Did you ever notice that butter is sold in long, thin sticks in the eastern part of the United States, while in the West it’s sold in short, stout blocks? Honestly, me neither. But a consumer who did recently asked Marketplace.org for an explanation.
Turns out the East-West butter divide dates back to the 1960s. Before then the West Coast didn’t have much of a dairy industry or churn out much butter or cheese.
“All our milk went to fluid needs. Whole milks, low-fat milks and nonfat milks, for example,” John Bruhn, formerly the head of the University of California-Davis’ Dairy Research and Information Center, told Marketplace producer Tommy Andres.
When the dairy industry in California, now the nation’s top dairy-producing state, sharply took off, butter makers there purchased new equipment, which turned out the cubes (“Western Stubbies”) now familiar in the West, rather than the long, skinny sticks that had long been standard in the East.