Whenever I come home to Ireland I have the dilemma of which kind of butter to buy: conventional dairy-based butter or plant-based vegan butter. In California, the choice is pretty straightforward – it’s now fairly easy to find good-quality, ethical and affordable vegan butters, such as Miyoko’s cultured butter. In Ireland, however, the choice is not so clear, as I’ll explain over the next couple of posts. Or at least it wasn’t a clear choice at first…
My childhood summers usually involved a visit to my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in County Kerry, and I grew up with the impression that milk from grass-fed cows was much less weighed down with ethical issues compared to the meat industry or intensive dairies. This still seems true to me in recent years when I buy milk or cheese from the better cooperatives in California. Across the bay from San Francisco, Straus Organic Dairy in Marin seems quite bucolic, with cows roaming green fields for most of the year.
And, don’t get me wrong, it is true that these farms are much better than intensive operations. But there are some universal ethical issues with dairy, regardless of where it comes from.
I ended up spending some time looking into the ethical issues with dairy farming so I’m going to dedicate the next post to this topic. I want to keep it as a separate post in case you’d prefer to avoid it since it’s mostly about animal welfare (a disturbing topic for many, but I’ll keep the language neutral). The following post will look at some of the plant-based butters available in Ireland and attempt to find the best options.
It would be good to get your input on this – please comment below if you recommend a particular brand or would like me to investigate one.