Monday 15 October 2018

Moo-ve over for the Ballygarrett Macamore water buffalo burgers

Liam Byrne with one of his water buffaloes. Pic: Ramona Farrelly.
Liam Byrne with one of his water buffaloes. Pic: Ramona Farrelly.

Sara Gahan

Ballygarrett couple Liam and Sinead Byrne have introduced a new herd to North Wexford - water buffalo.

Liam had been looking for a new challenge on his farm and they went online and after some in dept research, they decided to introduce the water buffalo to the tasty delights of Macamore grassland.

Sinead revealed only two other farmers in Ireland rear water buffalo, one in Cork and one in Northern Ireland, so they travelled to Cork and bought four calves.

They added to the herd after hearing of a farmer in Wales who was selling a small herd of 16 water buffaloes.

'The buffaloes calved here at home and we now have a herd of 50,' said Liam.

Liam explained that the water buffalo ticked all the right boxes for a long-time farmer like himself, as they are easily manageable and do not need veterinary intervention.

They do not require fluke, worm or lice doses, unlike other domestically farmed animals and the meat contains no trace antibiotics.

'They are naturally organic and the meat has a great nutritional value,' said Liam. 'What attracted me was the fact the meat is high in protein and low in fat.'

He decided to call them the 'Macamore Buffalo', after a name local people have used for centuries to describe the type of soil that stretches from Gorey, down the east coast, and as far as Kilmuckridge.

Now the time has come for meat to be produced and two local restaurants have already signed up for the new taste.

You can now buy a Macamore Buffalo Burger in Seafield Resort Hotel, Ballymoney and the newly re-opened Chill restaurant, Gorey.

The burgers are served with delicious ginger beet relish, from another local food producer, Wild About in Monamolin.

Daniel Rahman, manager of The Village Bar and Grill in Seafield said the buffalo burger has been a hit. 'It is very popular among customers,' he said.

Liam and Sinead have applied for funding through the Wexford Local Development to help them distribute the meat to more local businesses. They are also setting up a website, so they can sell buffalo meat online.

'It is a growing market,' commented Liam, adding that the support from the locality 'has been nothing short of amazing.'

He now hopes that customers, who like him are looking for a new challenge, might give a Macamore Buffalo burger a go.

Gorey Guardian