Sourcing local Scottish butter
In search of a product that really melts in your mouth
It's not too hard to track down Scotland's many fine local cheeses, but uncovering farm-made butter can be a challenge. Why? According to Brenda Leddy at Stichill near Kelso, who has been making butter, cheese and clotted cream from her small herd of Jersey cows for over 30 years, she is virtually unique in the practice. 'It is a lot easier for people to sell their milk to a big dairy, rather than making the effort to churn it into butter and hand shape it,' she says.
Brenda's daughter Susan milks the cows and helps with production, making butter three times a week. They produce 200 or so 250g packs every week and sell them at farmers' markets, delicatessens, garden centres and local hotels.
The Loch Arthur Creamery, a social project for people with learning disabilities, also produces a small quantity of butter, which is sold in its farm shop at Beeswing near Dumfries. Manager Barry Graham explains that 'someone is assigned every day to churn the butter using cream from our small herd, but it is very much on a craft scale'. Up in Aberdeenshire, visitors to the farm shop at Devenick Dairy might also come across pats of butter hand-made from the farm's Jersey cows.
Operating with a much higher profile is Graham's Family Dairy at Bridge of Allan, a family business which began producing butter four years ago using traditional churn methods to make 1000 litres at a time. It has since developed a range encompassing both salted and unsalted versions, as well as organic and Jersey-cow milk 'Gold' butters. 'We saw a gap in the marketplace and are delighted to see demand growing steadily,' says managing director Robert B Graham.