Santa Barbara Business Reports By Ray Estrada
Entrepreneur Wants Buffaloes to Roam on Central Coast
Serial entrepreneur Lori Ann David has one of the most unique enterprises on the South Coast that is poised to grow into an even more unique venture.
For the past few months, the Santa Barbara resident has been selling organic bison meat at the Farmers Market through her company, Aurora Farms. The final frozen cuts were flying out of her ice chests mostly to buyers who have tried buffalo meat before. A pound of ground meat went for $11.
Buffalo meat has no fat and is considered by some cardiologists to be the best source of protein. Some bison fans eat the meat raw, but preparation instructions call for it never to be cooked very long because it will dry out.
“I’ve always been a farmer or a rancher,” David said in an interview. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago, I raised cattle on Lopez Island,” which is north of Seattle, she said.
After being raised on a farm in the Garden State, David said she developed strong beliefs in being one with the earth, land, food, community and “having the ability to give back.” Now, the single mother of two teenagers said she also has a commitment to thinking about “mind, body and spirit.”
These beliefs lead David to her concept to develop and “agricultural institute,” which would consist of organic, sustainable food products, workshops in farming, advice on business plans for raising livestock from mentor farmers, artists in residence and a “mind-body healing center.”
David said she soon hopes lease or buy Central Coast grazing land for a bison herd somewhere between Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, but eventually find property for the agriculture institute. She now raises 75 head of bison on northern California and British Columbia ranches. It is processed in Reno, Paso Robles and Santa Paula and shipped fresh and frozen to various areas. Ordering information can be found at HERE.
The thinking behind all this comes from the philosophy that brings together the need for food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs, said David, who is of Sicilian descent. These are part of the oneness of earth, land, water, sustenance and community, she said.
Native Americans considered the buffalo as a complete source of food, clothing and shelter. They revered the animal when thousands roamed the Plains until Europeans almost hunted the species to extinction.
Along with ranching, David brings a full complement of activities that qualify her as a Renaissance woman: She’s an artist who designed the mosaic design at the new Santa Barbara Airport Terminal; she is a metal sculptor; she runs a landscaping business; she is an algae aqua-culturist; she teaches business classes for Women’s Economic Ventures; and she holds spiritual yoga retreats; she is a home interior designer; and, of course, she’s a member of the National Bison Association.
Even though David lost her home in the last Santa Barbara wildfire, but hasn’t slowed down in her activities. Fans will see her after Saturday at the Farmer Market on Aug. 5 and Sept. 1.
The Santa Barbara chapter of SCORE, a group of volunteer counselors, will offer a presentation on social media marketing at 6 p.m. July 25 at the University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $30 per person. To register in advance, call (805) 563-0084 or visit www.sbscore.org.
Speakers include: Amber Wallace, UCSB lecturer, and owner of Dowitcher Designs, a web design company, who will discuss “Ten Simple Steps for Social Media Marketing Success;”
Vic Cole, owner of his own consulting firm, who will talk about, “How You Can Use The Marketing Techniques Of The Big Boys;” and Bob Vitamante, consultant for national corporations and an executive coach, who will discuss “How You Can Find a Mentor Who Will Help You Build Your Business Over The Long Term.”