MONTPELIER, Vt. – Lots of buzz around butter! This as more and more people take up baking during the pandemic and the coinciding holiday season. Before the pandemic, Vermont Creamery supplied 33% of its products to restaurants. Today, it’s less than 10%.
“It’s really about people getting back to basics again. Cooking again. And one of the staples is butter,” said Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of Agriculture Food & Markets.
Tebbetts says this shift is due to fewer social gatherings and dine-in options as restrictions tightened amid a spike in covid cases.
“And now the challenge is finding enough cream from our dairy farmers to meet that need to process it into butter,” said Tebbetts.
Adeline Druart, President of Vermont creamery says more than half of people across the country are cooking more than they used to.
“It’s a big trend right now that we’re seeing in the marketplace,” said Druart.
She says despite the pandemic, the demand for butter has not slow down. And with beginner-level bakers relying more on their own kitchens, production has only picked up.
In fact, Tebbetts says Vermont Creamery is working on a $12-15 million dollar plant expansion in response to butter production.
“The cream is fresh, local. Then it’s churned in our creamery in Websterville, Vermont. And then we send butter across the country,” said Druart.
Seeing this demand up close is one local baker who facilitates 12 online baking classes each week.
“It’s very common nowadays to hear someone say before March, I had never baked in my life, but I was stuck at home, I had time, and thought for the first time in my life I’m going to give this a try,” said Amber Eisler, Director of the baking school at King Arthur Flour Baking Company.
She says she anticipates December will be a busy month for baking and encourages all bakers, in Vermont and beyond, to sharpen their skills.