Nestled on three hundred and twenty acres of prime pastureland near Sebastopol, California, Buttke Family Dairy has been a part of the Clover family since October of 2013. Established in 1977, this bucolic ranch is the pride and joy of fifth generation dairymen Nick Buttke and his wife Amber, who took over the business operation from his parents, Doug and Judy, in 2016. This award-winning operation was named North Bay Outstanding Dairy of the Year in 2012–a testament to the dedication and teamwork this family has invested in their business through the years.
Born and raised on the dairy with his two brothers and sister, Nick fell in love with the dairying life as a child, and continued helping his parents through the years. “I wanted to keep the family tradition going,” he says noting he is the only one of his siblings that chose to take on the family business. He hopes at least one of his four young boys will follow in his footsteps to carry on the legacy.
Nick’s dairying heritage runs deep. His great, great maternal grandparents, the Cordas, were Swiss-Italian immigrants who arrived in neighboring Marin County in 1884, and established the original Corda Family Dairy west of Novato. His mom, Judy, followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Alfred Corda, who co-founded Marin Dell Milk Company in 1932, and her great-grandfather, Joe Corda, who co-founded the landmark Petaluma Co-operative Creamery. Both institutions became cornerstones of the Marin-Sonoma dairy industry. She eventually met and married Petaluma native, Doug Buttke, and the couple moved to Sonoma County to set up house and establish the Buttke Dairy in 1977.
At present, the conventional dairy milks 160 Holstein cows that produce an average 1300 gallons of top quality, non-GMO certified Clover milk each day.
Just like his own childhood experience, Nick and his wife Amber are raising their four boys–Nicholas (10), Lane (8), Mason (5) and Brody (4)– on the dairy where everyone pitches in to share responsibility for the daily chores and operations. In addition to busy ranch life the Buttke’s are also very active in sports and 4-H where the older boys work with their calves & pigs to show them at the fair.
Unlike Nick, Amber did not grow up in an agriculture family, but after years as a dairyman’s wife she now has a deeper respect for animals and appreciates the circle of life her boys witness growing up on the ranch. “I love that they see where their food comes from, and they have a very healthy lifestyle,” she says. “They don’t have time to sit around the house playing video games or watching TV because they’re always helping out around the farm.”
As a Clover partner producer, Nick is proud that the milk his cows make stays local. “The people of Sonoma County love Clover milk because they know it is produced right here close to home,” he says adding, “We’re glad to be a part of Clover because they care about their dairies like family.”