This story originally aired on June 15, 2016.

Texas has a great number of Texas brands:

Southwest Airlines.
Texas Instruments.
Lone Star Beer.
Dell Computer.
Imperial Sugar.
The King Ranch.

Now, The King Ranch is a brand that came, quite literally, from a brand. King Ranch even has its own brand of Ford Pickup.

The King Ranch also helped launch another old Texas brand, Falfurrias Butter.

It is a little circuitous, but this is how it all came about. Richard King’s partner, Mifflin Kenedy, sold 7,000 cows to Ed Lasater, who then created the dairy that launched Falfurrias butter. Thirty-five years later, the King Ranch bought Lasater’s land, along with many head of cattle, to create the Encino division of the King Ranch.

But that’s not the story I’m here to tell. I’m here to talk about a great old brand of Texas butter.

Falfurrias butter was first made in Falfurrias, of course, in 1909. People have wondered whether the butter is named for the town or the town for the butter, but they were actually both named after Lasater’s ranch, which was named for a grove of trees called La Mota de Falfurrias. Lasater said that that unique word, Falfurrias, came from the Lipan Apache language and, loosely translated, means “Land of Heart’s Delight.”

The butter was certainly the town’s best known export in those early days, and likely remains so today. Even the school mascot, the Jerseys, was named after the butter’s real creators – the Jersey cows. At one point Falfurrias was home to the largest Jersey cattle herd in the world.

And so that gave special meaning to the once popular bumper sticker there: “Watch Your Step – You’re in Jersey Country.” I’m not sure the author of that intended the double meaning, but it certainly provided a good deal of local levity until it was recalled.

Falfurrias butter remains a popular niche brand of butter. In Texas, it’s sold at all the major grocery stores, and some smaller ones, too. It has been quite popular in northern Mexico for generations.

A friend tells me that as a child in Saltillo he remembers his mother bringing back the mantequilla dulce de Falfurrias as a special treat for the kids anytime she traveled to Texas.

A Texas Marine in WWII recalled that as he was wading ashore in the battle for Okinawa, a Falfurrias Butter crate bumped up against his leg in the surf. He found it comforting, an assurance from home that all would be well. And so it was.

Falfurrias Butter outgrew Falfurrias. It became so popular that it was eventually bought by the Dairy Farmers of America, but rest assured it is still made in Texas.

It is made by Keller’s Creamery in Winnsboro, Texas, and has grown at a Texas-sized pace of 40 percent over the last few years. That’s a lot of biscuits and baked potatoes, y’all.

When you drive through Falfurrias today, on state Highway 285, you can still see the vintage Falfurrias Butter sign on the side of the old Creamery Building. The town newspaper, Falfurrias Facts, occupies the building today.

In the interest of full disclosure ethical transparency, I have to reveal that I am also an export of Falfurrias, and even though I know on which side my bread is buttered, so to speak, I assure you that it does not affect the veracity of this commentary.

W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell ice cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket. 

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  • A.B. Davis June 13, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Born in Falfurrias on 1926. My mother played tennnis at laMota very often. Carolyn and Ed were members of the Presbyterian church as were we. She played a great part in the history of Fakfurrias. I had to drop milk off at the creamery on my way to school every day. My dad worked at the creamery in the early 20’s, before I was born. My family name was Burdett. Nothing like the original butter and I still buy nothing else. The Lasaters were great people . I had a pet pig and sold it at the church auction. Carolyn bought the pig but they finally had to get rid of it because their dog kept letting it in the house. Wonderful memories.

  • Carolyn Hammond June 13, 2017 at 7:41 am

    My grandfather was the saddler for the Lassiter Ranch

  • Diana Pena Munoz June 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I still have the white overall and cap that they use to wear.

  • Rogelio Sanchez June 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

    My brother Gilbert Sanchez worked there for many years and I still remember my mom buying the butter all the time l still buy it its the best love my home town.

