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Bison vs. Beef: Why an Elora farmer says bison is the meat to beat

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A farmer in Elora is carving out a niche, serving up bison to meat lovers across Waterloo Region.

Bison is similar to beef in look and taste but experts believe it can be a healthier alternative.

Jeremy Bowman, from Black Powder Bison Company, is a former pig and cattle farmer. He said he grew up on the farm and has been in the farming industry his entire life.

Bowman said the idea to serve up bison came to him unexpectedly.

“I randomly was driving and saw a bison herd and it peaked my interest,” Bowman told CTV News. “We decided to go for it.”

Black Powder Bison Company was established in 2017. On the farm they manage two herds of bison on more than 50 acres of property with product available for sale on-site every Saturday.

“The amount of new customers that are interested in bison is almost a weekly event,” he said.

Bowman has two grass-fed bison set to hit the market this month, bringing bison burgers, steak, brisket and ribs to more dinner tables across the region.

“I can wake up in the morning and have my cup of coffee and look out in my field and watch my bison grazing and it’s a little like being in Montana,” Bowman said.

Bison at Black Powder Bison Company seen on Sept. 20, 2023. (CTV News/Tyler Kelaher)

WHY BISON?

Bison is considered a versatile meat.

Kirstie Herbstreit, chef and co-owner for the Culinary Studio, believes bison is just as versatile as beef – but even better.

“It is a little bit leaner and maybe a touch stronger in flavour,” said Herbstreit.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Nishta Saxena, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Vibrant Nutrition said what really sets bison apart from beef are the health benefits.

“One of the main differences between bison and beef, it really comes down to the fat and the total calories,” Saxena said.

According to the wellness outlet, a 4 oz serving of bison has nearly 25 per cent fewer calories than beef. It also has half the saturated fat and more protein.

Bison is a meal that’s becoming more accessible for Ontarians.

“I think there is becoming more of an understanding for a lot of people that wouldn’t have ever expected that they could ever buy bison at a butcher shop or at a grocery store. Ten years ago, you probably couldn’t have,” said Saxena.

This story is part of CTV's Fields to Forks series. You can read and watch more here. 

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