No question. That view is warranted!
Back in 1997 - when I knew none of this of course - I recall attending a meeting in a Hilton hotel in Jakarta to discuss the merits of hosting a major badminton event the following year. Indonesia boasted the top ranked shuttlers in the world so this was big business down there. The funny thing is, when I think of that meeting, the first thing I remember is butter - not badminton.
As the inevitable bread basket arrived with lunch, so too did the butter. It was presented in those annoying single serve packs which are too cold for spreading and too small anyway. I remember being astonished that the butter was Kerrygold - all the way from Ireland - and truth be told I felt kinda proud that our lot had made it that far!
Now if you fly in a straight line from Dublin to Jakarta that’s 7,500 miles. It’s pretty impressive to think that each butter portion had traveled all that way without melting, just so I could butter my bread in a very foreign country with a very local product from back home. Back then I was fueling my triathlon races according to the carb gospel so the bread - and the butter - didn’t last very long.
Kerrygold was launched in 1961 by the Irish Dairy Board, but with all the hype you would sometimes think it’s the latest, greatest low carb invention. That’s great news for Kerrygold of course. They have embraced the Bulletproof Coffee bandwagon and marched relentlessly beyond Indonesia to the ends of the earth - and of course right across the U.S of A.
Of course, Kerrygold is a very good product indeed and we live in a global marketplace, so none of this is a surprise really. The surprise actually lies much closer to home, wherever that might be for you.
European (EU) legislation requires that “grass fed” ruminants must be fed on grass, hay and silage for at least 90% of their life. In the U.S that number climbs to 100% if you stick to some of the better grassfed certification labels.
Here in South Africa, the legal requirements are as loose as Prof Tim Noakes pants from 5 years ago. To that end, I have researched producers, visited farms and tried a lot of different butters in my time here. The winner is a farm 2 miles up a dirt track outside a town called George where dogs, cockerels and the owners greet you warmly. It’s called Red Barn. There is no gold foil, multi million $ advertising campaign or single serve portions, and you won’t find it in Jakarta, New York or London.
Bottom line, you get a block of brilliant butter for less than half the price of Kerrygold. They spend more money on barns than branding, but their butter is insane. This is old style, grass fed goodness. There is no 90% compliance at play here. There is no compliance necessary. This is just what these folks do. It’s a passion. A connection to the land and the animals they pasture raise thereon.
Why wouldn’t I give their product precedence?
Wherever you are, I’ll bet there’s a Red Barn equivalent near you somewhere. The farmer who practices what you think you’re getting when you buy Kerrygold butter will be waiting for you. He/she could probably point you to the cow they milked last week to make the butter you’re about to buy to support a small, passionate, pastured farming operation - and the family who runs it.
All of which leads nice and neatly to the 3 reasons I do not choose Kerrygold butter (in South Africa) -
1. Red Barn’s butter is of equal (if not superior) grassfed quality
2. Red Barn is half the price of Kerrygold
3. Ireland is 6200 air miles from here but I still have the shit on my shoe from the Red Barn farmyard.
If you're running on fat, maybe have a think about that ;)
ps. I have no relationship with either Kerrygold or Red Barn and the reference to Tim Noakes's pants has yet to be rigorously tested.