by Malcolm Curtis | swissinfo.ch | December 13, 211
Visitors do double takes when they first see the burly, hump-backed creatures grazing in the fields not far from Geneva’s airport, against the snow-capped backdrop of the Jura mountains and the Alps.
But the bison have become an ingrained, if unconventional, part of the village’s agricultural scene.
While still far from being a mainstream item in supermarkets, bison meat has earned a local reputation as a tasty, low-fat alternative to beef.
And a small but growing number of breeders across Switzerland are now raising the wild animals, originally native to the North American prairies.
They are following in the footsteps of Collex-Bossy farmer Laurent Girardet, 53, who launched a pioneering initiative more than 20 years ago.
In 1990, Girardet decided to import ten bison from Alberta, Canada with the goal of raising them for meat, a first at the time for Switzerland. Now he has more than 130 of them, supplying two local butchers and several gourmet restaurants that take all he can provide.
“I always had a passion for things from North America,” Girardet tells swissinfo.ch, explaining his motivation to launch the venture.
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