    • Anonymous June 11, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      My Dad Domingo Pena, Sr. worked there about 20 yrs also. I remember that I would stop there every day after school when I was in Falfurrias Elementary. We loved the butter and they also made cottage cheese. They processed milk also. I still have his white coverall (uniform) and the cap. Best of al loved the Falfurrias butter.

  • Richard De Luna March 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I like it!

  • Richard De Luna March 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I love this butter.

  • Carlos Rivera December 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I was one of the employees at Falfurrias Butter back when Estefan Esco bar was Forman there. I have good memories working there in running & packaging butter. I was 22 years old & now I’m going on 70.Those were the good old days.

    • Becky Gutierrez February 28, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Hi Mr Rivera, Estevan Escobar was my grandfather and I know he enjoyed working at Falfurrias Butter.

  • Laura Leal December 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

    I am from Monterrey NLMexico live in McAllen now, I remember 1960’s 70’s 80′ my mother will drivefrom Monterrey to McAllen and Falfurrias to buy boxes of butter to take back for a friend that was in the baking business

  • Sherrie December 28, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    My dad’s great cousin was the founder. Nothing has gone on his toast for 100 years. I still use it

  • Larry December 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I will try it soon

  • Mike Vaughn December 28, 2016 at 9:38 am

    There is no other butter as far as I am concerned; interestingly, though I live in East Texas the local grocery stores will not carry it — thankfully WalMart does carry it.

  • Carol Cowels December 28, 2016 at 7:30 am

    This is my favorite brand of butter, I buy it all the time.

  • Betty December 27, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I LOVE EVERYTHING TEXAS!

  • Jimmy Birkhead December 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I am seventy-three years young and have been putting Falfurrias butter on my toast, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, oatmeal and numerous other food products since I was eight years old. Delicious sweet butter!

  • tommy disbro December 27, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I am from premont and my grandfather had a ranch and dairy 8 mi west. The milk went to Falfurrias. We always had Fallurias butter and still do.

    • karen February 2, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Was your grandmother Betty Disbro? They were neighbors to my grandparents, the Pierces, who had Jersey cows and their milk went to Lasater Dairy too

  • Mary Olivia Patiño December 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Falfurrias, ‘land of heart’s delight’ – home to a two-year old’s heart, created lasting memories in my life. I first tasted the sweet butter while staying with mis abuelitos on a dairy farm/ranch in Falfurrias. Years later, I found the little house where we lived and was inspired to write a poem about La Casita. My younger sister still insists only on ‘Falfurrias butter’ for the table.

  • Mary December 26, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I am from Iowa but we had Jersey cattle amd when I moved to San Antonio and discovered FALFURRIAS Butter and Blue Bell Ice Cream I knew I had a little bit of home!

  • Anna Maria Moreno Correa August 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Awesome, I also an from FALFURRIAS, now living in San Antonio love the Falfurrias Butter

  • David Nevarez August 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Great piece where the Nevarez Clan started. I’m David Nevarez Son of Ernesto Nevarez Sr and Herminia Salas Nevarez who used to live on Oleander.

  • Ginger Winkelmann June 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Enjoyed this very much !

  • Edward C. Lasater II June 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Great story. My cousin Albert Lasater just lead a group of the next generation of Lasaters camping on Laguna Salada just southeast of Falfurrias. We still gather at La Mota every Thanksgiving. Although our family no longer owns the brand, every meal we eat is accompanied by a stick of Falfurrias Butter.

  • M June 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I think our taste changes as we get older.

  • M June 20, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I grew up in San Antonio and on Falfurrias butter. Most of us older folks notice a change of taste in the things we grew up eating. Perhaps it’s our taster that changes.

  • Gigi Clancy Starnes June 19, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Mr. Proctor, Creamery Manager I think, was a friend of my parents and I was a frequent visitor at the Creamery store front on Main Street where a nice soul would give me a little slab of butter to just put in my mouth and savor. I was five or six at the time, and to this day, at 74, a pat of Falfurrias Butter is still my favorite treat. One of my childrens’ and grandchildren’s favorite treat is a bread and butter and sugar sandwich as a result of the kind folks at Falfurrias Creamery. Thanks for a great visit to a favorite memory.

