Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hunting for Good Food and Roaming Bison

I updated that menu bar up there. See that? The tab that says, "Hunting for Good Food"? I had a few people contact me about where I find good food in Ontario. Well, I've lived in almost every province in Canada so I've developed a system of sorts to help me find good food no matter where I live. I've tried to condense that information in that page. I hope you find it useful.

These bison roamed in herds like they would in the wild. When we harvested one, we would drive for a long while, looking for the herd and then shoot it. No stress to the animals, instant and humane. 

Thank you, Dr. Harris, for thinking my bison comment worthy of a whole post on your illustrious blog, Archevore. I thought I'd post a few more pictures of one of the bisons we butchered. If you're squeamish, check out now. Otherwise, marvel at what a beast, descended from wild bison, looks like when the animal has had thousands of acres of native prairie grasslands to forage on and has lived a species appropriate life, roaming and carrying about as a bison should. For anyone thinking that wild, grass-fed meat has little fat, I present the following:

 Beautiful gut pile. See how healthy, pink and vital the tissues are?
 Rumen. This is where the bacteria are fed with grass, where the magic happens. In grain fed cattle, the rumen is often red and badly inflamed. You can see how healthy this rumen looks. The green stuff is grass being broken down.
Beautiful kidney and leaf lard.
A cooler full of grass fed bison, beef, lamb and an antelope we hunted. Fat-o-rama.


  1. The fat looks like sunshine! Some might find these pictures graphic, but I find them beautiful. It's important to honor the source of our food and see it as a whole.

  2. Thanks, Carlitta. I find it beautiful too. I love the miraculous little details in nature.

  3. That's awesome. There's nothing like being connected to your food and honoring it.

  4. Thanks for this post and your blog, Tara!

    Pete B
    Grass Based Health

  5. Agreed, Robin!

    Pete, I'm so excited by your blog. I can't wait to dig into this weekend! Thank you.

  6. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.

  7. "You're already a hunter, you may just not know it yet."

    Absolutely! Love this statement from your Hunting for Good Food page.

  8. Hi Tara,

    I've discovered your blog via Dr. Harris' post and couldn't help but notice the Kraft Dinner post, mention of maroon, and "marauder" in the footnote about how to get the KD. Mac is my alma mater! I'd love to know where you get your dairy (and probably a million other things). I'm a Chiropractor working out of Element Crossfit (in Mississauga). We're always looking for new and great sources of locally raised meat for ourselves (and sometimes our members too).

    Thanks for all the gorgeous photos and info on your blog!

  9. Thanks, against the grain, I love that you love it :)

    Adam, my husband went to med school at Mac. Small world, huh? Maybe we could have an alma matter party - KD for one and all!! Or not.

    I would love to tell you where I get my milk, but you know how these things are. Raw dairy is an issue of great secrecy around these here parts. It definitely isn't something you would share with members of your box. Most farmers are quite cautious about memberships to cow shares and ask that the information isn't shared. So, how do you find out? Perhaps we'll meet some day in a back alley,or you could check out the Real Milk site.

    Michael Schmidt has a milk school going where he educates farmers on how they can have their own raw milk dairy. There would be some good leads there. Check out my page, Hunting for Good Food, if you get a chance. There should be something useful for you in there.

  10. And not just one, but two posts about you from Dr. Harris! I lost touch with your blog for a while, but I am so glad to have found you again! BTW, I made offal sausage, with hearts and kidney and liver, like we talked about late last year. It is so good! I baby-sit my great-niece, who is 10 months old, and she loves it. :-)

  11. Patty, I'm so glad you're here! I don't know how I lost you in the mayhem of the blogosphere, but you are now firmly implanted in my Google Reader so I don't lose your site again. I wish I could see that little one munching on some offal sausage. How cool is that!

    Well, Dr. Harris' posts are really just about some pictures from stuff I witnessed, not really about me, but yah, it's pretty sweet all the same. :)

  12. Here via Archevore (PaNu). Thanks for posting these photos. What is most interesting to me -- someone who only comes into contact with meat at markets-- is how YELLOW the fat is.

    Makes me think I have probably never eaten "real" fat in my life...

    The fact that the fat is yellow on their proper diet also make me think of pink flamingos: their red / pink color is not from their genes but comes entirely from the plankton they eat. No plankton, no pink in the flamingo.

  13. Astute observation and one I've made too. The same holds true for poultry fat and egg yolks. My chicken skin is almost orange. Our animals are fed outside, rotated on quick growing grasses. Even in winter, up here on the frozen tundra, the animals are outside.

    Hay and silage are still classified as grass, which they are, but not exactly alive grass. Maybe it's the heavy feeding of these things which reduces the animals exposure to both fast growing grasses and the sunshine needed to transform those grasses into vitamin A (and D and K). I also know that the farmers I have worked with rotate their pastures continuously so the cattle are eating the sweetest grasses which can be measured using BRIX. The sugar feeds the bacteria in the rumen. The cow eats the bacteria. My one farmer is always saying "cows aren't vegetarians" because they don't actually eat the grass, they're only feeding the little critters in their guts. The BRIX value, then, is a measurement that allows the farmer to look at the quality of his pastures which in turn greatly improves the quality and the quantity of the fat. But I digress..

