Where the Buffalo Roam

By Bette Reynolds

Townshend, Vermont

East Hill Bison FarmThe dream that Carl Steiner and his wife Eloise fulfilled began in 1991 on top of East Hill. East Hill is just outside of the villages of Townshend and Harmonyville. It started on their 175 acre farm with three animals; two one-year old female bison from the Perry Farm in Charlotte, Vermont and a South Dakota bull bison called Henry. Commonly known as buffalo in the USA, the correct scientific name is bison. The herd has now grown to twenty-eight head and continues to grow each year. This year alone has produced six healthy calves. The gestation period for a female bison is 275 days. An average newborn calf weighs 30 pounds, while adults often average 1300 pounds. The diet of the bison is very important to the quality of their low fat, low cholesterol meat. To supplement pasture, Carl feeds them a large round bale of hay (equivalent to 16 normal bales of hay) every three days. He also feeds them dried corn on the cob that has been run through a hammer mill. Salt is also important in their diet.

I was fortunate enough this year on the second day of summer to witness Carl calling his prize bull Henry up close to the 4600 volt electric fence. Henry protectively escorted his herd with calves, so that I may photograph them.

Buffalo meat is available upon request at the Steiner residence. Also available ready-cooked from East Hill Bison Stock are buffalo burgers at the Townshend Dam Diner. Stephanie will cook your burger to perfection. All East Hill Bison meat is Vermont inspected. There are no chemical additives or antibiotic feeding produce involved in breeding bison for meat. There have also been no allergic reactions to eating buffalo meat Buffalo are no longer an endangered species and now number 400,000 in the United States.

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