Naked Cow Dairy: A reason to feel good about eating butter again!

During the 80’s, Hawaii had about 20 dairy farms and it produced most of its own milk. However, between 1999 and 2008 many of Hawaii’s dairies starting closing their doors, including four on Oahu and three on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii’s dairies were going the way of pineapple and sugar. Even at a time of renewed interest in diversifying the island’s agriculture and increasing it’s self-reliance, dairies are succumbing to price pressures, mainland competition and a lack of local support. The last dairy farm on Oahu shut down in 2008 – Pacific Dairy of Waianae Valley – leaving only two cow dairy farms on the Big Island: Island Dairy in Hamakua and the Clover Leaf Dairy in Upolo.

For those of us who strongly believe in all the compelling benefits of eating locally grown food, (reasons ranging from supporting the local economy to personal health, to preserving the planet) need not despair for there are some saviours out there who through passion and hard work have brought back dairy farming on Oahu. Monique Van der Stroom and her sister, Sabrina St. Martin, are two renegade cowgirls with a love for all things dairy and a philosophy of self-sufficiency, sustainability and stewardship reflecting “Aloha ‘Aina” – Love of the Land. In a state where most dairy farms have gone out of business, Waianae’s Naked Cow Dairy is not only developing a devoted following with their delicious all-natural flavored butter and cheeses, but as Oahu’s lone dairy farmers, they are also actively campaigning to change the policies and system that drove so many dairies out of business. These challenges to farmers include the high cost of land, tax laws & leasing difficulties, water, labor and the rising cost of oil. With the same help other businesses receive, local farmers can utilize the 100,000 acres of good agricultural land that exists around the Islands, enough land to grow all the perishable food Hawaii needs. Local sustainability means our food security is enhanced and our dependency on imported food decreases.

If the idea of supporting these crusading operators of Oahu’s only dairy farm isn’t enough to convince you to try their butters, then how does accenting your dishes with flavours like garlic butter, macadamia nut, honey butter, toasted coconut butter and Hawaiian salted butter sound? A chef by trade, Sabrina creates a fresh, creamy and flavourful butter that compliments dishes ranging from pasta & vegetable sautés, sauces, desserts or simply smeared on a warm baguette.

I really enjoyed trying the pesto butter, which I found to be the perfect companion for my creamy linguine with shrimp. In a large skillet I melted the pesto butter and then stirred in cream, and seasoned with pepper. After 6 to 8 minutes of constant stirring, I then added some Parmesano Reggiano cheese, stirring until thoroughly mixed. I then added shrimp, and cooked them until they turned pink, and served over hot linguine. The garlic butter works great for sautéed Hamakua mushrooms, makes a mean garlic shrimp dish, and will enhance that piece of salmon or slab of NY strip you’ll surely have on your grill this summer.

In keeping with our tradition of supporting local farmers for 30 years we are very proud to be carrying Naked Cow butters and are honored every time they stop by to demo their product in our stores and share their passion with our customers. We hope you are as excited about Oahu’s only local butter as we are, and that we see you soon at one of our R. Field locations for a sample (or two, or three…) so you can discover which flavor is your favorite!