4 minute read





ERIN When Karen Mansfield was traveling through parts of southeast Asia almost a decade ago, she couldn’t help but notice all the water buffalo dotting the landscape. These majestic beasts, domesticated three thousand years earlier than cattle, were raised and bred on the other side of the world for draft power, milk products, and meat. Fast forward to today, and Karen – along with Andy Fraser – can be found raising and breeding their own small herd of water buffalo on their ninetyseven acre farm, Majestic Water Buffalo, outside the town of Erin.

‘Our breed of water buffalo actually has its roots in Italy,’ Karen tells me as she feeds a two-year-old cow an apple at the farm. ‘They’re called Italian Mediterranean Buffalo and most

commonly raised and bred for their milk – which is used to make buffalo mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, and more.’ She continues: ‘While we do sell buffalo dairy products at our farm store [including spectacular water buffalo ice cream], we raise and breed our herd for meat.’ Roasts. Ribeye and sirloin steaks. Ground meat. Tenderloin medallions. The cuts are diverse and similar in taste to beef – although slightly sweeter. ‘You can substitute buffalo meat for beef in any recipe,' Karen assures me. 'And what’s so great is that it’s lean, low in fat and cholesterol, and easy to digest.’

Tempted to give it a try? Swing by the farm shop (Fri-Sun 10-5 or by appt); stop by the Elora, Guelph, and Rockwood farmers’ markets; visit Fraberts (Fergus), Top Market Family Farms (Preston), and more; or order online at majesticwaterbuffalo.ca.

Like so many other remarkable farms and food businesses that dot Guelph and Wellington County, Majestic Water Buffalo is a partner of Taste Real – a County of Wellington program that promotes local food and facilitates valuable connections among food businesses, consumers, craftspeople, and farmers alike. That includes farmers like Karen Mansfield

and Andy Fraser, whose enterprise brings unique local food to our lives. Learn more at majesticwaterbuffalo.ca and tastereal.ca




2-4 water buffalo short ribs


¼ cup canola oil 1 tbsp Montreal steak spice 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tbsp kosher salt ½ tsp ground pepper


2 cups beef stock ½ cup BBQ sauce ¼ cup maple syrup 2 tbsp tomato paste 5 sprigs fresh thyme 4 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 tbsp kosher salt ½ tsp fresh ground pepper 1 cup red wine (Ontario Pinot Noir) 3 carrots (chopped) 2 medium onions (chopped) 3 stalks celery (chopped) 1 head of garlic salt & pepper to taste


Serves 3-4 people (½ hr prep/ 4-6 hrs cook time) 1. Place rub all over meat. In hot pan, sear off all sides of each rib until it has nice caramelization or color. 2. Mix all liquids & seasonings (BBQ sauce, syrup, paste & wine) together. Whisk until smooth. 3. Place all veg (onion, carrots, celery, garlic) into large crock pot, roasting pan, or dutch oven. 4. Lay seared short ribs on top (bone resting on the veg). Add fresh herbs around it. Liquid should just cover ribs. If not, add a touch more stock or water. 5. Place lid on or top with foil to seal. 6. Place in 300F oven for 6-8 hours or, if it’s an electric crock, start on high for an hour then switch to low for rest of the time.

Pull meat out after allotted time and make sure it’s ready to fall off the bone. Strain the braising liquid and place it in a pot and back on the heat to simmer. Let it reduce for about half an hour, keeping the ribs aside, covered and warm. As the liquid is reducing, take a ladle and slowly skim top of the sauce to remove any grease. It may take a few times.Then, mix 3 tbsp of cornstarch and 3 tbsp cold water to make a little slurry. Add to simmering liquid and whisk. It will thicken the sauce. Taste and serve with your favorite vegetables and starch –pouring some of the jus over top.


1. Small-town charm and incredible baking await at Holtom’s Bakery in beautiful downtown Erin

2. Located just outside of Guelph,

Mosborough Country Market’s bakery is famous for pies, buns and tarts 3. Magpie’s Bakery in downtown Mount Forest offers gourmet doughnuts that are a must-try 4. For the most wonderful sourdough bread, check out the Elora Bread Trading

Company along the downtown strip in


5. Harriston Bakery is a local favourite for bread, muffins, pies, doughnuts and more

6. Thatcher Farms’ Butcher Shop and

Bakery serve up sausage rolls, tarts and cookies alongside a vast assortment of local foods

7. Looking for amazing butter tarts, pies and desserts? Then head to Jess For You Café and Baked Goods in Hillsburgh 8. Pick up incredible pies and butter tarts at

Misty Meadows Country Market in Conn 9. Fergie’s Fine Foods in downtown Fergus features tasty take-home meals, desserts and baked goods 10. HomeStyle Flavours in Teviotdale is famous for pies, preserves, delicious sandwiches and more