12/21/2007 Email this article • Print this article Buckeye's where the buffalo roam
Bison meat available each Saturday
The thunderous sound of buffalo hooves has been seldom heard as deep into the Southwest as central Arizona, until Bryan and Mary Adams brought the shaggy beasts to Buckeye in 1998.
Their herd started out in late 1992 in Colorado, where they ran a drilling and blasting business. They accepted two heifer (female) calves and a bull calf from a bison rancher in exchange for blasting out the basement space for a house under construction.
When the Adamses brought their drilling and blasting business to Buckeye in 1998, they brought their bison with them. Today, the Adamses' Arizona Buffalo Co. herd numbers around 300 head.
The bison are grown mostly for meat, but the Adamses also make use of the hides, horns and virtually every other part of the animal. The meat is sold to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday at 1502 S. 203rd Ave.
The store offers a variety of bison products, from steaks and ground meat to jerky and snack sticks. The store also offers the Great American Buffalo Cookbook, which offers a variety of recipes with bison as the prime ingredient. One tip: grill steaks or burgers on the rare side, as well-done bison meat tends to dry out, because it is so lean.
"We do strive for all-natural products," marketing director Kristen McGuire said. "We're not using any stimulants or hormones, which is key for most people."
Although many of the bison herded domestically in North America have some cross breeding with cattle, "ours are strictly buffalo," McGuire said. "We want to keep a pure buffalo herd, because it's a very lean meat and we don't want to cross-breed with cattle, which would increase the fat. These are 100 percent buffalo."
Bison meat is a leaner, healthier alternative to beef, pork and even chicken, figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. One hundred grams, or about 3.5 ounces, of bison meat typically has only 2.42 grams of fat versus 9.28 grams for beef, 9.66 grams for pork and 7.41 grams for skinless chicken. The same quantity of bison has fewer calories, too: 143 calories versus 211 for beef, 212 for pork and 190 for skinless chicken. Cholesterol also is lower, at 82 grams per serving versus 86 for beef and pork and 89 for skinless chicken.
The care and feeding of bison are similar to that for cattle. Bison, as do cattle, require the occasional immunizations for the juveniles. The bison herd most often grazes on the grasses growing on the ranch, although that diet occasionally is supplemented with hay.
"They're much larger and more aggressive than cattle, of course," McGuire said. They're typically herded with a larger tractor rather than by cowboys on horseback; the latter approach would be too risky. Both sexes of bison develop horns and aren't timid about using them, McGuire noted.
The retail part of the business is organized as Adams Natural Meats, a place where buyers can not only find "America's original meat," but also such exotics as ostrich and rattlesnake meat.
"If it's grown for sale by somebody, we can probably get it for you," marketing director Kristen McGuire said of the exotic meats offered through Adams Natural Meats.
For information, call 623-386-1314.
Daniel Burnette can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].