2012-11-16 / Community

Business prepares for move to Arundel

Kate’s Homemade Butter shares success story
By Marc Filippino
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – All of Lucas Patry’s life, his family’s business, Kate’s Homemade Butter, has been located in his home in on Fern Park Road in Old Orchard Beach.

Now, with Kate’s move to Arundel less than a year away, Patry said it is his responsibility to make sure Kate’s will still be a part of the community where it grew.

One of the ways Patry hopes to do this is through his yearly visit to Old Orchard Beach High School to educate Ann Nash’s culinary arts class about butter.

On Friday, Oct. 26, Patry spent the day at the high school explaining the history of Kate’s butter and how butter is made. Patry provided students with bags of cream they whipped to make butter and buttermilk.

Nash, who invited Patry into her class four years ago during her first year at Old Orchard Beach High School, said Patry’s visits are not only fun for students, but it’s also important for them to see the success of a local business.

And the Patry family has seen its fair share of success in the company’s 31-year history. Kate’s only uses four family members in the daily production of 150,000 pounds of butter. Annually, Kate’s makes roughly 1.2 million pounds of butter in a business concentrated in New York and New England, but also ships products down the East Coast and to Chicago and Nevada.

In September, The New York Times profiled Kate’s Homemade Butter for its production of real buttermilk, or the liquid that remains once the cream is churned and the butter molds together.

“They’re right here in Old Orchard Beach,” Nash said. “I always talk about Kate’s butter in hopes the students will tell their parents and they will buy it.”

For freshman Mariah Bouthiller, Patry’s visit was special since she grew up on Patriot Way, just down the street from Kate’s Homemade Butter.

“It’s really awesome to be making their butter,” Bouthillier said. “I’ve never met anyone or made butter before, but I always see the truck and the tanker around my house.”

Bouthiller said she will be sad to see Kate’s leave Old Orchard Beach this summer, when the company moves to its new home on Alfred Road in Arundel. Patry said there simply isn’t enough room in their home for the mass production process.

“As our business grows, the best place for us is by a big road and we will be right by Route 111,” Patry said.

Patry also said Kate’s will hire people from outside the family, something the company generally avoids. Patry said it would be difficult for Kate’s to meet the company’s needs with only four people in the production department.

“When you have a business dealing with food you try to only use family because then you will make less mistakes,” Patry said. “You know the people you’re working with and know that they care, and avoid the risk of hiring someone who isn’t committed.”

Patry understands there might be some changes, but will not sacrifice his relationship with Old Orchard Beach. Patry makes it quite clear he will still be available to the Old Orchard Beach community.

“It’s not a company’s responsibility to educate their kids, but I make it mine,” Patry said. “For me it’s important they know where their food comes from. Most younger kids will tell you it’s from the grocery store.”

Patry finished the class by inviting students to drink their freshly made buttermilk with cinnamon and powdered sugar and spreading their butter on bagels. Finally the students ended with ice cream topped with maple syrup.

To stay part of his community Patry will continue to work closely with Old Orchard Beach schools, including a surprise project he will be working on with the elementary school in January.

Patry said he didn’t want to reveal too much about the project, but said it would have to do with ice cream flavors.

“It’s important to be here,” Patry said. “I enjoy it and they enjoy it.”

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