Our purpose at Vital Farms is to bring ethically produced food to the table, and we believe that pasture-raising animals is the most humane and sustainable way to achieve that. So, just like with our other Girls on Grass™ (the ones who lay our delicious eggs), we also raise our four-legged ladies with the same care and respect!
That means small herds of suitable breeds (Jerseys, Guernseys and Holsteins for the most part) which are cared for by experienced American family farmers on well-managed lands. These lucky ladies are free to graze their open pastures every day (weather permitting), and supply a rich, high-fat milk perfect for our needs.
This wonderful milk is then passed off to our artisanal 5th generation butter-makers, at one of America’s oldest creameries, who use all their experience and craft to create the most wonderful butter.
Their secret? Slow-churning and small batches, which brings out the high butterfat content, making for a rich and delicious butter that is beyond compare!
Read on to learn more about Vital Farms pasture-raised butter…
Is Vital Farms Butter grass-fed?
While Vital Farms pasture-raised butter may not be labeled as ‘grass-fed’, you can rest assured that for the most part our girls’ diet does consist primarily of the foraged grasses that they find out in the verdant fields they roam. However, while they are free to graze as much as they like, due to seasonality and weather, there are times that our farmers supplement their diet with other feedstuffs (silage and haylage) which may include some corn, often the whole stalk and ears.
Since the term ‘grass-fed’ does not itself convey anything meaningful about how the cows live, so they could just as easily be penned up in a large barn, with no outdoor access, but a constant supply of grass. Even something marked ‘100% grass-fed’ might come from cows that never seen the sky, so with this confusion around the term, we have decided to remove the phrase from our packaging.
What do we mean by ‘small herds’?
Herd sizes vary on the 90 or so family farms from which our milk comes. The largest has 250 head, the smallest is under ten, and most average between 50-60 milking cows. We feel the stewardship of animals is best achieved on small farms, which truly make for the best tasting grass-fed butter.
How often are the cows milked, and how is it done?
It’s normal for dairy cows to be milked twice a day, and it can become uncomfortable for them if they aren’t. Most of the farms we work with have modern milking equipment, but some continue to milk by hand to this day. Some of our farmers even have special cow-massagers to give the girls an extra treat!
Which breeds are the cows on these farms?
In order to make the most delicious high fat butter, you need the highest quality milk. Jerseys and Guernseys are most common. They are highly efficient at turning grass and water into high butterfat milk, and can have less health issues than other breeds.
Is your butter nonGMO?
No, our butter is not third party certified by the NonGMO Project. It’s worth noting however that the FDA does not consider milk (or butter) to be “GMO” in any case, so a certification would be somewhat redundant.
How long will the butter last in the fridge and freezer?
Fresh butter is good for at least six months, a little longer if it’s salted, and can be stored frozen for up to 2 years with no impact to taste or quality!
How is Pasture-Raised Butter Made?