A CLOSER LOOK AT OUR SUPPLIER, ARETHUSA FARM, IN LITCHFIELD, CT

At Butcher’s Best, our primary goal is to provide customers with the highest-quality foods that are all-natural and contain only real ingredients. Fulfilling this promise starts with how we source our meats, produce, and dairy. Whenever possible, we source locally in towns across CT. We get produce from Sandy Hook, seafood from Plantsville, and pork from Oxford. Our dairy products come from the cherished Arethusa Farm in picturesque Litchfield, CT.

Arethusa

Arethusa has been a functional dairy farm since the early 1900s when the Webster family started operations on land they purchased in 1868. They were one of the first dairy farms to use electric milking machines and provide door-to-door milk delivery. In 1991, 18 years after the Websters shut down, George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis bought the property. In 2001 they purchased their first purebred, registered Holsteins, and soon added Jersey cows.

Before long, the Arethusa mission was becoming a reality. They started becoming well known for providing some of the best tasting, highest-quality milk. Today they use their prized milk to make all-natural cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.

Arethusa attributes the quality of its dairy products to how the cows are raised and fed. The animals are award-winning, show-level purebred Jersey, Holstein, and Brown Swiss breeds. They receive the highest attention of care, and are fed only high-quality, natural diets. This starts by allowing them to pasture feed during good weather. In poor weather they receive a diet of top-quality Canadian hay and a mixture of grains and nutrients that are tailored specifically for each individual animal. The feed is served from an overhead, computerized feeding system. Every cow has a name.

The cows at Arethusa are not only fed well, but they are also treated well. Their tails are washed daily with soap, water, and hair conditioner. They also get weekly full body washes and regular foot washes. Although this process may seem a bit indulgent, it has practical application. Keeping the animals clean helps keep parasite levels low, and keeps the animals healthy. The result is better, cleaner-tasting milk.

In its quest to provide the best-tasting products, Arethusa veers from the pasteurization methods used by industrial dairy farms. Most large commercial operations use the ultra pasteurization method. This is when the milk is heated to 280 degrees for two minutes. Arethusa uses vat pasteurization where the milk is heated to 145 degrees for 30 minutes. The trade-off is shelf life. Arethusa milk is good for about two weeks while large producers can last for a month or more. Arethusa chooses vat pasteurization because it provides a better-tasting product.

In an effort to maximize profits, commercial food producers use methods of preservation that affect the flavor of their products. Worse, they add preservatives, additives, and unnatural flavors that can be bad for your health. Arethusa is dialing it all back and providing high-quality, natural dairy products the way they used to be made. This is exactly why Butcher’s Best decided to add it to our list of suppliers.