But WHERE does one find GRASS FED butter in Canada? Well friends I'm sorry to inform you, you CAN'T. (I would love to be wrong on this BTW, so if you know of anyone that is, please let me know I'll send an enormous amount of business their way). Well that's not totally true, you CAN find Grass Fed butter from places like Raw Milk Cow Shares and private membership situations like that, so if you are comfortable with raw milk and understand its benefits and are ok with the risks I highly recommend you support the small farmers that are doing this, one of those farmers talks openly about his struggle with the legal aspects of it here.
So WHY can't you find publicly available Grass Fed Butter (even Milk for that matter). Ensuring its Organic would be a whole other story.
Quite simply (and maybe a little bit cynically put), you can't find it because feeding cows on grass doesn't produce volume, it produces VALUE, but not volume.
In Canada we have a supply managed dairy industry, which as explained in previous posts is good for farmers that are apart of it. It also inhibits new entrants due to the 25,000 per cow upfront cost (that doesn't include buying the cow or the land or the equipment). This ensures that there are enough dairy farmers to feed demand but not too many to water down the price. In theory its good. However this supply managed system inherently values volume, you don't get paid on the amount of micro nutrients in your milk or the fat soluble vitamin counts, you get paid on litres and gallons. So like any other business farmers are looking at ways to maximize their investment to capitalize. If they can take 2 cows and create the same amount of milk as 3... and save the cost of buying that extra cow, feeding that extra cow, now all of a sudden the return on investment goes way up.
The way farmers do this is by feeding high energy feed such as fermented corn silage to their cows as well as genetically selecting for maximum milk production. We know corn in an animals diet mitigates any of the "grass fed" health benefits, and that a cow needs to be on purely grass for the best results. I do know that even pure grass fed farmers find it difficult to keep healthy weight on cows in our treacherous winters (I will say that the "grass fed" approach comes mostly from warmer climates with longer growing seasons, so we have to consider our own "terrior" when thinking about these things). So farmers in winter who are grass fed will likely feed some small grains to the cows (small grains are a different ball game all together than corn- that's for a different post). This is because they are being milked twice a day and keep producing milk, on only hay the cow will lose weight due to the amount of energy she is exerting.
So long story short due to the fact that all publicly available milk must be pasteurized and therefore within the Milk Marketing Board and the DFO's (Dairy Farmer's of Ontario) system, the farmers simply couldn't make money feeding only grass to their cows, the production goes way down and they wouldn't be able to feed their family and pay the bank.
Here is an image of an award winning dairy cow for her production, if you aren't instantly reminded of the image that I've posted right next to it... well I don't know what to say, but its the first thing that popped into my head.
So there you have it, a little on the lack of Grass Fed Butter in Canada. Even diary operations that are ORGANICALLY certified are also within the supply management system and are paid on production. They must feed organic corn however and also have their cows out on pasture for a specified number of hours per day, they are STILL not purely grass fed. You can find grass fed butter in the States though from Kerry Gold and even here they say that they can not import their products to Canada at this time (after they list a whole bunch of places you can find it... weird).
The best way to find Organic grass fed butter in Canada... own a cow.
Happy cow hunting
The Organic Farmer's Daughter