Butter is apparently the new black. I know of at least two Wisconsin dairy artisans who are in the development of making a farmstead and/or artisan butter, and another person just emailed me today saying he was starting up a butter company. Whoo-hoo!
Butter is big in my house. Let's just say I eat a lot of butter. So much, in fact, that my daughter has now banned me from buttering her toast. Yesterday, she spent more time scraping the butter off her toast than she did eating it, finally resorting to wringing it out like a wet sponge, all the while giving me a dirty look.
Well, I can't help it, I love butter -- especially when it's that perfect consistency - not too soft, not too hard, where it melts on hot pancakes in about 9.3 seconds. Ahhhhh, perfection. We eat enough butter that once a quarter stick is out, it doesn't go back in the fridge -- it sits on the counter in a covered butter dish.
There's even a new cookbook out that's all about butter, aptly named "The Great Big Butter Cookbook." Catchy title, eh? A friend gave me a copy and I ended up giving it to another friend a few weeks ago when she spied it on my counter. I like to look at cookbooks more than actually cook from them, anyway.
Currently, my favorite salted sweet cream butter is made by Grass Point Farms, an offshoot brand of Organic Farm Marketing, or OFM, in Thorp, Wis. I found it at Paoli Local Foods and was a) drawn in by the packaging -- 3/4 of every panel of the one-pound package (split into four quarters) is covered with a huge picture of a Holstein cow standing in pasture -- and b) intrigued by the fact that it was "Pasture grazed butter."
Turns out pastured grazed butter is pretty darn good. A rich, golden color, it delivers way more flavor than your average store-brand and melts very nicely. In fact, my entire family was really enjoying it until my husband turned over the package and coughed up a lung when he saw the $8.65 price tag.
"Who pays this much for a pound of butter?" he asked. Well, turns out, quite a few people. Ken Ruegsegger says at his store, the Grass Point Farms butter is a bigger seller than the Organic Valley brand, and Grass Point costs about 75 cents more.
Apparently I'm not alone in my butter fetish. Long live pasture-grazed butter!