Jean Smith lives in Wisconsin. As in Dairyland USA Wisconsin.
Alas for Jean Smith, she can’t buy Kerrygold butter in her home state. Thus, she has to cross the state border and stock up – 20 bricks at a time – so that she doesn’t have to go without. And for Jean Smith, going without is really going without. She even “plops a tablespoon of the Ireland-made butter into her tea each morning.”
Other than for baking, I don’t use a ton of butter. But when I want butter on an English muffin or a piece of toast or a slab of soda bread, I’d just as soon it be Kerrygold, which is absolutely delicious and – get this – actually tastes like butter. That’s because it comes from contented, hormone-free, grass-fed cows. Cows with nothing better to do all the long day than mosey around in those naturally-irrigated green fields, chomping on all that un-pesticided green grass, and chewing the old cud. And mosey around they do. I read somewhere that Irish cows spend more time grazing and cudding than do cows anywhere else.
The fact that Kerrygold is banned in Wisconsin is not a reflection on its quality. Not at all.
It’s just that Wisconsin has a law on the books that requires that any butter sold in Wisconsin has to be graded by US or Wisconsin inspectors. For Kerrygold, that’s an impossibility, given that their gold is produced and packaged in Ireland. There may be US customs officials stationed in Ireland, but there aren’t any butter inspectors.
Some stores do risk fines and jail time to sell it – not really much of a risk, given that it’s not particularly enforced – but few stores carry it regularly. And, while the state doesn’t go about fining and jailing over butter, they do inform/warn grocery stores. So it’s easier to just not have any Kerrygold on the shelf, where it would compete with home grown product.
So a group is suing the state of Wisconsin to get rid of the law that’s keeping Kerrygold off the shelves:
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation with such a stringent butter provision, which the lawsuit argues amounts to an unconstitutional "government-mandated 'taste test.'" The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative legal group representing the plaintiffs, said the grading process is subjective and doesn't protect consumers. The real issue, the group argues, is personal freedom. (Source: ABC News)
I’m all in favor of buying stuff made in the US. Especially food stuff, even though I turn a blind eye to wear those winter fruits and veggies are being flown in from. But I’m no rabid locavore, and Kerrygold is so damned good…
And, of course, this is a global economy, despite what they think in some quarters.
I suspect that keeping the fatwa on Kerrygold in place isn’t going to impact the Wisconsin dairy economy much one way or the other. There are only so many Wisconsin-ites (Wisconsinners?) who want it in their tea and who are going to load 20 bricks into their shopping cart when they’re at Piggly Wiggly, especially when they’d have to pay $7-9 a pound for it. Not when Land o’ Lakes goes for a lot less than that. So keeping Kerrygold out won’t be making Wisconsin great again, one pat at a time.
Me? I don’t use enough butter to blink at the price tag, so I’ll keep buying my Kerrygold. I may even try it in my afternoon cup of (Barry’s) tea. Maybe. (I did google butter tea, and apparently it’s a Tibetan thing, generally made with yak butter.)
Anyway, Kerrygold Abú!
A tip of the Pink Slip scally cap to both cousin Rob K (not to be confused with cousin Rob W) and brother-in-law Rick T (not to be confused with brother Rick R) for pointing this one my way. Goodon yez.