At the Farmers' Market: Buffa… er… Bison

Don't call it buffalo. Buffaloes don't roam this continent, Brewster M. Higley VI notwithstanding. That lean, iron-rich meat you're about to chow down on is bison, and if you've been shopping at the Long Beach Southeast farmers' market in the Alamitos Bay Marina, it's grass-fed, humanely-raised California bison from Lindner Bison.

Legions of Angelenos buy Lindner bison at the big markets in Santa Monica, Hollywood and Torrance; Alamitos Bay is the southernmost market they attend (pleas to make it to Irvine, Laguna Hills or Costa Mesa were met with polite smiles).

Calling this meat a “local” product would be a stretch; the bison are raised in an environment more conducive to their happiness, in the northeast corner of California, ten hours' drive away. Why drive so far south? Because, Ken Lindner explains, the year-round markets are here. Even the Bay Area, he says, does not have as many year-round markets as we do. (Take that, San Franciscans!)

Ken's advice is to cook the meat low and slow after an initial sear; since bison is a much leaner, much less marbled meat than beef, high-heat cooking tends to dry it out more than its bovine equivalent.

Prices are reasonable for farmers' market meat (meaning cheaper than Whole Foods, but more expensive than a butcher shop); anywhere from $8 to $20 a pound, depending on cut and availability.

Lindner Bison is at the Long Beach Southeast farmers' market, Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Marina Drive just south of Second Street.

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