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‘Bison Dog’ adds new flavor to Minnesota State Fair

RIVER FALLS, Wis. — The Minnesota State Fair offers a variety of foods for visitors to try, with new flavors every year. This year, fairgoers can get a taste of regionally raised bison.

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Food vendor Bruce Chesin, who runs the stand Chicago Dogs, is now offering a “Bison Dog,” which comes from Gehl’s Buffalo Hill Ranch just east of River Falls.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Chesin said.

He was looking for a different type of hot dog to add to his stand’s offerings.

“I thought about doing a bison dog, and so I started looking around to see where I could get them, and I ran into the Gehl’s Buffalo Hill Ranch.”

As he did more research, Chesin found that bison meat is one of the leanest red meats available.

“It’s very lean. There’s very little fat in it. It’s quite tasty, and it’s 100 percent bison they’re using,” Chesin said.

Chesin has been conscious of health issues at his stand.

A few years ago, he introduced a gluten-free hot dog bun, which he says is so popular that some people will stop by just for the bun so they don’t have to eat meat from other stands without bread.

The Bison Dog fits well with Chesin’s efforts to provide healthy foods to an increasingly health-conscious crowd, Chesin said.

He bought about 300 pounds of Bison Dogs for the fair, and he hopes it will be enough.

The fair isn’t the only place he’s selling the dogs.

“I have a small hot dog shop in Stillwater, and we’ve been selling them there, and the response I’ve been getting, it’s all been incredibly positive,” he said.

Chicago Dogs has been at the Minnesota State Fair for 16 years.

According to its website, Gehl’s Buffalo Hill Ranch was started about 15 years ago by owners Kathy and Mark Gehl.

Their herd is cared for in large, free-range pastures. The bison are fed naturally and have no growth hormones or other chemicals introduced to them.

The Gehls are members of the National Bison Association, Canadian Bison Association and several state associations.

The Minnesota State Fair began Thursday and runs through Sept. 1.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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