Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Myrtleford - Butter Factory

This was an inspirational morning!

We first met Naomi Ingleton at the St Kilda Farmers' Market, and she invited us to watch the 'butter churn' which she did each Thursday at the Butter Factory in Myrtleford. With us watching through the plate-glass window, Naomi and her biologist set up the churn, checking temps and adding 'bugs' when appropriate. Then she came out and gave us freely of her time.

In 2007 Naomi and her mother Bronwyn, set up a cafe in the Old Butter Factory, which had been built in 1930 but which ceased churning its own butter in 1966. With a young family and wanting more, Naomi plunged into producing butter in the middle of 2010. Bronwyn had mortgaged her house to enable the refit and gear-up.

The factory building (both cafe and factory floor) is leased from the owners, a local Myrtleford couple. The company now employs 15 local people, mostly women, and across the age spectrum. It really was a hive of activity.

Naomi has had a remarkable professional life which is obvious from reading her website. She traipses around the countryside to Farmers' Markets and restaurants. She produces the butter. She helps in the cafe and with the accounts. And she has a babe in arms!

When I checked with my local Thomas Dux in Paddington, they do not stock butter from Myrtleford. They do not stock much butter at all, in comparison with margarine. Yuk! I will chat with Grant, the manager.


Joan Elizabeth said...

Firstly wow a butter factory that still makes butter ... I remember visiting the local butter factory as a school kid and see huge amounts of golden butter like that. The thing I remember most however was the part where they dried the left over watery stuff ()what do they call that I wonder) into some sort of powered stuff that stunk.

Second, after years and years of margarine I have reverted to butter ... the taste is simply better.

Julie said...

Not sure, but think it is called 'butter milk'. At Myrtleford they bottle some of the butter milk and sell it to shops and retail it themselves. I bought some. It was delicious - much like Yakult.

When I was young, the milk we separated the cream from we fed to pigs. I gather this still happens.

This would have to be the most yellow butter I have seen. As you can see from the packaging, there is an unsalted and a salted variety. The salted is very delicious as you actually crunch into the salt.

Many years ago, I had a 'rule' that allowed me to have butter whilst on holiday. Well, now that I am retired ...

The butter from MBF is packaged through a sausage making machine and hence is sold in cylinders.

Joan Elizabeth said...

OK. I looked it up is it buttermilk. I had veered away from that initially because I know that buttermilk as sold today is a culture made from milk in much the same way as yoghurt.

Dried buttermilk is apparently used in icecream making.

Feeding the separated milk to pigs is what they did at home too.

Sold in cylinders ... that's an odd shape but would help the restaurants easily serve those little circles of butter.

Julie said...

Hah! I did not realise that BM today is a 'creation'. Just read the label on the small 300ml bottle I bought from MBF and it says it contains 'Cultured buttermilk'. Not very informative really.