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Reflection: Butter Brings Us Together

on January 28, 2012

As a Pennsylvania Farm Show attendee and former 4H member, I was really excited when I found the reference to this year’s butter sculpture in a blog post*! I don’t think I realized how big of a deal this part of the farm show is. But I also never really thought about what they do with it after Farm Show week is over. I always just figured they threw it away, even though there was so much time and money (and butter) put into it.

This year’s sculpture was almost 1,000 pounds of butter from a Land O’Lakes farm, which is where many of the farms in my area give their milk. So that started me thinking about the connections between this year’s farm show butter sculpture. Let’s follow it:

  1. It would have started as milk inside  a cow on the Land O’Lakes farm in Carlisle
  2. Then, after many steps, the milk would have been processed into butter
  3. It would then have been carved by Jim Victor from Conshohocken, PA and brought to the farm show in Harrisburg
  4. During the farm show week, thousands of people walked past it and read the displays about dairy farming in Pennsylvania
  5. Finally, it made its final journey to Juniata County, where it was melted down into fuel to make another farm run for 3 days

Although this sculpture is a fun attraction for farm show visitors, it really made me think about how many people became connected because of 1,000 pounds of sculpted butter. I suppose this same idea carries over to all of the other foods I consume on a daily basis. Though I haven’t been impacted directly by it, it just makes me think about how much food connects us to people that we might not otherwise interact with.

…Just somefood for thought…

Butter Fun Facts:

  • the United States produced 1.56 billion pounds of butter in 2010.
  • Pennsylvania ranks sixth in butter production. The state’s top five milk producing counties are Lancaster, Franklin, Lebanon, Berks and Chester.
  • Americans consume more than four pounds of butter per person each year
  • The Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program says that it takes 21 pounds of fresh cow’s milk to make one pound of butter.

*There wasn’t very much information about butter or farming in this blog post, but it led me to sever other sites: Inhabitat, PA Farm Show

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