In 2011, Peter Cullinane had an idea. He was at a grocery store, searching for some high-quality butter to go with the baguette and ham he'd put aside for lunch. He knew that while the right butter could turn a simple meal into a symphony, the wrong butter could be a train wreck (not to mention a disservice to the baguette and ham). Surveying the shelves, Peter asked himself why the best quality butter was imported all the way from Europe when the best land for dairy was right there in New Zealand. And because there was no reasonable answer to that question, he decided to make his own. Grabbing some fresh cream and a mason jar, Peter started the journey to Lewis Road.
The landscape of New Zealand is synonymous with epic journeys. We have J.R.R Tolkein and Peter Jackson to thank for that. There are many metaphoric and archetypal interpretations of the Lord of the Rings, but I favor its environmental message. Tolkein wrote most of the trilogy against the backdrop of the Second World War. Did the author somehow foresee the influence that wartime technology would have on chemically-based agriculture, and ultimately on GMOs? Without some kind of magical foresight, how could such a thing be possible? (*wink*) But the hellish assembly line of Isengard and its ultimate defeat by powerful tree shepherds was epic. A scoreboard at the close of The Two Towers would have read as follows:
Forces of Nature: 1
Large-scale Industrialization: 0
Which brings us back to Peter Cullinane's butter. To perfect his butter-making skills and build his business, Peter adopted a simple guiding principle: How can we make it as it should be? That's how he avoided the all-too-common temptation to make products faster or cheaper —there's already more than enough of that at the grocer's. Lewis Road stretches in a different direction, where product quality, animal welfare and environmental stewardship govern action and innovation.
The best butter comes from the best cream, and the best cream comes from the happiest and healthiest cows. Those cows live in New Zealand, where climate and rainfall conspire to create "any self-respecting dairy cow’s dream home." Here, the farmers that work with Lewis Road honor the fundamental connection between humans, animals, and plants: In a perfect system, the land feeds the animals and plants, the animals and plants feed the people, and the people make sure the plant and animal waste products (ahem, manure) are returned to the land. In a perfect system, each element makes the others stronger. This is the philosophy underpinning Lewis Road's Ten Promises, which include an Environmental Sustainability Plan, as well as commitments to the highest standards of care for the cows and the people that work with them.
Lewis Road cows have constant access to pastureland, 365 days per year. They are never confined to barns or stalls. Their feed is never "stretched" with cost-cutting GMO grains or palm oil by-products. Lewis Road's dedication to animal welfare shines in their adoption of the Five Freedoms:
- Freedom from thirst and hunger
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
(Author's note: At this point, not only do I want to move to New Zealand, I'm also seriously considering becoming a dairy cow.)
The product of this beautiful life is, quite simply, beautiful butter. Lewis Road butter has unparalleled taste and texture, and it's high in valuable Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin K2. Whether you are a butter-purist, looking for the original product, or your adventurous palate draws you to Lewis Road's newest flavored products, the highest quality butter in the world is now available in the US. Click here to find a store near you. Try the butter lover's butter.