This two hundred and forty acre farm in Readington Township is home to approximately 150 Bison and is the only one of its kind here in New Jersey. Owner, Erick Doyle, and his family bought the state owned land at auction in 1995.
I asked Erick how he learned to be a Bison farmer. His answer: “On the job training.” His family had previously owned a small farm (approximately 100 acres) where they raised some cattle. When they decided to buy the present property, it was time to do some fast learning on how to raise this new breed of bovine. His first Bison Farm “starter kit” as Erick called it, consisted of 12 cows and one bull. When I asked about their temperament, he said “They’re wild animals. We try not to get too close to them. When we need to handle them, we start days in advance.” They manage the animals through a series of pens which are designed for the round up.
Obviously, I am not a vegetarian, but I am selective in the meat I eat and make it a point to buy from farmers who believe in humanly raising their animals. Purchasing grass fed, free range meat and poultry is my goal. And, its not always easy to find. The Readington River Buffalo Company sells their meat on premises in their little red store. All product is frozen. They also sell at the Montclair Farmer’s Market as well as the Flemington Farmer’s Market, but as we speak, the farm is launching a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture program which will probably do away with the need for their retail store. The way a CSA works is a farmer offers consumers “shares” of their product. The Readington River Buffalo Company will charge $750 for six packages of Bison meat. This is a 10% discount from the retail value of the meat.
We came home with Bison hotdogs, sausage, Rib Eye steaks and hamburgers, oh, and ravioli. We grilled the Rib Eyes the other night. I was expecting a gamey taste, but this is not the case at all. One tip I did learn from a certain Food Network chef recently, is to not trust lean meats too long on the grill. The time it would normally take to grill a regular fat marbled, steak on the grill, is not the same when it comes to Bison.
And, I must add this meat is not cheap. The retail price of the Rib Eye steak was $20.99 per pound, but the way I look at it, a pricey cut of quality meat helps the Man and I remember portion control. Splitting a steak, rather than scarfing down a whole one, is better for my wallet and my wasteline.
If you have the mind to try some Bison, don’t delay. Take a ride to the Readington River Buffalo Company as soon as you can. It’s a gorgeous drive with plenty of road side produce stands and hand written signs for Fresh Eggs. For more information about their CSA, you can contact them by phone.
Readington River Buffalo Company, LLC
937 County Route 523
Flemington, NJ 08822
Farm Photos courtesy of Chantale Taurozzi of ChanTzi Photography.
So, what is the difference between a Bison and a Buffalo? Interested? check this great explanation.
Deborah Smith is the Founder and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com. Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the owner of Parents With Nannies, Inc. which operates a network of nanny employment websites established in 1999. In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker. You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blog www.DeborahLSmith.com