Four bucks will buy you a one-ounce Tanka Bar at the Seward Co-op, a price that must surely rank it among the most expensive bar-shaped foods in the Midwest, on a by-weight basis. A Tanka Bar is — to quote the packaging — “From the traditions of Native American peoples!”, and is manufactured and naturally cured by Native American Natural Foods in Kyle, SD. The company describes itself as being a group of Oglala Lakotas, affirms its commitment to helping the buffalo and Mother Earth, and furthermore offers 48 Tanka Bars for $99 if you order online.
Tanka Bars are a kind of energy bar / jerky hybrid, comprised of 100 percent natural buffalo meat and dried cranberries with minimal seasonings (salt, red pepper, granulated onion, and garlic). The result is a mellow, nutty, ably balanced buffalo bar with a mild cranberry undernote and a hint of smoke. The bars lack any of the off-notes that so often creep into artificially flavored or preserved foods — the taste is clean and pleasantly layered. With seven grams of protein and 70 calories, Tanka Bars could play a pricey but tasty role as a protein snack or long-distance driving fast food break alternative. And there’s always that $99 deal if you get really, really serious about the things.