Edit ModuleShow Tags

PastureLand Crisis!


Published:

Terrible news. I called up Steve Young-Burns, the CEO of PastureLand, to tell him how much I’m in love with their Meadowlark cheddar, and to find out all the cheese’s retail locations, and he told me that there are only about 60 wheels out in the world right now—and that’s because the company is in imminent danger of going under!

PastureLand of course is the local maker of fantastic, critic-loved, people-loved pasture-raised butter, and an increasingly skilled local cheese-maker. So what’s the problem? “It’s the long tail of the recession,” Young-Burns told me. “Last summer was really tough, there was no market for our organic skim milk,” and if they can’t sell the skim milk that results from turning whole milk into butter, they can’t survive. “What I should have done is find an enduring partnership for our skim milk ten years ago,” Young-Burns told me, “but I might have some good leads now. Someone who wants to make organic Parmesan. I could sell it as organic skim-milk powder,” to companies which would use it for baking or other manufactured goods, but the plant that processes skim milk powder doesn’t have space for a small producer like PastureLand. “Minnesota has just pissed away its history of small and medium-sized processing plants,” sighed Young-Burns. “If we were in Wisconsin there would be people from the dairy board all over us trying to help, but because we’re here there’s no infrastructure.”

I’m going to guess that PastureLand’s problems are not being helped by Young-Burns's very Minnesotan instinct not to worry anyone: “When people on Facebook ask, where’s the butter, I don’t want to start whining, so I say, well it’s not here yet, be patient. But in truth we haven’t started rolling for the year, we should have started churning a month ago, and we’re not churning yet.”

What’s next? PastureLand has a board meeting scheduled for June 14. If Young-Burns doesn’t have a buyer for his skim milk, a new investor, or some positive news about the company, the future looks very dark.

What can you do? Buy PastureLand’s cheese, wherever you see it. Forward this around to people you know in food manufacturing—surely someone knows someone who can take a tankerload of grass-fed organic skim milk every 48 hours? If not, Minnesota may lose one of the best dairy producers the state has ever known.

You can contact Steve Young-Burns at Steve@pastureland.coop, or through the company’s Facebook page.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rfischer@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Latest Minnesota-Born-and-Bred Apple Variety Debuts

The University of Minnesota apple breeders release First Kiss, an early ripening cross from the ever-popular Honeycrisp apple

First Taste: El Burrito Minneapolis

The popular St. Paul Mexican restaurant opens in south Minneapolis

A True Farm-to-Table Dinner: Cedar + Stone Celebrates Farmers

Farmers get a special "thank you" dinner at JW Marriott's Cedar + Stone, Urban Table restaurant at Mall of America

Minnesota Wine Country: What’s New at the Minnesota State Fair

Enjoy local wines, hard cider, wine slushies, free food and wine demos and more at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

The Best (and Worst) Food Delivery Services

Twin Cities restaurant-to-your-door services, ranked

Gamertainment Go-Tos

Check out eight Twin Cities eateries to get your game on

New Specialty Brews and Beverages at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair

Quench your thirst with 40 specialty brews and beverages—here is a complete list of the 27 new and 13 returning beverages found only at this year’s Great Minnesota Get-Together

New Hotel, Great Restaurants: Stillwater Is Blowing Up

Lora Hotel, Feller Restaurant, Pearl and the Thief—what's going on in Stillwater!?

North Loop Destination: Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea

Espressos, teas, cold brews, and elixirs mean there’s something for everyone at North Loop’s new coffee and tea café
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags