This Week at Saxelby Cheesemongers
100 bucks to the first person to guess what this picture is of…
Give up? Ok, fine. It’s the Evans butter churn!
Let’s just start by saying that not all butters are created equal. I for one, took butter as a given, just another one of those necessary staples in the fridge, at the ready for a little slice of toast or a little sautee of something or other. Then about two years ago, I was treated to a jaunt around upstate New York, visiting different dairy farms and creameries, and was promptly corrected by my taste buds.
Enter the Evans. Dave and Sue and their kids, who all work to make Evans Farmhouse Creamery the beacon of dairy goodness that it is. The Evans’ cultured butter is the stuff dreams are made of, dense and rich and golden sweet. Why the heck is their butter so good? Well, the reasons probably number in the hundreds, but it all starts with the cows. Throughout the year, the cows’ diet changes, going from fresh pasture and hay in the summer to a mix of small grains and dry hay in the wintertime. This time of year, the butter is a pale yellow, due to the fact that the cows are snacking on more dry hay and less fresh grass. Grass is full of carotenes, and those carotenes give summer butter its bright, intensely yellow color. However, winter butter is fattier, and arguably more silky and luscious because the cows, while producing less milk overall, give richer and more concentrated milk during the cold winter months.
So, while the magic starts with the cows in the barn, the next step on our butter brick road takes us to the creamery. After the cows are milked, the cream is separated and cultured for a day and a half before being churned. The culturing of the cream gives the Evans’ butter a most excellent subtle tangy quality. Just think of the culture as a means to developing all those latent complex flavor components present in sweet fresh cream. After the culture has had time to fully ripen the cream, the butter is churned. (see somewhat scary photo above) It is then scooped out onto tables in the creamery to be ‘worked’ and pressed by hand. Now, all us non-farming folks may go to the gym after work, but Sue and her butter making crew get their workout right then and there. It takes her about three hours to press and knead 100 gallons worth of cream into the high quality butter we luckily get to spread on our toast. All that pressing ekes out any remaining moisture in the butter, and renders the final product dense and ridiculously decadent.
Now enter Saxelby Cheesemongers! We procure a delivery of fresh Evans Farmhouse butter each week so that you can enrich your fridge. Trust us, this butter’ll make a believer out of you.
Saxelby Cheesemongers will prominently feature Evans Farmhouse butter next Sunday, December 16th, at Wintermarket, a one day market celebrating regional, sustainable food at the old Fulton Fish Market. Come on down and pick up a chunk for your larder, or treat yourself to a grilled cheese and pickle sandwich liberally slathered in Evans Farmhouse butter! Saxelby Cheesemongers will also be showcasing and selling a selection of our favorite cheeses, yogurts, cream, and other fresh dairy products.
A Seasonal Celebration of Regional and Sustainable Food Sourced, Selected, Produced and Prepared by a New Generation of Purveyors
Sunday, December 16th, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
The Fulton New Market Building
(South Street between Peck Slip and Beekman Street)
I know I already extolled the virtues of this market last week, but hey, it’s gonna be amazing, so here I go again. In addition to tasty local cheese and dairy products from Saxelby Cheesemongers, Wintermarket will feature dried beans and freshly milled grains from New England, an array of expertly foraged foods from Vermont, and an irresistible menu of street food-style goodies, from Caroline Fidanza’s vegetarian chili to Mario Battali’s very own porchetta sandwiches.
For more info, check out newamsterdampublic.org