    • Janice (Wathen) Robinson September 28, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Just wondering if you are part of the Clancy Clan in Falfurrias. I think they had a nice restaurant on 281? My grandmother was a sweet “Registered Nurse” at the Brooks County Hospital, Sara Smith. She usually worked the evening shift . I was born at the old hospital when it was located in a 2 story bldg, above the old drug store on 281, October 12, 1948.

  • Carol June 18, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Never heard of it, can I buy it local, like Kroger,H.E.B, wal-mart??

    • Anonymous August 10, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Walmart has it. I buy it there often.

      • Marty Evans December 28, 2016 at 9:58 am

        Can I find it in west TN. I would like to try some.

    • Anonymous January 10, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      HEB and Wal-Mart sell it.

  • Terri June 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I enjoyed this story and always remain proud of Texas Products. Now I’m going to HEB and see if they carry Fallfurrias Butter.

  • Pat (Givens) Schweikhardt June 18, 2016 at 8:51 am

    We moved to Falfurrias in 1940, Falfurrias Butter was always there (except during WW11 when that white stuff (oleo) came along and you had to mix in a packet of yellow powder..we were told it was better for you ! No Way) I am happy it is still made in Texas, I still use it today. Falfurrias was a busy little city in those days, now not so much! sad. I have Ed Lasater’s book, “Falfurrias”.

  • Luann Norris June 17, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Great article! I am the production planner at Keller’s Creamery, owned by DFA, where the butter is made now. I hope we live up to the great reputation the brand carries!

    • Creighton Bruton December 29, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      I was wondering if Keller’s stayed with Jersey only, or if they just accept all sources of milk for the creamery.

    • Suzanne Adams January 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Could you tell me if the cows used to make this butter are fed corn and soy, or if they are free grazing cattle?

  • Frank Schuster June 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I found a book on Amazon, Falfurrias, Ed C Lasater and the Development of South Texas. It was the biography of Ed C. Lasater. It gave a great history of the area. Wonderful book!! I highly recommend it if you are interested in the man and area history.

  • Angie Garcia June 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I’m so happy to read the history of Falfurris,my dad, start farming very young grow the best,an sweet water melons he will load trains full of water melons to sent up north,he also plant acres of cotton tomatoes,peanuts, the peanuts were to make oil to fight word word tow.this are my memories as a child,an still love Falfurrias,an Falfurrias,butter my dad,had a creamy , an milk ten cows an take to falfurrias butter, he pick all the other milk from all the ranches,an took to F alfurias,butter,I always buy the Falfurrias,butter because that my home town,also my parents,an grandmothers ,uncles are resting in peace at sacred heart cemetery here in Falfurrias. This town is part of my life.thank you, my dad was born in 1905 ,an the butter in 1909 so they have something in comment!! Love you Angie

  • Sandra HansonWilkinson June 17, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Enjoyed the history. I will only use Falfurrias Butter. Have people ask me why I do not get the one that is on sale. My reply is Falfurrias is the Best, you should try it and you will like it. Class of 1963, now call Houston home.

  • Alice Wilks June 17, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Good story. Now I want to know About the flower. I just finished El Mesquite which takes place more toward Alice & Agua Dulce. It was a very interesting read.

  • Joyce B June 16, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I bought this butter last week. I will bake a pound cake with it. That’s how l judge the quality and taste of butter. Wishing for the best as it is reasonably priced in my area.

    • Mike Vaughn December 28, 2016 at 9:42 am

      You will not be disappointed. I have been making pound cakes with Falfurrias Butter for years, and when friends and family ask me the secret, I am happy to say — “Use Falfurrias Butter.”

  • Dirk Moore June 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Awesome story, my friend! Brought back memories. Always enjoy the commentaries.

  • Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Falfurrias,is my home town,I was born their, on May 31,1932 I was 13 years old when my dad,decide to move to the valley, my dad won forty acres of land five miles east of falfurrias,he have a creamery milk the cows an take the milk to falfurrias butter,an pick all the milk,from other Darry’s. Around La parita an take to falfurrias creaming .i still buy the falfurrias ,butter from my home town I still love!

