr for its delicious taste and health benefits, and because we believe that food should be both good for you and good tasting! With that idea in mind, we partnered with a 10th-generation Icelandic yogurt maker to craft a nutrient-dense Icelandic-style skyr yogurt using milk from our family’s farm and farms in the area. (Note: there are currently six flavors: plain, vanilla bean, blueberry lemon, strawberry, meadow berry, and Savannah’s Peach.)

What are some things you’ve learned along the way?

From the very beginning, we realized the importance of breaking through stereotypes and challenging societal norms as millennial women in agriculture and in business. We’ve pushed boundaries, questioned decision-makers, and jumped into this business without fear of failure, ultimately teaching us that by amplifying our voices and advocating for the American farmer, we can inspire the next generation of people in agriculture and women in business to pursue their dreams with confidence and determination. We’ve also learned the importance of surrounding ourselves with a knowledgeable team. Over the past 18 months we’ve slowly curated our small but mighty team of people with expertise in areas that have supported our growth but kept our authentic perspective. Finding team members who not only bring their knowledge but also energy and enthusiasm while simultaneously being impact-oriented has been invaluable in growing this business.

It’s one thing to create a product, but it’s another to run a successful business. Did you ever think you’d achieve what you’ve achieved today?

When starting this business we were aware of the scary truth that very few startups succeed. To us, succeeding in this business meant more than just selling yogurts. It meant sustaining family farms like ours for generations to come and empowering consumers with transparency while fueling them with real nutrients.

What does your family think?

We originally started this business as a way to sustain our family farm, and have seen such incredible support from our family along the way. Since day one, our parents, grandparents and siblings have been cheering us on. From the early days of setting up tables at grocery stores to sample our first batches of yogurt to standing alongside us at community events today, they have been extremely supportive of our dreams.  Our dad has a sparkle in his eye and pride in his smile. That contagious support has spread through our local community, state and now network, nationwide.

What are your plans for the future?

We are actually in the midst of fundraising. We decided to open up this investment opportunity in an effort to grow Painterland Sisters while allowing our community to reap the rewards of our success. With that being said, our vision for the future is to be a leader in premium dairy products while creating a positive impact for communities across the country.

Some of the greatest rewards?

The journey has been incredibly rewarding for both of us. One of the greatest rewards has been the positive impact we’ve seen on our customers and communities lives. The positive feedback from those who appreciate the quality of ingredients and overall taste while also feeling connected to the farming lifestyle has been immensely gratifying. We say that every cup of yogurt we get into someone’s hands opens the door for a conversation about the importance of agriculture.

And how about hurdles?

One of the main challenges has been the competitive nature of the food industry. Differentiating ourselves on crowded shelves requires constant innovation and strategic thinking, but we are proud to say that leading with quality and authenticity helps set us apart. We’ve also been blown away by the demand for our yogurt, so managing the supply chain for organic ingredients has posed its own set of challenges, but it’s a hurdle we’ve embraced as part of this crazy journey. In the end, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Seeing our organic Skyr yogurt on the shelves, receiving positive testimonials from happy customers, and knowing that we’re making a positive impact on people’s health keeps us motivated and excited for the future of Painterland Sisters.


Elizabeth Hazard

Elizabeth Hazard is a writer, producer and photography editor. Her work has appeared in various publications and she writes frequently about art, culture, fashion and history.



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