Farm to Table: The Best Local Butter We Tasted this YearDecember 6, 2016
I remember the first time I paid attention to butter, something I had always taken for granted. It was December and my sister’s boyfriend, deciding that she needed more fat in her life, brought one home from France. Wrapped in dotted foil and sporting a classical painting of a boy gathering salt, the block stared at me. I then toasted myself a slice of white bread, spread the golden dairy, and had a bite. I bit my lower lip in triumph as I tried to contain my joy. When I first had Farm to Table’s butter, that’s how I felt.
Quality butter comes down to the quality of the cream. You agitate it to get the fat out of position. Constant churning makes the fat clump together, creating the actual butter that you can buy wrapped in bars. So to make good butter, you need good cream. And to get good cream, you have to treat your cows right.
Farm to Table makes sure they do.
“We did [research and development] for a year and a half,” says co-owner Michelle Nyuda. “We went to Cebu and all around Luzon.” But they found themselves settling in the highlands of Mindanao with what they call a “cow whisperer.”
These cow farmers from Mindanao receive rigorous training and are revered in the milk industry. They take each step of the process with utmost care: from feeding the cows New Zealand grass to creating all natural medications for their ward. They believe that we only consume what they consume, so they’ll make sure that it’s right.
The obsession for detail doesn’t stop there. At around two in the morning, they play music to calm the animals. They say you can’t agitate the cows and force them into milking—it’s going to show in the final product. And they might be right.
On the day we tested Farm to Table’s butter, we made a mess. We licked and spread and wiped. And after an hour, we wondered where a whole bar of pure fat went. It was gross. It was beautiful.
The butter tasted light, with a sweet, nutty flavor melting gently in your mouth. The salt brought out more richness and flavor without hammering the volume. You could eat three spoonfuls and talk yourself into thinking that there’s nothing wrong with you.
Now the same grace can be seen in the rest of the products. The milk, flowing and full-bodied, is one of the cleanest I’ve had in recent memory—no sour, grating aftertaste. The guyabano yogurt had a pleasant tartness and silky texture, with the fruit’s natural flavors cradling the dairy with confidence.
Hank Palenzuela, co-owner and previous literal rockstar, exclaims that he would place the Philippines third among the world’s best dairy exporters up there with New Zealand. Whether or not his claim is true, they’ll end up making it happen if they keep this up. I hope they do.
Farm to Table
An independent purveyor of high quality, all-natural, 100% grass fed dairy products.