Perhaps the last you heard about American buffalo is that they were nearly hunted to extinction a couple centuries ago, which might make you feel a bit guilty about chomping down on a bison burger. Well, they’re back, with nearly 500,000 bison roaming American soil once again, and most are being raised for human consumption. So eat that burger, and feel good about it too, because bison — which is only a distant relative of the “true” buffalo species from Asia and Africa — is also lower in fat and cholesterol than beef. And now, thanks to artist and landscape designer Lori Ann David (who you might know from her mosaics at the new airport terminal or the Chumash one on West Cabrillo Boulevard), there’s an option for buying bison from California’s Central Coast.
“I invested in bison years ago with friends who were producing in Wyoming,” said the natural food-loving artist, who grew up in New Jersey learning such lost arts as shoemaking, sewing, and leather tanning from her Sicilian-American family and has previously raised grass-fed cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens as well as fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, and grains. “I always had it in the back of my mind to get involved in a bigger way, perhaps when my kids went to college, but in my heart I knew that I would go back to my roots in agriculture with some type of large-scale ranching and farming operation. So that time is now!”
David’s Aurora Farms is now selling all types of bison cuts, from osso bucco and tenderloins to tri-tips and burger-ready ground meat, and she explained that bison is an excellent alternative to beef. “There is no better nutritionally dense food, or one that is superior in content,” explained David, noting that the meat is high in protein, iron, vitamin B-12, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids while remaining low in fat, calories, and cholesterol. “We need meat — good, primal, first-source natural meat, no hormones, antibiotics or anything added — to run this thing we call a human body at optimum performance for optimum health.”
To take part in the bison meat revolution, you can pick up Aurora Farms’ grass-fed, organic buffalo through Harbor Meat and Seafood at 215 Helena Avenue, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Or, if you’d like to meet Lori Ann David, she is on hand at Harbor the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. For more info, see aurorafarms.org or call 805-569-5009.