Ask Alan Rousseau why he chose to become a rancher, and he’ll tell you that he wanted his children to be raised on a ranch where they could enjoy the outdoors. In talking to Alan for only a few minutes it becomes clear that it’s also because Alan is incredibly passionate about his meat.
He is quick to point out the health benefits of eating buffalo – that it has much lower fat and cholesterol, and higher protein than beef. Alan says that his “purpose in life is to sell a good, healthy food source”.
Alan is so well versed on his meat and its positive health effects that it’s hard to keep up with him when he’s talking about it. He can tell you the percentage of fat that buffalo has in comparison to beef, how much protein each type of meat has, and how important it is to eat grass-fed meat instead of grain-fed.
It’s not only buffalo that Alan is committed to, but he and his business partner, Loretta Spahmer, also raise yak, beef, elk, chicken, turkey, and other exotic meats at Pine Mountain Ranch in Bend, Oregon.
All of Alan’s animals are pastured. This allows the animals to eat what is natural to them. Alan says that the “most important thing is that people realize what they’re getting.” One of the problems with chicken, according to Alan, is that it is usually treated with antibiotics. “Chicken contains more antibiotics than any other meat in the store”, and the reason the antibiotics are used is because they are eating grain, which isn’t a natural diet for chickens.
One of the things that Alan appreciates most about his meat is that when people eat it they tell him “they are tasting their food again”. Customers have also told him that they are starting to enjoy cooking and sitting down for a meal.
Some of Pine Mountain Ranch’s future goals are to reopen their local farmers’ market, to build an Oregon Department of Agriculture approved meat processing plant, and to raise Rocky Mountain Elk on Pine Mountain Ranch.
Oh, and Alan’s favorite food? Buffalo.
Pine Mountain Ranch’s products can be found in the Portland area at Hollywood Farmers’ Market, as well other area farmers’ markets.