Imagine being able to sell your high-quality, homemade butter for a dollar a pound when the going rate at the local grocer was fifty to sixty cents. That’s what Mrs. Foster was able to do in 1921 giving her a little extra “pin money”. She even took home first prize in the county’s Better Butter Contest — a purebred heifer named Blue Fobes Olive.
Better Butter Contest
Bernice H. Irwin
NINETY-SIX representative Spartanburg County, S.C. women entered last year’s Better Butter Contest, which ended at the county fair with the award of eighteen prizes. To bring up the standards of butter in their county was the aim of the contest conducted under the leadership of Mrs. Harriet Johnson, Home Demonstration Agent. Mrs. R.W. Foster of Roebuck made the highest score and lead off the purebred heifer – “Blue Fobes Olive”. Mrs. D.A. Stewart came second and Mrs. R.C. Burnett third.
In preparation for the judging, butter demonstrations were given in sixteen communities by Mrs. Harriet Johnson, Home Demonstration Agent and Miss Elizabeth Forney, State Dairy Specialist from Winthrop College. Printed instructions were distributed covering such practical topics as: Production Of Clean Milk And Cream, Care Of Cream, Ripening And Souring Of Cream, Churning Temperature, Preparing The Churn, Straining And Coloring, Kind of Churn, Churning, Washing Butter, Salting and Working Butter, Printing The Butter, Washing The Cream.
Study of equipment resulted in the installation of many square molds, butter workers, thermometer and barrel churns. Study of methods resulted in such improved butter that the grocery men of the county commented most favorably upon butter brought to them for sale even when the producer did not enter the contest. So wide did their fame spread that Mrs. Foster was surprised one morning to have a stately stranger for the city drive up to her door and offer her a dollar a pound for her butter, this at a time when butter was selling for fifty and sixty cents.
Once a month for six months a pound of butter from each contestant was sent or brought to the Chamber of Commerce building and there scored by experts. Points on score cards were: Flavor 45, texture 25, color 15, salt 10, package 5. The average score of butter entered was 91%. These meetings were attended by from fifty to one hundred women from all parts of the county and some special feature each time made them doubly interesting. A trip to a model dairy was very much enjoyed but the real day was the Saturday when the women of Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce entertained at a luncheon for all contestants. The same spirit of cooperation and friendliness between town and country people which has brought good roads, good industries and good homes to town and county prevailed at this crowning event of the contest and everyone voted their six months of work and play together an unparalleled success socially as well as educationally.
The above article was originally printed in The Farmer’s Wife – A Magazine for Farm Women, October 1921, page 586, Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota