On Connecticut Farm, Visitors Enjoy Bison—in More Ways Than One

News / FBNews January 24, 2017

When people in Brooklyn, Connecticut, heard about the Tanner family’s five new bison, they had to see for themselves. As more people came from further away to check the bison out, Debbi Tanner realized her husband’s elementary school dream of owning bison was an agri-tourism opportunity for the family.

The Tanners started with just five bison in 1990, but today their herd numbers nearly 100. In addition to cows and a few bulls used for breeding, there are several young bulls and heifers. 

When school groups or weekend visitors from the public come to Creamery Brook Bison farm, they’re treated to a narrated wagon tour that strongly reflects Tanner’s background as an educator.

Credit: Creamery Brook Bison   
We use rotational grazing. While the animals are fenced in, they have plenty of space to roam as they’d like. They only time the animals get grain is when the tour wagon comes around, so they’re always very happy to see visitors. They come right up to the fence.
—  Debbi Tanner, Creamery Brook Bison

As part of their visit, the younger children take turns making butter while the older kids crank out some ice cream. Birthday parties also bring children to the farm by the dozens. In addition to the wagon ride and the butter- or ice cream-making, party guests may get a catered lunch of bison burgers, chips, soda and ice cream.

Early on, the Tanners were asked frequently whether they sold the highly nutritional meat the animals provided, which prompted them to start selling bison meat sourced off the farm. The growth of their herd allows them to now offer a variety of bison meat options—from a bison Philly cheese steak to a tenderloin roast to sausage—from their own animals. The Creamery Brook Bison store is accessible online or on-farm (open Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment). The Tanners also sell their meat at a handful of fairs and festivals.

While it’s the bison people come to Creamery Brook Bison to enjoy—in more ways than one—the Tanner’s farm is also home to a peacock, emu, pony and dairy cows.

This October, the Tanners hosted a “Walktober Event,” during which visitors will took easy, guided 1/2 mile walks through the bison field and the handling facilities and finish with a sample of bison wild rice and barley soup. Throughout the fall, the Tanners also offer a pumpkin patch and pumpkin decorating. On various weekends, farm visitors can have a bison burger lunch with ice cream for dessert.

Debbi Tanner is a member of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. In addition, she serves as chair of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.

You can find Creamery Brook Bison online at http://www.creamerybrookbison.info/ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CreameryBrookBison/.

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