Butter is back

This article was originally published in September 2011

Overshadowed by olive oil and other fats for decades, butter’s making a comeback.

In 2005, for the first time since 1957, Americans ate more butter than margarine — and is it any wonder why? An ear of organic sweet corn rolled in a bit of creamy, melting butter is reason enough for us. Here are some PCC favorites, with notes from our staff tasting.

Kerrygold butter

Made from only the “summer milk” of grass-fed cows in Ireland, where the temperate climate and acres of pasture allow cows to graze year-round. The milk comes from a cooperative of small dairy farmers and yields a very soft, spreadable butter with a naturally deep gold color. Tasting notes: “My fave!” “This is the real thing!” “Great, would use on bread!”

Organic Valley Pasture butter

This cultured and lightly salted butter is produced seasonally in small batches at the height of pasture season (May to September) and is churned longer than standard butter, resulting in a higher butterfat content (84 percent). It’s smooth and very soft. Tasting notes: “Creamy texture,” “Milky, tasty, must be grass-raised,” “Strong butter flavor, nutty and grassy.”

Lurpak butter

Butter imported from Denmark with a delicate flavor. Great for baking. Tasting notes: “Sweet and flavorful,” “Very creamy,” “Delicate, milky, love it!” “Nice buttery taste,” “Delicious, light, creamy.”

Celles Sur Belle butter

“Single-origin” French butter, carrying the prestigious designation “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée,” meaning the French government provides strict oversight to ensure it’s only from the Celles Sur Belle region in France. Tasting notes: “Smooth and creamy,” “Nice dairy flavor,” “Would use on bread.”

Meyenberg European-style goat milk butter

Made from the milk of goats that roam freely and are raised on a diet of grass, clover, alfalfa and hay. This lightly salted butter has an extraordinarily light texture. Tasting notes: “Wonderful earthiness,” “A little tangy,” “Complex flavor,” “Clean,” “Unique,” “Fabulous,” “Prefer to cow’s milk butter!”

Golden Glen Creamery butter

Lightly salted butter from a closed herd of cows raised on the Jensen family farm in the Skagit Valley. The cows are pastured during the growing season and their diet is supplemented with homegrown hay and corn, as well as grain and alfalfa from eastern Washington. Try the plain, honey, Herbs de Provence, Garlic and Sea Salt, or Northwest Mushroom.

Butter of Parma butter

Made with cream from the same milk cows that produce Parmiggiano Reggiano — the famous Italian cheese — from family farms in the Parma and Reggio Emilia regions of Italy. Reggiano production is very highly regulated and demands specific standards of production, and the same exacting standards result in this fragrant, creamy butter. It has a low water content and a clean, delicate flavor.  

Buffalo butter

The production of buffalo milk butter is an Italian tradition dating back many generations. It’s made using the cream from water buffalo milk and has a milky white appearance and higher fat content than cow’s milk butter.  The taste is mild but rich, and it’s delicious alone on bread or in baked goods.

Also in this issue

Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

This month reporting on apples, nectarines, Washington peach producers, the organic grape crop, Reed avocados, wild mushrooms, sweet corn and peas, stone fruits, nuts, honeybee losses and the sustainability of yellowfin tuna.

Letters to the editor, September 2011

Farming and family values, GMOs in non-organic corn?, From Facebook, and more

News bites, September 2011

"Natural" isn't natural, Organic vs. no-till, Farm-to-School ends, and more