Thanksgiving, 2013. Three close friends Mark Ricigliano, Jim Kelleher and Rik Morris were preparing for the holiday dinner when Mark presented his homemade Sour Cherry Butter, as he planned to pair it with a Roquefort Cheese, as an appetizer. After tasting the special butter, we immediately thought this could not only be served as an appetizer, used in cooking, or perfect as a table butter. The exuberant reception by Mark’s large Italian “foodie family” encouraged the intrepid trio to offer this creation to many of our friends.
During the heavy snow storms of the new year, we pondered a name for our company. We wanted the name to convey our values of “farm to table,” wholesome all natural quality, and how good food brings friends and family together. The name was literally inspired on a warm winter’s morning, when Rik, was startled by the sound of snow sliding off his home’s slate roof and landing by his desk window with a loud thwump.
Easter, 2014. Test recipe followed test recipe until now we “the founders” of Slate Roof Creamery decided our all natural grass fed butter was ready for a public tasting. It was served to 19 friends and family with warm rolls, and as a key ingredient in one of the dishes served. All the “tasters” wanted to know where they could buy this delight. Jim’s mother at the young age of 101 shared that the creaminess of the butter reminded her of her childhood days, when things were simple and pure. We proudly said, “…it’s our new company,” and with all this good will it affirmed to us that we were on the right track.
From July through December, things began to move very quickly. The company was incorporated, our country-fresh packaging was designed and more varieties were created by Mark, tested, refined, and perfected. During this time the finest butter was sought out by Rik.
In April 2015, Jim was contacted by the prestigious Specialty Food Association. They wanted Slate Roof Creamery to become a Candidate Member. With this honor, came the immediate need of all of their judging requirements – photographing the butters, launching a website, designing a sell sheet, “oh” and printing business cards. Three weeks later we learned that not only had we been accepted by the Association; but, that we had been selected to be one of the less than 50 companies to be showcased in the “New Brands on the Shelf Pavilion” at the Fancy Food Show – Summer 2015, in New York City. We were ecstatic, but now the realization of all that needed to be done in just six weeks could have made cream curdle.
We each knew we had to make a strong and favorable impression when introducing our all natural grass fed rBST free* butters. We wanted to be noticed, tasted, and remembered by the specialty food community. With the help of good friends and a talented team, our logo, packaging, collateral, and the overall look of Slate Roof Creamery was totally redesigned. (Like cows, we were sleeping on average only four hours a day.)
At the Fancy Food Show, we gained a tremendous amount of buzz. In serving over 600 samples a day, we shared our story with specialty store buyers, brokers, distributors, chain groceries, news outlets and food bloggers. It was also at this time that the “savory” line was debuted. In addition to our sweet varieties, like Wild Maine Blueberry, and Sea Salt Caramel, Slate Roof Creamery presented its Parmesan Garlic, and Lemon Herb butters. After three long days, standing on our feet the entire time, we had a new respect for our four legged dairy producing friends.
And in speaking of cows, it was at the Show that we were thrilled to introduce Gertrude von Schweizer-Braunvieh. Gert, (to her friends), who represents the values of Slate Roof Creamery, the rolling hills of the Susquehanna Valley, and the descendants of the first Brown Swiss cows that came to America from their Alpine home in Switzerland.
Today, though we have “mooved” in a big way from Mark’s home kitchen, we still maintain the simple homemade quality of our unique line of specialty sweet and savory butters.
We are proud that as a loyal Pennsylvania company, that the lush landscape of the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania and her neighboring states, Delaware and Maryland provide the grasses to feed the regional dairy cows; and, that the commitment of the farmers to provide rBST free butter makes our taste unique and memorable.
And, as we work to make each variety available nationally to those of us who love butter, family, and value our lovingly handcrafted offerings, we can say only one simple word – Enjoy!