Dairy Farmer Deirdre Cronin Makes Irish Butter Matter
Deirdre Cronin loves her “girls,” the 30 head of dairy cows she raises affectionately on a small family farm outside Mallow, County Cork, Ireland. Her farm was passed on from family to family through generations, ending up in Cronin’s care.
Cronin has a personal relationship with each of her girls. “They have their own personality,” she revealed with a chuckle, “and my favorite ones have names. One cow is small and dainty and a bit fussy in the milking parlor so I call her Miss Fussy.”
Milk from Cronin’s cows, along with that of neighboring farms, goes to the local creamery, a dairy cooperative, in Kanturk. There the milk is churned into butter for local consumption, as well produced under the Kerrygold brand for shipment around the world.
Most people associate Ireland with potatoes. But dairy cows, milk and butter have been an enduring part of Ireland’s heritage for thousands of years. And Ireland has been exporting butter throughout Europe and America for more than two centuries.
Irish butter is a bright, natural yellow from the beta-carotene found in the rich Irish grass. “Definitely, it starts with the grass,” Cronin says. “The green Irish pastures the cows graze on affect the quality and flavor of the milk produced by the cows and used in making the butter.”
This St. Patrick’s Day, Cronin will celebrate in her usual way. “I’ll go to the local parade and to church. And in the evening, I’ll stop at a pub to ‘wet the shamrock,’” she said. An accomplished cook, she’ll also whip up some colcannon, adding shredded Dubliner cheese to the traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage. And of course, she’ll add Kerrygold Butter for the most authentic flavor.
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