Hawley, Minnesota: the land of milk and honey. Butter and honey, to be more precise, as well as cream, sugar, blueberries, raspberries, bilberries, boysenberries, and just recently prickly pears. For Hawley is the home of Butter Creations by Anne, whose honey butter is no less delicious than Olympian nectar.
A company like Butter Creations by Anne is what happens when the entrepreneurial minded create a perfect Christmas gift. In 2014 Anne and Adam Adrian decided to give their immediate family something with a little more meaning than monogrammed tea towels or electric singing fish. They found a recipe for an intriguing substance called “honey butter” – neither element of which sounds remotely objectionable – and set about making a batch.
Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews universally approved of Anne and Adam’s honey butter. Vehemently. That’s when Adam uttered those words which so often start small businesses: “We could sell this!”
The two had already distributed beef jerky together, and honey butter represented greater opportunity. To move up in the jerky business, one needs cows; the ingredients for honey butter require far less space and never demand hoof maintenance.
“Adam and I started out by doing a lot of research,” said Anne, who stresses that she is only half of the company despite being its namesake. “We eventually refined a base recipe with additional sugar and vanilla, which gives honey butter an almost caramel flavor. We also discovered that light clove honey is ideal for honey butter because its flavor isn’t quite so overpowering. Once we perfected our original, gingersnap and strawberry flavors and joined Pride of Dakota, we were ready to sell at craft fairs.
“Our early customer feedback was amazing. It turned out that we had stumbled across a food which a lot of older people remember from their childhoods. ‘My mother used to make honey butter just like this when I was little,’ customers would say. I imagine honey and butter are about as old school as it gets when it comes to Midwestern ingredients.
“Before long the kitchen in our home became too small to fill our orders. We upgraded to Square One Kitchens in Fargo, a commercial kitchen where we don’t have to step on each other’s toes quite so much. There was a bit of a learning curve to working as a husband and wife team. We used to test each other’s patience, but now we know whose side of the kitchen is whose!
“The commercial kitchen also meant we could meet with a health inspector. With that and ingredients from registered companies, we had all the documentation we needed to get our honey butter on store shelves in Minnesota and North Dakota.”
Today Butter Creations by Anne offers pumpkin, raspberry, strawberry rhubarb, brown sugar cinnamon, maple, monster cookie, cocoa hazelnut, blueberry, black cherry, huckleberry, wild sea buckthorn, and prickly pear – as well as original honey butter.
“My husband is into unique flavors,” said Anne. “That’s why we love experimenting with exotic berries. And when a friend of his mentioned they tried prickly pear in Arizona, he said we have to make it. A lot of the snowbirds we meet at shows are delighted that they get to eat prickly pear up here in the Midwest as well!
“Toast and pancakes are only the beginning. Our customers have told us that they put honey butter on popcorn, pretzels, apples, ice cream, sweet potatoes, carrots, and even corn on the cob. You can also mix it into Cool Whip to make a one-of-a-kind dessert topping.
“My husband actually came up with the name for our business. He suggested we add ‘by Anne’ in case someone already owned the rights to ‘Butter Creations.’ In retrospect we should have added ‘by Adrian’ since everything we do is fifty-fifty, but there’s no turning back now.”
I say Anne and Adam Adrian should have named their business “AAA,” even though it would have caused confusion. But hey – wouldn’t a jar of honey butter be just as good as a tow truck when you’re having a bad day?
Butter Creations by Anne is available at fine retailers throughout the Fargo–Moorhead area. You may learn more about them and order online at buttercreationsbyanne.com.
Find Butter Creations by Anne at:
Hornbacher’s, SCHEELS Home and Hardware, Breadsmith, Baker Garden & Gift, Family Fare
By David Scheller