Yak, Buffalo, Alpaca – Oh My!

Yaks_560Last night I cooked braised Yak shanks… so tender and mild, perfectly sauced in the stock I made last week from Buffalo bones.

This morning Robin served homemade garlic-ginger-basil sausages made from Alpaca ground paleo style (with heart and liver added to the muscle meat).

Tomorrow I’m going to try Yak bologna.

All of these products come from grass-fed, grass-finished, humanely raised animals from Pine Mountain Ranch in Bend, Oregon. We found these foods (and many others – lamb, pork, and poultry) at the Hillsdale Farmers market in southwest Portland, where we met − farmer Alan Rousseau, his wife Loretta Spahmer and their coworker Lindsay.

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Their slogan is “Natural Grown on Grass Alone.” We went in person to see.

Alan gave us the grand tour of the huge grassy paddocks, where we met the bison and yaks. Alan talked about tending the soil first. Not overgrazing. Quietly and caringly he’s doing the kind of manual grassland management that Allan Savory is spreading the word about, and Joel Salatin practices at Polyface Farms (The Straight Poop on Sustainable Farming, episode 211).

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We learned that Alan’s bison have “weeded out” the invasive plants (the real weeds). Invasive plant seeds don’t propagate after going through the bison − but the native grasses do. These animals were and still are an integral part of the ecosystem, contributing to the health of the whole landscape.

And that’s just a glance at the home grown, deep wisdom Alan shared with us. Look forward to an engaging, and at times surprising, Peak Moment show. [pmrbuffalo.com]

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