The best buffalo producers
by Kirsty Page | 19 April 2011 | 1 commentTweet
Find out why buffalo is the new kid on the block you should all be keeping an eye out for.
Herds of buffalo aren’t normally what you see out in the British countryside, but these mighty beasts are making waves in the food world.
Most of the world’s buffalo reside in Asia, but a handful of farms up and down the UK are rearing these animals and producing first class meat, cheese, milk and yoghurts.
So who is producing all this fantastic buffalo and where are they?
Up on Clentrie farm in Auchertool, West Fife, water buffalo have been roaming the fields since 2005. Originally specialising in Aberdeen Angus, the farm started off serving top quality beef to local customers. Seeing as there were already a lot of beef producers in Scotland, Puddledub decided to try something new and introduced a herd of buffalo.
Steven Mitchell of Puddledub believes that the reason for buffalo’s excellent flavour is that they have not been subjected to modern intensive farming practices, existing as they have done for thousands of years.
Puddledub supply to farmer’s markets around Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as selling online.
Alham Wood Organics
For 14 years, buffalo have been residing at Alham Wood Organics in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. After importing their buffalo from Romania, they began experimenting with the milk, developing cheeses that they affectionately named after members of the herd.
Alham Wood Organics now have an extensive range of cheeses and yoghurts as well as cuts of buffalo meat that can be substituted for beef in recipes. If using buffalo meat instead of beef, reduce the cooking time slightly as it is a leaner meat and cooks faster.
Alham Wood’s buffalo is available to buy direct from the farm and at many farmers’ markets across London.
Manor Farm, Broughton
Manor farm lies just above the Test Valley in South-West Hampshire and has been fully organic since 2009.
The 250 strong herd is made up of Romanian and Italian stock from animals that were imported into the UK 10-15 years ago. The buffalo grow naturally and slowly, improving the taste and are hung on the bone to enhance both taste and texture.
You can find Manor farm buffalo at Winchester, Andover and Romsey farmers’ markets as well at Sunnyfields Organics, Totton and Westview stores in Broughton. Their website has several recipes for cooking with buffalo and a handy guide to all the different cuts of meat.
Laverstoke Park Farm
Alongside pigs, cattle, sheep, poultry and wild boar, Laverstoke Park Farm have the largest herd of buffalo in Europe with over 2,500 water buffalo, originally imported from Romania.
As well as producing buffalo meat, Laverstoke Park Farm produces mozzarella having enlisted the help of some of Italy’s finest mozzarella specialists. Nothing is added to lengthen the shelf life, it is simply made with buffalo milk fresh from the dairy. Their buffalo milk is available to buy at selected Waitrose and Sainsbury’s stores.
How to eat it
Buffalo meat is often described as ‘old fashioned beef’ due to its rich, beefy flavour. It is very lean, typically containing half the fat of beef and 40-60% less cholesterol. Buffalos are also prized for their creamy milk which is often used to make mozzarella and can be drunk by many allergy sufferers due to the absence of the A2 beta protein.
Because it is a leaner meat, it should be cooked for less time than beef and benefits from gentler cooking methods. If you like the sound of it, why not give Bill Granger’s buffalo rendang a go? Its fresh flavours and subtle spices create a mouth watering dish and is great served with rice and steamed greens.