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?
Unlike many other butters, which might well come from cows that never step foot on a grassy field (yes, even those labeled as ‘grass-fed’), our girls are pasture-raised. Unlike ‘grass-fed’, this describes a welfare standard, a way of living that that means our ladies spend most of their days outside on open pastures on small family farms, where they’re able to forage on natural grass and we think that’s what matters most. Girls on grass with room to roam. Just where they are supposed to be.
While they are free to graze outdoors as much as they like, for their health and well-being, their diet may be also supplemented with other feedstuffs (silage and haylage) from locally grown crops, which may include some corn, often the whole stalk and ears. The American family farmers that raise these cows know what’s best for their herds, and always aim to provide them with the most nutritionally balanced diet possible, which in turn makes for the best possible milk from which to make this delicious butter!
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?