A couple days ago, I had a thought about food trends. The thought was that food staples have essentially been commoditized, due to the manufacturing processes used to achieve scale. This has opened the door for higher end, branded food products that trump up their home-grown processes. Hence Berkshire pork, slow-churn ice cream, Niman Ranch bacon, artisanal cheeses, fresh hand-made pasta made from durum, and all that jazz. My thought was that something like that would soon happen to butter, as there is clearly room for differentiation in both the process (e.g. freshness of the ingredients, churning style) and the perceived quality of the output.
Lo and behold:
ANNE SAXELBY had what she calls an “aha moment” a couple of years ago when she drove upstate to try the cultured butter made by Evans Farmhouse Creamery in Chenango County. Ms. Saxelby, who owns Saxelby Cheesemongers in Manhattan, said that for all the butter she had eaten in her life, “I had really never had butter before — this is butter.”
More and more people across the country are being treated to the same aha experience as they find a burgeoning variety of fresh dairy products made in small batches on little farms and in small creameries. And it’s worth the extra money.
Of course, anecdotes in the Times do not a trend make. But still, it's always fun when something that you were thinking about shows up in print within a couple of days.
Speaking of anecdotes, from the same article:
Nancy Nipples started the Pike Place Market Creamery in Seattle 30 years ago, selling milk, butter, cream and the like to help local independent dairies... (Nancy Nipples is the name she uses to sign checks; her full name, taken after a divorce, is Nancy Nipples the Milkmaid.)Her name is what?!
Link courtesy of Pudge