exploring, preserving: past, present

Butter and Sustainability


This is the first of a thirty-day challenge I’ve put to myself to blog once a day for the thirty days leading up to Christmas. Posts will focus on some favourite recipes my family has used as “go to” holiday recipes, some ideas for gift giving that are sustainable (don’t break the budget, support local business, and form somewhat of a tradition in our family). Woven within the posts will be some storytelling.

To start the 30 days of blogging, I want to share the story of this butter press.

butter press

My mother has kept this butter press for years – the press is at least 60 years old. The butter press was purchased by her grandmother. Their family had “too many cows” producing more milk and cream than they could use. This press was used to make butter for sale so that the butter would be the same rectangular shape as was sold in stores at the time.

butter press2

The press is a simple wooden one made of three pieces – the outside frame, plus a flat top portion attached to a dowel used as a handle to press the butter. The picture shows two screws added to the top. Mom says this was added after purchase by her grandfather to hang weights from to help press the butter.

What I love about the story is the little statement about them having too many cows. Two generations ago, many people in our area were farmers who grew their own vegetables and kept chickens, pigs, and cows for their protein sources. They produced what they could consume. Anything extra allowed for a bit of spending money for other things – true sustainable living that definitely kept people so much more connected to the land.


Author: tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader

2 thoughts on “Butter and Sustainability

  1. Hi Tanis,
    Growing up, I had the amazing opportunity to live exactly one mile from a family who lived on a farm – old homestead house, big old barn, huge garden, fruit trees, everything. They raised Belgians. They were subsistence farmers. Saturday was the best day to make the mile walk. Whenever I got there, I was welcomed with open arms. The huge kitchen table was the centre of everything if the chores were done. The centre piece would always be a huge roast of beef. Not to mention the roasted vegetables, and the the gravy. I can remember the smells and the tastes of everything, just like I am there right now. Warm fresh home baked bread, thickly sliced, spread with freshly churned butter and then my favourite on top – delicious strawberry jam that tasted like sunshine. The food, the laughter, the stories and the food…… I am so glad I had the chance to live this.
    Thanks for your story.

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