20 Jun 2024

Real Maine Member Spotlight: Maine Water Buffalo Co.

Real Maine / About Us / Blog / Maine Products / Cheese / Real Maine Member Spotlight: Maine Water Buffalo Co.
Credit: Candid Exposure

You may have known that Maine has cow, goat, and sheep dairies, but did you know there is a farm in our state that is a water buffalo dairy? The Maine Water Buffalo Co. in Appleton raises the animals, known throughout the world for their milk and meat. Along with many other Real Maine members, you can find Maine Water Buffalo Co. at a local farmers market this summer (they will be in Belfast) or you can visit them on Open Farm Day on July 28. We talked with owner Jessica Farrar to learn more.

You are unique, as you’re the only working farm of your kind in Maine. What makes water buffalo unique?

So many things! Water buffalo are similar to cattle, but also very, very different. The animals themselves are intelligent and curious; each has their own personality, making them quite a challenge at times but also very rewarding to work with. They get attached to their person or people, and I count it as an honor to be trusted by my herd. 

What qualities do water buffalo dairy and meat have? Do many other places in the world use them for cuisine?

Water buffalo meat is very lean and heart-healthy, with higher protein and lower cholesterol than beef. The taste is similar to a high-end beef. Water buffalo milk composition makes it nutritiously superior milk over many domesticated animals, with a higher protein, higher calcium, and higher butterfat and it is highly digestible for individuals with lactose-intolerance issues. Water buffalo meat and milk are used all over the world. In fact, water buffalo milk makes up around 13 percent of the world’s dairy consumption. It is widely used in India and Pakistan, and of course, Italy is famous for using buffalo milk for their buffalo mozzarella. 

You offer tours of your farm and tastings. What do you hear your visitors say they have learned?

Most people leave completely amazed at the friendliness of the water buffalo after having their first face-to-face interaction with our herd. The tastings are a great way for visitors to sample several cheeses, yogurt, gelato, and even the smoked meats from the buffalo and decide on their favorites. Visitors are always surprised at the creaminess and delicious flavor of the dairy. 

Why are events like Open Farm Day important for your farm to participate in?

On-farm events are a great way to showcase not only our farm’s products but also the animals. They are why I farm, so they are the real stars. It also lets folks see firsthand where their food comes from and who the farmers behind the products are. 

Real Maine is the state’s official agriculture and agritourism promotions program. From cut flowers to local berries to ice cream sundaes, plan your agricultural experience with Real Maine. Visit www.RealMaine.com to connect to farms, food, and agriculture throughout Maine.