For some time it was rest room paper. Now, a minimum of in Aroostook County, it’s butter.
The considered issues being rationed brings to thoughts pandemic shortages, when rest room paper was scarce and folks stood in line to achieve empty cabinets. Individuals who grew up at an earlier time recall World Warfare II rations of the whole lot from meals to stockings.
However summer season in Aroostook means Houlton Farms Dairy is deep into ice cream season with dairy bars in Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou. And because it takes cream to make each ice cream and butter, the dairy’s legendary butter actually is rationed.
After a current story about distinctive meals of The County, readers wrote in to say we would have liked to incorporate that butter. So, right here’s a have a look at why it’s so particular, how folks like to make use of it and the way they handle when it’s scarce.
“It’s like a groupie factor. It has its personal following,” stated Michael Barker, retailer supervisor of Save-A-Lot in Presque Isle.
An indication on the shelf states, “Only one Houlton Farms butter per cart.” The butter is packaged by the pound in waxed-paper wrappers.
Houlton Farms Dairy has been in enterprise for 85 years, and in addition to its butter and ice cream, it produces milk and cream, buttermilk, bitter cream, chocolate milk and lemonade.
“Making butter is an artwork kind,” stated Eric Lincoln, half proprietor of the family-owned and operated dairy firm and the butter maker for practically 40 years.
Ice cream is a part of the explanation for the scarcity, however it’s not the entire story, he stated. At this time’s development of plant-based milks has damage the dairy business. Milk consumption is down nationally.
If extra folks drank skim and 1 p.c milk, there could be extra cream to make butter with, he stated. The dairy at the moment is proscribed to creating butter as soon as per week primarily based on the uncooked materials they must work with.
The corporate sells each little bit of its butter in shops, Lincoln stated, so individuals who come to the dairy or the ice cream places on the lookout for it received’t discover it. If retailer cabinets are empty, the dairy simply doesn’t have it.
Their butter is the costliest of the true butters in any retailer, Lincoln stated. Its uniqueness is partly because of the old style chilly course of he makes use of to separate the cream from the milk.
Folks say the product reminds them of their grandmother’s home-churned butter, Save-A-Lot’s Barker stated. In actual fact, many purchasers purchase it for members of the family who don’t stay right here anymore and ship it to them.
Barker recalled his family would go tenting in Bar Harbor when he was rising up. Certainly one of their meals could be lobster, they usually’d must take Houlton Farms butter with them as a result of no different butter was pretty much as good.
Linda Daigle of St. Agatha is a loyal butter groupie. She blames her mom.
“She introduced it into the home. I’m like, ‘Mother, what’s the massive deal? It’s simply butter’,” she stated. “No it isn’t. She acquired me hooked on it, and we’re all hooked on it now.”
The butter is creamy with a bit of little bit of saltiness, she stated. Her household’s favourite strategy to eat it’s on ployes, these skinny buckwheat pancakes which are staples at French Acadian meals.
Her mom wouldn’t enable every other butter on her ployes, she stated.
As a result of the product is so scarce throughout the summer season, Daigle’s household does what many individuals reported: they purchase as a lot as they’ll, wherever they’ll, and freeze it.
Visiting family and friends even fill up and take a number of kilos again dwelling, she stated.
“You don’t even must wrap it in something. Simply freeze identical to it’s. It doesn’t often final that lengthy. You may go away it in there undoubtedly for six months to a 12 months,” she stated.
Butter is finest when frozen in its authentic wrapper, in line with the Undeniably Dairy web site of Dairy Administration Inc., which is affiliated with the Nationwide Dairy Council. The unsalted type will last as long as 5 months, whereas the salted selection can final round 9 months. To make use of the butter, let it thaw within the fridge.
Bruce Bernier, an Aroostook native who now lives in Vernon, Connecticut, has a summer season dwelling on Lengthy Lake and likewise travels to northern Maine about thrice a 12 months. He shares up on the butter and fills his freezer so he has all of it 12 months lengthy, he stated.
Bernier likes the product as a result of it comes from Aroostook County cows, but additionally as a result of it’s the creamiest butter he’s ever discovered.
His favourite strategy to eat it’s on Aroostook County baked potatoes, he stated.
He’s even give you a novel strategy to share his obsession: he places it in butter dishes and provides it away as items at Christmas time.
“I’m a giant believer of supporting native farms,” Bernier stated. “It’s a fantastic product by nice folks in a fantastic county.”
BDN senior editor Julie Harris contributed to this report.