I recently received my first delivery from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative system and now I have to think about how to use my food! In my mind the first thing I knew I had to investigate was the Buttermilk from Wagon Creek Creamery. I wanted to know if I could bake with it, and how the product would act in a recipe. My solution? Have a Buttermilk Biscuit Throwdown and ask my family to judge the results.
Here is the description from their listing on the Coop website:
Our buttermilk is the direct byproduct of our buttermaking process. This buttermilk is not cultured (so it isn’t as thick nor as sour as what you purchase at the supermarket.) We freeze it to keep it fresh. Just thaw and use in your favorite biscuit, pancake, fried chicken, etc. recipes! Packaged in a sealed 8 oz. container. Because it is a by product of the butter making process, it may contain a little salt. Ingredients: buttermilk, salt.
Although I have always been fine using Braum’s Buttermilk, a small voice inside my head said, “Do it. Order the buttermilk and see what it’s like.” So I did. I comes frozen in a plastic pouch. I set it in my refrigerator on ordering day and noticed the defrosting time was about 48 hours. This product sells for $1.99, so it’s clearly more expensive than the Braum’s counterpart.
Let’s look at the Braum’s product. Here is the description of their half-gallon from their website:
Braum’s Grade A Pasteurized Buttermilk is real old fashioned buttermilk! Made with low fat milk fresh from our dairy herd on the Braum Family Farm…you can’t get any fresher than that! Great by the glass or use it as an ingredient in your favorite recipe!
When I was younger, all I could think about was traveling and perhaps living somewhere other than my home state of Oklahoma.
When I reached college age, all I could think about was traveling and perhaps living somewhere within the region of Oklahoma, but certainly outside of the state. Arkansas? Colorado? I needed mountains. Or at least really tall hills.
When I reached thirty I took our children on short trips around the state and shared information with them about what sites were, the history behind them, and meanings attached to certain landmarks. I was glad our state had cool little places like Horsethief Canyon. For a mere $3.00 suggested donation, you can hike all day around the place and read about the “hanging tree,” imagine horsethiefs camping out by the river, and hang out with your family – which is probably the coolest part of all.
Now that I’m 47, I can’ t get enough of Oklahoma and the people living in our state. And stops like “Wagon Creek Creamery” in Helena, Oklahoma continue to proof this thesis for me over and over again. Can I tell you just how cool this local dairy establishment is? Julie and I were only there 30 minutes and I think I learned more about paddocking and the milk cow rotation processes than I’ve known all together my entire life. Our teacher? One of the co-owners. The classroom? His combination office and what looked to be a dining room of sorts. The students? Julie and I. And, man did we learn stuff!
Let me back up just a bit. We had left the Vintage Inn B&B early that morning in order to make one final stop before we headed back to the greater metropolitan life of Oklahoma City. We were nearing the farm and pulled into a small convenience store in Helena to double check our directions. If you ever want to find anything in any small town, just find a convenience store with booths and coffee in the morning, and you’ll find a group of locals who will get you where you’re going. That was certainly the case this time. I pulled up, ran in to the little place, spied a group of about 8 men crammed into two booths and a couple of them sitting on stools, ran over and said: “Hello there, local group of citizens. I need your help!”
Editor’s note: For a full review on Ludivine OKC Restaurant, please visit HERE.
There is a line in The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya says, “Let me ‘splain. No…there is too much. Let me sum up.” Well, I feel the need to ‘splain – not summarize.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma as a youngster meant I was exposed to a life different from my current suburban context. My father was tri-vocational. He worked at FAA for his day job, he and my mother operated a small Angus cattle farm during the evenings and weekends, he did electrical wiring jobs for occasional money and ran a small business with his friend called B&C Enterprises. Dad was the “B.” My maiden name is Bomgardner. B&C enterprises operated a transportation service to and from FAA every work day, bought scrap gold and jewelry to send to the refinery for a small profit, and perhaps other ventures I didn’t even comprehend.
We usually traded my grandfather one of our steers for one of his, thus not eating our own beef (we frequently named our cattle), but beef we knew was raised in an acceptable way. We ate eggs from our Bantam (we called them Banty) chickens and harvested honey from our beehives. We gathered dandelion greens and poke salad off the land and gathered Morel mushrooms from the creek beds. And, we raised much of our food in a garden. An “Organic Gardening” garden.
“Organic Gardening” was one of the magazines my father received in the mail for much of my formative years. Every year, my father would order a load of cotton hulls to be delivered to our garden. They would sit on top of the soil all winter long breaking down with the moisture of the snow, and in the springtime before planting he would turn it all under to begin the growing process once again.
My mother canned vegetables with a pressure cooker. My grandparents raised corn in a section of their land that we harvested every year. We picked sand plums to make jams and jellies, and picked blackberries when they were in season. Our neighbors’ parents had a large strawberry patch that we were allowed to harvest. My grandfather raised watermelons. My uncle in Tuttle and my aunt in Bethany had an apricot tree. My great-grandmother in town had a pear tree. We had an orchard where we raised sweet and tart cherries, peaches, plums and apples.
My brother and I used to play a game where we would ride our small Yamaha 50 under the cherry tree during harvesting time. We would reach out with one hand and grab a bunch while cruising under the tree at top 50cc speed, then stop to see how many cherries we had scored on that particular run.
We purchased milk from our neighbors and a friend in town who had a dairy. My parents made their own yogurt with their yogurt maker. We sometimes make sumac lemonade or tea when the red velvet sumac on our property pollinated at the end of the summer. We cut and bailed the prairie hay we fed our cattle. We purchased bales of alfalfa from local farmers for supplements.
A trip into town to eat at a restaurant was fairly rare. I usually ordered a bologna sandwich or a corn dog when that happened…that was “fancy food” to me. Ah, youth…
I’m sharing this information with you because it might better help you understand why I’m using this space on the RDC to give not just one but TWO shout-outs this week to the soon-to-open Ludivine restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. I’ve now watched every one of their eleven 4.5 minute videos posted on their YouTube channel. In each segment, they highlight a vendor they have built a relationship with in order to bring the food raised in Oklahoma to the table of those who eat in their restaurant.
My heart warmed while viewing them. We used to raise “Jerusalem Artichokes” in our garden at home. They’re using “Sunchokes” (same thing) in their restaurants. One of the videos shows the pains of gathering Sand Plums and discusses the rewards of why you would do such a thing. And most of all – there are people across Oklahoma who Ludivine has connected with carrying on a tradition of raising organic, nutritious, fresh and wonderful treasures in our precious Oklahoma soil. They seem to be committed to helping you feast on their crops or products that they prepared in a loving and conscientious way.
Here’s to you, Ludivine, for documenting your developmental journeys and relationships with your growers and vendors. And here’s to you, Wagon Creek Creamery, Two Tomatoes Farm, OM Gardens, Regional Food Bank, Avalon Seafood, Willie’s Ribs, Coop Ale Works and Urban Agrarian. (We mentioned Peach Crest Farms earlier this week).
Thank you twice. Thanks for all you do, all your plans and for all you hope to be.
Good luck! (Click the picture below to visit Ludivine’s YouTube videos).
Showcasing Red Dirt culture ~ authored and managed by contributors with connections to the great state of Oklahoma.