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Jun 23, 2009 08:01 AM

Sightings: Kate's Real Buttermilk at MB

I remember reading 2 years ago in the Globe that Kate's Butter of Old Orchard Beach (ME) was planning on rolling out real buttermilk in a Boston-area supermarket chain in the near future. I looked diligently for about a year at Whole Foods, Shaw's, S&S, Roche Bros, Johnnie's and Market Basket. Then I gave up the diligent search and searched occasionally.

And, lo, today at the Market Basket in Reading, there it was: Kate's "Real Buttermilk." No gums, no carrageenan, no vinegar. One ingredient: cultured buttermilk, made from the milk left after the butter is made. Now, it's still not pre-industrial old fashioned buttermilk - industrial centrifuges are too efficient at separating cream compared to old milkmaids (like my grandmother). But the product is not as gooey as the standard commercial product, and it leaves several tiny flecks of solids on the bottom of my Pyrex custard cup that I used to compare the buttermilks.

Oh, it comes in a lovely milk-bottle shaped plastic quart bottle and costs $2 ($1.99, to be precise if you dislike rounding).

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  1. Yum! I tried to find this a Whole Foods Wellesley since they sell Kate's butter- no luck. If anyone finds it in metrowest please let me know.

    1. I went to the MB in Tewksbury this morning to buy buttermilk for a receipe of chicken fried steak and gravy. I saw Tyler Florence make it on his tv show. The only brand of buttermilk they sold was Hood. So I bought the Hood buttermilk. If they had the Kate's brand I would have tried it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: buffet king

        I saw it at the new Chelsea MB this weekend. Just wished they sold the unsalted Kate's butter. They only carry the salted butter.

        1. re: bearzie

          Here's a link to an image so you know what to look for (and request):

      2. Forgive my ignorance, I'm somewhat lactose intolerant and rarely touch milk in any form, but... what's the difference between buttermilk and skim milk? They both have the (butter)fat removed, yes? What special things do you do with it?

        10 Replies
        1. re: BobB

          At the risk of having this moved to General board (but I will make a point about Boston to keep it here, please): Butterfat is not the problem for lactose intolerance, of course - lactose is the non-fatty part of milk. Buttermilk is cultured, and some (not all) lactose intolerant people find cultured milk products less problematic to digest. (Of course, butterfat is not the enemy of the lactose intolerant - in fact, the lower the fat content, the more problems people can have digesting dairy.) Buttermilk is acidic, and thus interacts with alkalik (like baking soda) to leaven baked goods, and as an acid it is a good flavor-enhancer (though people often attribute to acids a tenderizing factor that is more properly the work of alkali). And it's a superlative coater of things to be dredged.

          Now, if we could only easily get non-homogenized milk around here - since homogenization is also responsible for indigestibility sometimes attributed to lactose - does anyone know where to get it reliably in the greater Boston area?

          1. re: Karl S

            Shaw Farm Dairy ( offers superlative creamline (non-homogenized) milk. Milk from Shaw Farm can be found at various locations around the Boston area. For example, Wilson Farm in Lexington carries it regularly, and I have seen it at the Bedford Whole Foods. Unfortunately, neither of those locations currently carries the creamline milk (Wilson Farm used to). Now the only place I know of (other than the dairy's retail store in Dracut) that regularly has the creamline milk is Chip'N Farm in Bedford. They get it delivered on Wednesday and Friday. So far I have had good luck stopping by on Wednesdays, Thursday mornings, Fridays, and Saturday mornings. At other times chances are the creamline milk is gone. Look for the bottles with the gold caps. Yum yum yum yum yum. Don't forget to visit the animals in the barn, and to buy a dozen oh-so-fresh eggs while you are there.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              Many thanks for the tips. When I visit my brother in Rochester NY, they get their creamline milk from the very fine Pittsford Dairy. Creamline milk is easier to digest than homogenized milk, and tastier.

            2. re: Karl S

              High Lawn Farm milk and cream from Lee, MA (at WF and Russo's in Watertown) is non-homogenized. It is from Jersey cows (the brown cows)- as opposed to the more common Holsteins. I seem to be able to tolerate it just fine though I have a fairly bad lactose intolerance to "regular" milk/dairy. Is it the homogenization or the different type of milk? The 2 other bonuses to this milk and cream are 1) it tastes much better than regular milk and 2) the cream whips much, much faster. Er, should cream that whips faster be an important thing to you.

