Rabbit meat can be found locally

We're hoping your SYA detectives can solve the mystery of why Oregon butchers don't carry rabbit meat. In Northern California, rabbit meat used to be commonly provided by butchers to their customers. Since moving to Oregon 20 years ago, I haven't been able to find it. Is rabbit meat banned or are they an endangered species? Inquiring minds would like to know.

— Terry M., Medford

Well, Terry, it's time to add rabbit stew to your weekly menu.

Rabbit, apparently, is trendy enough to have hopped out of the butcher shops and into growers markets and co-ops.

Bob Bradford of Bradford Family Farm in Wimer is oneof two Oregon Department of Agriculture-licensed and -inspected rabbit growers in the region. The Bradford farm also is the only West Coast breeder who raises rabbits in a pasture.

Bradford dresses from 35 to 45 rabbits a month and sells them seasonally at the Ashland Growers and Crafters Market on Tuesdays and the Grants Pass Growers Market on Saturdays. Bradford also supplies rabbit to the Ashland Food Co-op.

Bradford says the reason there aren't more breeders is that growers here can't match the price of rabbit meat imported from China. Another reason, he says, is that tastes have changed from past generations.

Maybe you're a throwback to the old days, Terry.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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