You can’t fake springtime butter.
In the winter months, dairy farmers keep their cows warm by housing them in barns and feeding them stored food, such as dried hay and grains.
But from late April through September, farmers committed to grass-fed dairy let their cows roam verdant fields and chow down on grass and vegetation. This fresher feed yields milk that is naturally higher in butterfat and beta-carotene than winter milk, resulting in butter that teems with elevated levels of beneficial fatty acids (think conjugated linoleic acid and Omegas 3 and 6) and a rich golden hue.
Spring to it by looking for grass-fed butter at your local farmer’s market or co-op. Below, three of our favorites from around the country:
Everywhere: Like all Organic Valley products, the Pasture Butter (find it in the green-foil wrapper) is produced without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones or pesticides.
California: Seek out Straus Family Creamery European-Style butter. These lucky Golden State cows can spend up to seven months grazing on the sweet grasses of Marin and Sonoma Counties in Northern California.
Mid-Atlantic: The butter from Trickling Springs Creamery comes in at a whopping 91 to 93 percent butterfat and Celtic sea salt is used exclusively in the salted variety.