              1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                Sorry to contradict you, but High Lawn Farm milk most definitely is homogenized. No cream layer ever appears atop the milk in the container. I have even spoken with the woman who gives out samples. She said they used to sell non-homogenized milk but they do not do that any more. OTOH High Lawn milk does have more protein and calcium than standard everyday milk and does taste richer. It is outstanding for making yogurt. The yogurt turns out much thicker than when it is made with ordinary milk.

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  I used to get High Lawn's "green cap" creamline (unhomogenized) milk when I spent time at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. Some years back they stopped offering it for retail sale, but continued to supply it to their delivery customers. Now they don't make it at all. I have visited the farm (a lovely place, with very friendly people and very friendly cows!) to register my request that they bring back creamline milk. Apparently some retail customers were buying it without understanding what they were getting, and then returning it to the store as "spoiled" because of the heavy cream at the top.

                  I think this milk would be a big hit at Whole Foods, where the customer base would appreciate a great-tasting unhomogenized milk. High Lawn won't make it without a reasonable volume of orders. So if enough of us ask our local Whole Foods to carry it, perhaps we can get High Lawn to offer it again.

                  Another fine dairy product that Whole Foods is now carrying is the ginger flavor of sheep's milk yogurt from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company. I have visited their farm (lots of sheep!), and I've been bugging Whole Foods to stock this flavor; they now have it. Old Chatham Sheepherding also makes blueberry and maple varieties, which one can replicate easily enough starting with their plain yogurt, but the ginger is unique and special.

                  1. re: owades

                    A great many years ago (maybe 25?) Bread and Circus used to have creamline milk (and regular milk too) in bottles. Then they stopped. Maybe the current generation of dairy department managers won't remember this when we all go pleading... :-)

                    (Oh the memories of fighting for a parking spot at the then-only Boston-area B&C on Prospect Street in Cambridge!)

                    Your comments about ginger sheep's-milk yogurt are making me think of a fun kitchen experiment... hmmm.... do I use fresh ginger or ginger preserves.... sounds like the ginger is in the yogurt itself, in which case perhaps infusing the ginger in the milk would be the way to go. My yogurt method involves heating the milk to 184F first and then letting it cool to 114F before adding the culture, anyway... hmmm....

                  2. re: PinchOfSalt

                    My bad. I figured since the label on the milk does not say "homogenized" that it was not homogenized. I thought that was one of those things they have to say. But I stand corrected. Thank you.

                    It still is very delicious and I buy it exclusively. Especially the cream.

                    1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                      Heheh after I read your post I went to my fridge and for the first time noticed that the label says nothing about homogenization. I wonder why they do that? I agree 100% that High Lawn milk is very very tasty. It is my everyday milk except for when I happen to be near a source of Shaw Farm milk. Shaw Farm milk is not high in protein and calcium, like High Lawn, but it is mimimally pasteurized (lower temperature/shorter time). So, I think it has a fresher flavor than other milks. Their non-homogenized whole milk tastes especially creamy to me, perhaps because the cream is separate and coats your tongue. On the other hand since I discovered how wonderful High Lawn milk is for yogurt-making, I use it exclusively for that purpose. Plus, High Lawn has a longer shelf life than Shaw Farm, no doubt due to the differences in pasteurization. So there are trade-offs, but both certainly are superlative products. It is wonderful at long last to have some excellent local choices for milk!

                      1. re: PinchOfSalt

                        Non-homogenized milk is superior - there is so much more you can do with it and get out of it than with centrifuged-and-homogenized milk - and of course you have to pay more for less processing....

            3. I bought it at the Market Basket in Woburn

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowmel

                Had buttermilk pancakes made with Kate's last weekend, up in Concord, New Hampshire. They were definitely tastier than the ones I make (using the same recipe) with whatever brand it is that Trader Joe's sells. I noticed the buttermilk and commented to my hosts that I'd not seen it around here. Let's hope the good stuff starts flowing all 'round Boston.

              2. Market Basket in Burlington also has it. I was more surprised, however, to see Nielson-Massey vanilla bean paste at the same store.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pamalamb

                  wish i had known that before i went shopping at MB yesterday.

                  and not to travel too far afield, but MB occasionally has "better than bouillon" -- on sale for around $4. can't remember precisely, but i'm pretty sure their regular price is the best around as well.