In the context of food, “local” and “craft” are often taken as indicators of quality. Yet while everything from granola to jerky has undergone a small-batch renaissance, butter has somehow remained stagnant. Launched in 2013, Ploughgate Creamery set out to change that. The Vermont-based purveyor of local, small batch, artisanal butter boasts one additional adjective that places it in a league of its own: cultured.
Founder Marisa Mauro sources cream from a local food co-op (in turn sourced from nearby dairy farms) and leaves it to mingle with bacteria, or culture, for 48 hours before being churned. It’s a technique that hearkens to Mauro’s background in cheesemaking, and one that imparts an addictive, tangy-sweet flavor on the already exceptional, high-fat butter. Wrapped in humble butcher paper, Ploughgate Creamery’s cultured butter looks fairly unassuming. Yet spread on good bread, it’s anything but. Marked by a bright yellow hue (an indicator of cream sourced from grass-fed cows) and peppered with crunchy sea salt crystals, it’s downright transformative.