    The science behind grass based farming is so involved and extensive. A good place to start, if you're interested, is The Stockman Grass Farmer. Without exception, all of my farmers consider themselves "grass farmers".

    Lamb doesn't have yellow fat, but they also have massive, wooly coats with lanolin that I'm sure plays some other role I'm not privy too.

    I love the story about the flamingos. I'm going to tell my kids that this morning at breakfast. :)

  14. Hi Tara,

    Found your blog after reading your comments on Kurt's blog. Looking forward to reading through your past posts. Sounds like you live in Ontario, although I remember reading on one of your posts that you move quite often. I live in the Niagara area and my local source for grass fed animal product recently went out of business. Do you have any you recommend in this area, or, know of a site that lists sellers of naturally grass fed beef, etc.

  15. Hi Geoff,
    You can check out your the static page, Hunting for Good Food, above. I'm quite sure that Niagara has a WAPF chapter. As for someone specific, I don't feel that I can recommend anyone right now. In the four years we've been here, we've bought about 8 whole beef animals. Some were o.k., some were mediocre, some just broke my heart.

    Check out the resources I outlined in that page and get back to me if you have further questions.


  16. Hi Tara,

    I had sent you a note as per the comments in your previous blog post, but your new "Hunting for Good Food" page is probably the better answer to my questions :)

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and strategies.


  17. HI Mark,

    I responded to your other note too.

    You're very welcome!


  18. I am the almighty matriarch...madly in love with my husband...and my incredibly talented daughters...passionate about working...honour the land, the animals, the people...I like good food, mud under my fingernails, and lifting heavy things.

    You are the future, Tara!
    Great blog, fantastic pictures, thank you!


  19. Thanks for making my day, Arndt! :)

  20. Hi Tara,

    I found you through Kurt Harris' blog, thank heavens. I read all of your posts yesterday and watched the video from Bountiful Africa this morning. So excellent. The concept of a “holisticgoal” lends both a powerful word and some much-needed confirmation to my own decision-making and thought processes, and the ecological message of the video dovetails with the pastoral diet that you, Kurt Harris, Peter, and some other islands of lucidity recommend for health reasons. And I also want you to know you are truly appreciated and understood.

    I'm presently a 21-year-old pre-MD,ND student down south at Oregon State University and I have long been on a quest for the ideal human diet. This was/is probably spurred most of all by my own health problems: chronic migraine and hyperlaxity of connective tissues. I devoured what sources of information I could find, but so many of them were at odds with each other and the general nonconsensus drove me up the wall for the longest time. Finally, reading all of PaNu (now Archevore) was what convinced me that our ancestors were more or less on. Currently, I am just on fire in terms of my reading and thoughts and actions on the subject (for example, I'm also working on reading other blogs like Hyperlipid from beginning to end!) I must say it is a tremendous pleasure to find your blog and see you and your family embracing the pastoral lifestyle and emulating the hunter-gatherer diet without compromises! We are all so blessed!

    There is a source you may be unfamiliar with that I would recommend highly to you: the writings of Tom Brown, Jr. He’s written sixteen books and I would offer to lend them to you but you live sort of far away... The best starting point is The Tracker. After that, his other books are the mind-blowing true stories from his own experience, some field guides, and other books about the Native American spirituality and philosophy that he espouses. I sense that reading them could help you and/or your family to connect even more with nature.

    Also, the book Body By Science (by Doug McGuff and John Little) is to exercise what the Archevore blog is to nutrition (it draws a clear line between science and mythology). I’m certain that you and your family would love it and benefit tremendously, and that your husband, genetic specimen that he is, would become even more ripped, (if that’s possible) in less time, with much greater safety and metabolic advantages. Imagine pairing a Fred Flintstone diet with a George Jetson workout! That’s precisely what I do, and I love it. You like lifting heavy things? Perfect. Imagine optimizing your training with advice from the brightest mind in exercise science (Doug McGuff) and turning it into a meditation at the same time. Personally, I enjoy it to no end. The book is excellent for the theory behind the protocol, but the demonstration videos from a separate but similar source, Renaissance Exercise, (with Al Coleman) are exemplary. He’s the Zen master of high-intensity slow-motion low-volume low-frequency training (kind of a mouthful, I know). Well, those are my recommendations. So glad to be able to share sources with you!

    Finally, I might add that it is really a terrible shame you weren't born twenty years later in Oregon (or I twenty earlier in Ontario!). Someday I hope to marry a more proximate version of you! Nevertheless, a positive consequence of modern technology is that I can still send my love along the wire to someone I will likely never meet yet still resonate with deeply!

    By the way, don’t you have a daughter about my age…? :)



    P.S. Making some ghee today, and a great big bison roast tomorrow!

  21. Hi John,

    Thank you very much for your kind words. Another MD to hit the world with a slant on the overall being instead of treating disease - the world rejoices! Hurray!

    Thank you for your recommendations, the writings sound very interesting. I'll definitely check them out.

    I have experimented with Body By Science in the past. Right now, we are leaning towards more of a MovNat type of training/movement. We are pretty excited by it. Pretty cool stuff, that moving the way we were meant to.

    Enjoy your ghee and bison. Hyperlipid is a genius!