Food Lovers' Guide: Local Meats
Meat Up: These Farmers are Home on the Range
Keira and Brian Farmer have a home where the buffalo roam in Warner, and their homegrown bison meat is the main course at their Yankee Farmer's Market.
The couple began raising the iconic ungulates about 20 years ago. "We decided to go into farming at a time when everybody was saying the family farm was dying so we knew we had to do something a little different," says Brian, who grew up in New Boston.
The couple settled on buffalo. "It's a meat that is ingrained in our American tradition, but at the time very few people had ever tasted it. It's one of the healthiest meats you can eat, low in fat and cholesterol and high in omega-3s. And it's a way you can eat healthier and still eat meat without having to go overboard on an all-lettuce diet," he says. The couple began with a few head of the cattle: "We figured the worst case scenario was we'd eat them."
But they needn't have worried. Customers began knocking on their door before they even began marketing the meats and taking their to the farmers markets and the Deerfield Fair, selling from the back of what they call the "chuck wagon."
They now have just about 100 buffalo on their farm in Warner and Hillsborough. The local food movement has been a boon to the couple. "I think after 9/11 people became afraid they might be cut off from their food supplies and began looking for local alternatives," he says.
Yankee Farmer's Market also sells naturally raised chicken, turkeys, lamb, elk and ostrich from other farms, but buffalo is their mainstay.
The couple welcomes visitors to both the store and the farm. "We really believe that our farm is part of a community. We're one of the few places where people can go to a store and buy a piece of meat and visit the farm that day, " he says. "Most farms aren't built to deal with the general public, but we are."
Cooking Tip: If you've never cooked buffalo meat, Brian Farmer suggests you try the same cut as the beef you are accustomed to. "If you usually have a steak, try steak, if you usually have a burger, try a burger," he says. He warns that buffalo meat cooks faster than beef because there is no fat to act as an insulator. "You don't need to cook it quite as hard as some of the fattier foods and not at as high a temperature, slow and low is the key," he says.
Roasts should be cooked in an oven preheated to 275-325 degrees and the meat should be cooked to rare to medium to an internal temperatures of 135-155 degrees Fahrenheit.
815 Court St.
Bull Run Beef & Specialty Shoppe
1100 Hooksett Rd.