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Meet the Team


The Family Behind Churncraft

Churncraft is thrilled to announce the launch of its flagship product: a highly efficient, hand-powered, mechanical butter churn that allows users to make fresh, authentic butter with ease. The Churncraft churn has been developed by Kristin and Hannes Frey, who run Churncraft, a family start-up, with the help of their daughters Kiki and Jojo.

Kristin FreyKristin Lende Frey: I grew up in the 1970s in the bucolic countryside of the Hudson River Valley. We had a small sustainable farm and a single Holstein cow named Tranquility. It was my responsibility to take care of our cow which meant cleaning her stall, taking her out to graze, feeding, watering and of course the daily milking‐morning and night, through winter storms and hot humid summers.

All I ever needed to know about hard work and responsibility came from taking care of that cow. Along with the drudgery and strict routine, came many delights: a lovable beast who was the center of our lives and endless amounts of milk, cream, homemade butter, yogurt and ice cream! I grew up appreciating pure, raw unadulterated food sourced straight from the land around me.

At the age of 21, I left this comforting world behind and moved overseas, first to France and then Switzerland. I was swept up by academia, and pursued degrees in both French and German and then Comparative Literature. Alongside my language and literature studies, I began to develop a deep and lifelong appreciation for European cuisine. I frequently experimented with local ingredients and classic old world recipes from French and German cookbooks.

Before too long, I married my Swiss boyfriend, we moved between our two countries for a number of years, and finally settled in Connecticut to raise our five children. Throughout my parenting years, I frequently thought about the raw and healthy food from my childhood. I became increasingly vigilant about what I put on the table‐ no pesticides or preservatives, no MSG or trans fats, no colorants or chemicals. However, in the 80s, 90s and into the early 2000s, it was difficult to avoid these harmful and toxic additives.

It is now 2015, and we are living in a fast paced world with an American food machine that is out of control. It is no wonder that the farm to table movement and sustainable living craze have caught our country by storm. Americans everywhere are beginning to appreciate and demand pure and untainted food. People are even starting to gravitate back toward genuine, hands‐on activities from bygone eras. With this in mind, and with most of my children off and running, I set my sights on creating a functional yet elegant hand-powered butter churn. Developing such a churn for the modern market has been a bigger challenge than I ever imagined, but now we are there. Our Churncraft project has launched and we are excited to share our new churn and the delights of homemade butter.

Jojo FreyJojo Frey: After graduating with a degree in global communications and film from the American University of Paris, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. I did a stint at a film production company but quickly decided that the Hollywood film industry was not right for me.

Luckily, at this same time, my parents' Churncraft project was turning into a serious venture and they offered me a job working at their start-up. I now focus on the branding, digital development and marketing side of Churncraft. A s the jack of all trades at Churncraft HQ, I also take care of operations, sales, logistics and much more!

Hannes FreyHannes Frey: I have always been involved with finance, global markets and large corporations. That's my professional world. It is complex, creative, and often challenging, but it is rather abstract. Over the years, I have come to appreciate things that are tangible.

Take butter: When you make butter with your own hands, you know where your raw material is coming from — straight from the cow — and you know exactly what it takes to create something from beginning to end:  a good tool, some knowledge, and a bit of effort. When you are done, nobody will ask what you have accomplished. Everybody can taste the result. There is no pretense; there is no need for an explanation.

When Kristin told me that she wanted to revive the traditional hand-crank American butter churn, I was taken with the idea. I offered to help her with the overall direction of the new undertaking and to keep an eye on the technical side.

Kristin is not the only one with roots on a family farm. I grew up in Switzerland, a land of cows, butter and cheese. My grandfather owned a farm in the hills above Lake Zurich. He milked his seven cows twice every day -- spring, summer, fall and winter -- on workdays and Sundays. He also tended his small vineyard. As a child, I loved to visit the farm. The memories of smells, textures and sounds are still vivid in my mind: the tickling of freshly mown hay in my nostrils; in the fall, the scent of fermenting fruit in the cellar; the amazing richness of a glass of warm milk straight from the cow.

My parents were attracted to the world of letters. They left the farm behind and started a publishing house. As a young man, I got involved in editing the family's magazines. It was a great privilege to write for a national audience about political and economic issues, and it gave me a taste of the wider world beyond the borders of Switzerland. To gain access to this world, I studied law and business.

When Kristin and I got married, we decided to raise our family in America. This was in the 1980s. I spent fifteen years on Wall Street, a few years with a large multinational pharmaceutical company, and then another ten years in global finance. The stage was getting bigger; the issues were becoming more complex, the work more rewarding, yet all along I felt the pull of a simpler life.

At Churncraft, we are witnessing a revival of classical crafts and tools in America. Cooking is a huge part of it. From the professional chef to the aspiring cook to the urban farmer, the culinary world is rediscovering the excitement of working with butter. We believe in the age-old tradition of making butter by hand. There is a great joy in it. You'll taste the freshest butter you can imagine, yet it is about so much more than just taste. It is an experience we would like to share, so we have decided to update the classic, hand-crank butter churn for the contemporary American kitchen.



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