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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Better Butter: McClelland's Dairy Is Churning Up the Good Stuff

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM


My mother made me Minute Maid from concentrate as a child, and it was good. Then Tropicana created Pure Premium, and it was better. Minute Maid was no longer worthy. When Just Pik't packaged juice fresh squeezed and flash frozen, it was better still, and poor Tropicana became something for lesser souls. Eventually on-site-squeezed orange juice became readily available, and it was the best yet. Just Pik't languished in the freezer section.

Finally, I bought my own juicer, and juiced my own oranges, and it was truly and wholly good. Hours- to day-old store-squeezed juice was relegated to a bulk-item back-up plan, for parties and mimosas. The juice journey was simple, and one way -- there's no turning back the tongue.

And so it is for butter, but since there's no home butterchurns on the market, the end of the journey for butter may already be here. McClelland's Dairy Butter could be its own entire one-way journey of palate improvement.

It's Artisan: It's made by a small company focused on its craft. The McClelland's have been Peteluma Dairy farmers since 1938; Jana, of the third generation of dairy McClellands, shepherds the new butter project.

It's Organic: As in certified organic, not as in the George Carlin joke about all things being natural.

It's Farmstead: Farmstead products are made on the farm where the raw materials, in this case the milk, are produced.

It's from Grass-Fed Cows: Since our evolution with milk has gone from organic to un-homogenized to pastured, and our meat has moved from prime to grass-fed, it makes sense for the other product of the udder to come from those same fields of grass-fed cows. Seasonal flavors of this earth-created diet add complexity, terroir.

It's also "European Style," which denotes a higher fat content, and comes in an attractive ceramic, refillable crock, which screams out to the world that your butter is excellent.

The flavor is distinctly that of butter, but with a little bit more. There's a lightly herbal note hanging hauntingly to the rear, offering a sense of the lush green pastures you might envision the cows gently chewing their way across. There's a touch of sea salt (without the salt the butter is too fresh to keep in stores) and a creamy richness that almost tips over to the tropical, with the slightest hint of coconut cream.

If you want to spoil yourself on a sunny spring weekend with a full fat fest, get a package of Model Bakery English Muffins, slather richly with McClelland's, and wash it down with a glass of St Benoit Jersey milk. Of course, some jam wouldn't hurt, but that's next week's post.

Butter is available in ceramic crocks, as refills for the crocks, in bars and in tubs. An 80z tub is $6. McClelland's is sold at Rainbow, Bi-Rite, Cowgirl Creamery, at many other Bay-arealocations listed here, and direct.

Contact Ben Narisin at . Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Ben Narasin


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