A New Star Is Born:
Colorado Butter and Cheese (Yum!)

As a writer of all things healthy, it was my distinct pleasure to find a great new business that has decided to make their home base right here in my neighborhood of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Who is that new star? It’s Sawatch Artisan Foods. I encourage you to visit their website and learn a little about them below.

I happened to discover Sawatch at a recent shopping trip to Ranch Foods Direct. I always look for new things that founder Mike Callicrate stocks on the shelves, and I saw packages of butter that I’d not seen in the store before. Although I make my own butter from premium cream purchased from another small Colorado farm, I couldn’t resist purchasing a pound of their “European Style” butter. When I opened the package, I saw the butter was lighter in color than grass-fed butter. Later, Sawatch sent samples of grass-fed butter as well as some Gouda and fresh cheese curds. Though I’d never had them before, now I know that cheese curds make wonderful snacks!

Who Is Sawatch Artisan Foods?

The Who We Are page from the Sawatch website gives us the best introduction to this company:

“We pride ourselves in making the highest quality farm-to-table dairy products which are produced just about 4 hours southeast of our location in Colorado Springs, CO. Just like The Sawatch—Colorado’s highest mountain range—we strive for the highest quality artisanal products.

“Knowing where your food comes from is important to us—which is why our milk arrives fresh each day from local dairies, where we take the milk through the entire process from start to finish. We take pride in everything we create and won’t make anything we don’t fully believe in!”

Personal note: I also recommend this recent article about Sawatch from the magazine 5280.

Here are some locations around Colorado Springs that currently carry Sawatch products:

 These small boutique markets no doubt offer other artisan foods, so please pay them a visit. Additionally, Sawatch can ship to other locations nationwide.

Why I Love Eating (and Reading About) Butter

Though I’ve written a few things about butter in the past, in this article I want to review some of the many wonderful, important health benefits of real butter. I also hope to update this article in the coming months regarding a particular issue. What is that issue? Sawatch currently uses pasteurized milk to make their products. This may be due to legal issues, but it is my hope that they will in due time also offer raw milk butter. It would be a great selling point for many of us that see it as the consummate way to maintain superb health, and in order to follow the food recommendations of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

It is my firm belief that producing butter and cheese with raw milk and cream provides the highest nutritional content, including enzymes that are no longer present in pasteurized milk.  Many of us are just not able or willing to make our own butter and cultured milk products, but Sawatch provides a great service and better-quality products than we find in most grocery stores. My favorite is their butter made from grass-fed cows, but they also offer a lighter colored European Style butter made from grain-fed cows. (Check out their butter products here.)

Now, let’s just talk about butter in all its glory!

Why Butter Is Better: The Undisputable Facts

The article “Why Butter Is Better” by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig explains many of the undisputable health benefits of butter, but I would like to point out some highlights here:

“Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.”

According to Fallon Morrell and Enig, butter also contains many vitamins and minerals that “protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries.” Along with vitamin A and vitamin E, it is also rich in selenium, a vital mineral “containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.”

The article also points out that butter is a good source of cholesterol, a potent health-giving substance “that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals—usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.”

Please click on the link above to learn about the beneficial impact that butter has on many chronic conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • The immune system
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • The thyroid gland
  • Weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal health

Butter, Cholesterol, and Bile

The importance of cholesterol in the formation of bile cannot be underestimated. I recently learned about this critical component of good gastrointestinal health when I inadvertently went on a coconut oil spree without eating any (or extremely little) saturated fat. I did this thinking it would maximize my metabolism and help me lose a few unwanted pounds. After a little more than a month of this insanity, I began experiencing serious gallbladder pain, which I discuss in my blog posts “Gallbladder Attack!” and “A Nutty Discussion.” I invite you to read them both.

What You Should Know About Butterfat

The website Nellie’s Free Range provides an excellent discussion on the importance of butterfat. Here are some quotes from the article about the butterfat content of American and European style butters:

“Butterfat is the fat found in cream. Contrary to what you might think, the butter you purchase at the grocery store isn’t simply ‘butterfat’ but rather a combination of some percentage of butterfat and other components. The minimum butterfat content found in American butters is 80 percent. Products with butterfat below 80 percent cannot be labeled ‘butter’ and are often called spreads instead. Along with 80 percent butterfat, the average butter sold in the United States contains about 16–18 percent water and 2–4 percent additional components, such as milk solids and sometimes salt. Salted butter typically contains 1–2 percent salt by weight, or about a ¼ teaspoon of salt per stick.”

“American butter: American butter (sometimes called ‘sweet cream butter’ or simply ‘salted butter’) typically contains the minimum 80 percent butterfat. American butter can be sold salted or unsalted and is widely available throughout the country.

“European-style butter: The minimum butterfat content for ‘European-style’ butter sold in the United States is 82 percent, and these butters can range from 82–86 percent butterfat. For those in European countries, 82 percent is the minimum for all butter sold in stores. Though 2 percentage points may not seem like much on paper, the slightly higher butterfat content of these butters makes a big difference in quality, flavor, and texture when compared to American butter.”

Butterfat Content in Sawatch’s Artisan Butter

I am happy to report that there is 82 percent butterfat in Sawatch’s European-style butter and 84 percent butterfat in their grass-fed butter. (Also, they will have cultured and compound butters coming soon.)

Favorite Butter Recipes

My favorite place to find butter recipes is at the website Go Bold with Butter. You will find hundreds of recipes to browse through, all nicely sorted by category (Main Meal, Dish Type, and Occasion). And they all have same luscious ingredient: butter!

Now go for it and be sure you have a good supply of Sawatch Artisan Butter! (Smile)

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Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

My mother loves butter more than I do,
More than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter melting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite
historical revision, despite
our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.
—“Butter” by the poet Elizabeth Alexander

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Disclaimer from Maria Atwood, CNHP: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor or health practitioner prior to following any recommendations I make in my blog posts or on my website.

Images from iStock/Fattyplace (main), bhofack2 (cheese curds), LarisaBozhikova (butter on bread). 

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semiretired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Visit her website at TraditionalCook.com. Also check out Maria’s Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD (also available as an e-learning course) and be sure to follow her Tips from the Traditional Cook blog.
Products by Maria Atwood

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