  • Lisa Addison June 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Love the butter and now, even more, knowing the Texas history behind it!!

  • Marco June 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    It is located at the corner or 285 and 281

  • Carol Urian Jones June 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Great read….about Fal history♡♡♡♡

  • Lauren L Martin June 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    My grandfather’s other fun bumper sticker was “Butter lovers make better lovers”

  • Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Great butter, but let us not forget the “Chorizo de San Manuel” to go with it. Article states Hwy 285; isn’t that State Hwy 281??

    • Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      State Hwy 285 runs east and west and 281 North and South. The old creamery bldg is a couple of blocks east of 281 on 285.

    • Marco June 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      It’s located at the intersection of hwy 285 and 281

    • Sandy June 17, 2016 at 3:19 am

      The creamery building sits on State Hwy 285, aka Main Street. Yes, the center of town is at the intersection of US Hwy 281 and State Hwy 285. While it is less than a block from the rather new bypass of Hwy 281, it is almost two blocks from Business US 281.

  • Ricky Schulze June 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Good story grew up 9 miles from Falfurrias .Still eat Falfurrias butter today.

    • Anonymous December 27, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Must be from Premont. Me too.

  • JoeSanchez June 16, 2016 at 3:30 am

    I love everything they said it’s true I worked back there back in the 79 late 80es l enjoyed the town the butter was so good the folks just good people. ?

  • Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I remember having the Fal butter my husband was from falfurrias great on tortillas.

  • Norma N Garcia Betancourt June 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    My Grandfather Gilberto Villa owned a dairy farm and was a contributor for many years for Our Falfurrias Butter, and I continue to buy Falfurrias Butter.
    I have great memories of my family who helped work the dairy. Getting up early in the morning to round up the cattle to start milking the cows by hand, cleaning the dairy, and if I remember correctly, we did this three times a day. Then we got the machines which saves time and reduced the three times to twice a day.

    • Anonymous June 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Awesome!!!

  • Virginia June 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Great article! I’m an export of Premont, 9 miles north of Falfurrias, but was born in Fal. My Dad and Grandparents were from Falfurrias. I still be their butter!

  • Sally June 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Great story, but I hate to say it but the butter doesn’t really taste the way it used too.

    • Lydia G Peterson June 20, 2016 at 7:02 am

      I agree with Sally; the Falfurrias butter that I grew up with and loved had a distinctive flavor that is no longer there. I have asked as many I could for an explanation but no one has had an answer. The distinctive flavor was what made it delicious. The last time I tasted Falfurrias butter the taste was no different from that of Land O’ Lakes. Alas!!

  • Jennifer Garcia June 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Great story- love my hometown!

  • Gloria Garcia Madrigal June 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I think this is a beautiful tribute to the city of Falfurrias and it’s long time residents. I love this story and I plan to pass it down to my daughter and son and grandkids.

  • joe hernandez June 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Great read…keep up the Texas Traditions and memories…thanks ya’ll

  • Margie (Thomas) Barnes June 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    The write up on Falfurrias Butter is great history. My father Dutch Thomas worked for the creamery for 30 years. While growing up in Falfurrias i remember alot of the stories and history. I am glad it is being kenpt alive.

  • Anonymous June 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Think Land of Lakes brand bought them out, or the other way..

  • jack barton June 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    good article. well researched.

  • Julia Nava June 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Excellent article! I am an enrolled member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas and it is a Lipan Apache word “land of heart’s delight”. Do you know anything about the Hearts Delight Flower that grows solely in Brooks County?

    • Melissa June 16, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      My husband is from there and told me about Hearts Delight-the wild flower. I have seen them. That is really how the town got its name. Thanks Julia for pointing that out. glad to know it is a Lipan Apache word.

  • Louis Stephens June 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Still use this butter(salted), thanks for this tidbit of Texana.

  • Nor Naranjp June 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Good article