We believe the best way to help a family farmer is to buy from him. Heritage Foods USA is a direct to consumer mail order company and wholesaler of the very best meats from farmers who raise animals the right way.
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The meat we celebrate is the righteous kind, from healthy animals of sound genetics that have been treated humanely and allowed to pursue their natural instincts. Antibiotics and growth hormones are not part of the system. The environment is respected, and fair labor is practiced. Heritage Foods USA was founded in 2001 as the marketing arm of Slow Food USA’s Ark project. The Ark was a metaphorical Ark and onto the Ark Slow Food boarded foods that were on the brink of extinction either because of consumer apathy or corporate practices that extinguished diversity. The first Ark products to be sold were Heritage turkeys raised by the foremost breeder of Heritage poultry in the nation: Frank Reese. We picked turkeys because so many naturally mating and able to fly breeds were on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s endangered species list and we had to eat them to save them. Many of these less common breeds – like Bourbon Reds and Narragansett turkeys - have been pushed to the brink of extinction because they don’t grow fast enough or produce enough lean meat to satisfy the corporate demand for maximum profit.
There are dozens of varieties of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Each type looks different, acts different, tastes different, and comes from a different agricultural tradition, but from the perspective of the boardroom, there is little incentive to raise these beasts, even though many of them are renowned for their taste.
The viability of the livestock population depends on a strong genetic base. Novel pathogens, natural or man-made, can wipe out one variety while having no effect on another, which means that relying on only one or two is dangerous—we have to keep rare and heritage breeds viable by creating an active market for them.
Ten years ago Heritage Foods USA partnered with 10 farms to expand their production of rare and heritage breeds. It was a commitment that took them years to fulfill and now these farmers sell 100% of what they raise to Heritage which we in turn sells to restaurants and direct to consumers through our mail-order website.
Heritage Foods USA purchases 200 Heritage pigs a week, each and every week, from a network of about 25 independent farms. These pigs are processed and cut into parts under the watchful eye and skilled hands of our partners at Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, Missouri. Breeds like Tamworth, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Large Black, Berkshire, Duroc, and Red Wattle are delivered on Mondays and Tuesdays as the Heritage Foods USA office take orders from a network of more than 150 restaurants around the country as well as home chefs. For a full list of these restaurants click here.
Just as tomatoes and strawberries are best in the summer, so too do our animal chums have their own seasons, and being tuned in helps teach us respect for the natural order of things — the miracle of Earth orbiting the Sun and giving us the joys of spring, summer, winter, and fall. These days it’s not so obvious, in the supermarket, anyway, because all meat is available all the time. But when naturally bred animals are ready for slaughter, in season, that is Earth speaking to us.
And when the season strikes, buy these animals in bulk and freeze what you don’t eat fresh — to embrace livestock by season means more than just laying out a single lavish holiday meal. You can make it your fashionable protein for weeks. Think sandwiches, and then meat for chili or ragù for your pasta. Almost any animal, including lamb and turkey, makes a great burger!
The Projects of Heritage Foods USA coordinate with the natural cycles of animal agriculture. Pigs and chickens and cattle breed year round and are available on our site for sale always. Other animals like GOATS, TURKEYS, DUCK & GEESE and LAMB are seasonal and our Projects revolve around the time when they are naturally ready for harvest.
In 2009 we started the Heritage Radio Network. Heritage Radio now reaches millions of listeners a month. We produce our own content that is the best in the field. At the core of the station are thirty fantastic weekly shows—hosted by a diverse group of chefs, authors, visionaries, lunatics, journalists, historians, and hedonists — about food technology, beer, cheese, food history, politics, and cocktails, to name just a few of the myriad, plus a few outlier shows covering alternative music, arts, and pop culture. The station started as something of a clubhouse for subversive foodies but has grown into a legitimate media outlet—we are a source for hard news and opinion, a beacon for like-minded progressives who do not view food as simply fodder for the style section.
In 2011, the Heritage Meat Shop (HMS) opened in New York’s historic Essex Street Market on the corner of Essex and Delancey Street. HMS is the first all Heritage breed meat shop in the United States and features fresh meats and charcuterie from this country’s best curemasters like Sam Edwards, Armandino Batali and Allan Benton. An in-house cured meats line and sandwiches are other reasons to stop by and try some delicious foods.
The best way to follow Heritage news is through our weekly emails. To sign up, click here. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also call us at 718-389-0985 or email us at info@HeritageFoodsUSA.com.
Heritage Foods USA exists to promote genetic diversity, small family farms, and a fully traceable food supply. We are committed to making wholesome, delicious and sustainably produced heritage foods available to all Americans. In doing so, we will foster the link between sustainable land use, small-scale food production and preservation of the foods of past generations for future generations.
We uphold the American ideals of equity and dignity for all producers and their foods.
We are committed to heritage foods of all of the Americas, North, South and Central.
We believe that our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness include access to high quality, sustainably raised and traceable foods
We value the earth's bounty in all its diverse expressions
We advocate the maintenance of genetic diversity in all foods
We strongly oppose GMO's.
We educate consumers about the difference between small family farms and industrial agriculture.
We educate consumers to allow them to know where their food comes from and how it was raised.
We invest, from our profits, to educate every creed of American on how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals and how to appreciate the wonderful cultures from which those production methods are based.
We will make previously inaccessible foods available to all consumers
We will work with farmers to bring their foods to market
We believe that it is the right of all Americans to know everything about every aspect of their food supply
We will provide complete transparency with all of our products so our customers can trace the food all the way from their dinner table to the farm that raised it.
We believe in long-term sustainable relationships with our families, staff, partners, suppliers and customers.
We are committed to sticking with each and every breed of animal and plant until they have reached a point that they can survive on their own, without our assistance.
We believe that trust and integrity are the foundation upon which our business will be built and that by upholding those values we will ensure loyalty with all who work with us.
We believe that it is a tremendous honor to represent each and every farmer and producer and that it is our responsibility to represent them in such a way as to be deemed worthy of that honor.
We believe that farming is an immeasurable gift and one that we must not take for granted
We will work to make our foods and the land where they are raised available for future generations
Heritage Foods USA strives to maintain the vision of its Advisory Board member, Alice Waters, and her restaurant when she writes:
"Chez Panisse gathers its ingredients from known and trusted purveyors-purveyors known to be committed to sound and sustainable practices and trusted to remain informed and responsive to these values in a rapidly changing society. Our purveyors are committed to healthful products and practices that are pure and natural as possible, without synthetic additives or pollutants and without the unnecessary complexities of packaging or marketing. They are also committed to the conservation of resources, both natural resources like the land and water, and societal resources like the families and businesses that plant and harvest."
Heritage Foods believes in respecting the traditions of our past. Our meats and poultry are raised on pasture and are not fed antibiotics and animal by-products. Our fish are harvested in ways that do not harm the environment. We are searching for sources of organic feed.
All Heritage Foods USA pork is purebred and raised on pasture with no antibiotics. For our Mail Order customers, all pork is Berkshire or Red Wattle and Certified Humane unless listed otherwise. Every week we purchase 200 rare and heritage breed pigs. These pigs come from a group of 11 family farms. We never buy pork from outside that group and we buy whole animals and sell them whole or in parts. They are processed by Paradise Locker Meats. www.certifiedhumane.com.
Our value added products are made in small batches by independent, farmers and businesses.
Thanks to all these guidelines, our foods actually taste better and, better yet, the producers do their best to minimize their negative effects on the environment and society.
The Heritage Foods USA Advisory Board made what we do possible. Their support, both concrete and spiritual, have been an indispensable part of our success. We applaud all their work in life but especially their work in helping preserve biodiversity in the food supply.
Mario, whose original career path had him studying the golden age of Spanish theater at Rutgers University, took his first bite of culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, from which he withdrew almost immediately due to a "lack of interest." An apprenticeship with London's legendary Marco Pierre White and three years cooking and learning in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne, population 100, gave him what he needed to return to his native US and plant his orange-clogged foot firmly in the behinds of the checkered tablecloth-Italian restaurant establishment. Among his many culinary accolades, Mario was named "Man of the Year" in the Chef category by GQ Magazine in 1999, and in 2002 won the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: New York City award. In addition to steering his businesses through their successes, Mario Batali hosts his own programs, "Molto Mario" and "Mario Eats Italy" on the Television Food Network. His new series "Ciao America" premiered in October 2003. He most recent book, The Babbo Cookbook, was released in 2002. Batali lives in New York City with his wife Susi Cahn, of the Coach Dairy Goat Farm, and their two sons, Benno and Leo. Mario is also one of the recipients of the 2001 D'Artagnan Cervena Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, a prestigious lifetime achievement award.
Samuel W. Edwards III
Samuel W. Edwards III became involved with his family¹s business at an early age. Learning the business from the ground up included sweeping floors, chopping hickory wood and cleaning the grease pit, it wasn¹t long before his father and grandfather began teaching him the art of curing and monitoring Edwards Virginia Country Ham, Bacon and Sausage. Sam III eventually joined the company in the late 1970¹s as the third-generation Edwards to take charge. He focused on the specialty food trade, mail order and the internet site while opening two Edwards Virginia Ham shops in Surry and Williamsburg, VA.
He currently serves as a board member of the National Country Ham Association and past president of The Virginia Meat Processors and the National Country Ham Association. He also is serving on the Governor of Virginia¹s appointed Specialty Food Advisory Committee. Sam is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Southern Foodways, the DMA and NASFT. He is a Regional director on the Southern Virginia Community Board for Eastern Virginia Bank and serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals in Surry County. He is also an active member of Olga¹s foozball emporium and pool hall.
Sam III and his wife Donna have two children Stephanie 21 and Sam IV 20 attending college in Virginia.
Winona La Duke
Winona La Duke is an Ojibwe community organizer, economist and author who lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. She has worked extensively on Indigenous rights and environmental issues, most recently on the issues surrounding the patenting and genetic threats to wild rice, or manoomin. Winona's four books include Last Standing Woman (fiction), All our Relations, Winona LaDuke Reader (non fiction), and In the Sugarbush, a children's book.
Winona has served as a boardmember of the Indigenous Women's Network for the past 10 years. She also served on the board of Greenpeace USA (l99l-96) and is founding director of both the White Earth Land Recovery Program and Honor the Earth, a national Native American foundation. Winona ran as the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party in the United States presidential elections in l996 and 2000.
As a Renowned Chef and Best-selling Author, Michel Nischan is credited with creating a cuisine of well-being, focused on a respect for pure ingredients and intense flavors - without the use of cream, butter, processed starches or processed sugars. The inspiration to explore full-flavored cooking without such indulgences came in 1994 from his son Chris who, at age five, was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes.
Michel Nischan debuted his revolutionary cuisine at Heartbeat Restaurant at the W Hotel in 1997, and was immediately propelled to the forefront of New York's culinary scene. Since then he has continued to raise the bar for delicious and healthful cooking and is continually lauded for his dedication to Well-Being, Organics & Sustainability, and Cultural Food Preservation. He has been nominated for a 2004 James Beard Award for his first cookbook, TASTE, Pure and Simple (Chronicle Books, 2003), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller.
As president of Sources and Resources, Michel brings all of his passion and expertise to a variety of companies and organizations in pursuit of healthful, culturally significant and socially responsible food solutions. Michel's current clients and projects include work with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society Conference, the Ross School, The French Culinary Institute, Song Airways where Michel is the executive consulting chef for the first all-class airline to offer organic responsible food choices and flies 30,000 people daily, and Taj Luxury Hotels Group, in India, where he is developing restaurant concepts based on well-being.
Eric Schlosser, author of the best selling Fast Food Nation, has been investigating the fast food industry for years. In 1998, his two-part article on the subject in Rolling Stone generated more mail than any other item the magazine had run in years. In addition to writing for Rolling Stone, Schlosser has contributed to The New Yorker and has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. He won a National Magazine Award for "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law" and has received a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for Reporting. His work has been nominated for several other National Magazine Awards and for the Loeb Award for business journalism. In the words of Eric: "It's time to reclaim American agriculture from the fast food chains, pesticide makers, factory farms and genetic engineers. Our heritage foods are not only healthier and sustainable, but they taste a hell of a lot better. Supporting this revolution is easy: buy the right food from the right folks."
Alice Waters is the owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. Over the last three decades, Chez Panisse has cultivated a network of local farmers who share the restaurant's commitment to sustainable agriculture. In 2001, Chez Panisse was named best restaurant in the United States by Gourmet Magazine. Alice Waters initiated the Edible Schoolyard project in 1995, which incorporates her ideas about food and culture into the public school curriculum. She is author of eight books, the most recent of which is Chez Panisse Fruit (HarperCollins, 2002). Alice is also the International Vice President of Slow Food International and sits on the Board of Directors of Slow Food USA.
Michael is no longer with us, but he was so important to the beginning of Heritage Foods USA that we include his bio here and encourage you to research him and read his many books.
Michael and Ariane Batterberry have founded two of the milestone national food magazines in this century: FOOD ARTS, the publication by and for the country's leading food and drink professionals and FOOD AND WINE, one the country's leading consumer magazines. Together or individually, they have authored eighteen books on food, entertaining, and art and social history. Several (The Pantheon Story Of Art; Fashion: The Mirror Of History; Bloomingdales Book Of Entertaining) have been best sellers. The Batterberrys are among the few authors who have had four concurrent Literary Guild selections.
Michael Batterberry has appeared regularly on CNNFN (CNN's financial network) as commentator on trends in the restaurant industry. He served as introductory host to the Public Television series "Rising Star Chefs"in 1997 and he continues to be repeatedly interviewed by CNN, TV Food Network, Britain's BBC and other European programmers.
The Batterberrys are in the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in Food and Beverage in America, and were also chosen by the Foundations as Editors of the year in 1994. IN 1998 Ariane Batterberry was chosen as Women of the year by the Roundtable for Women in Foodservice. Michael Batterberry served for six years as a member of the National Board of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is also on the Board of the French Culinary Institute and a Member of the Corporation of the Culinary Institute of America. He was also asked onto the board of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. He is on the Board of Stone Barns and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in 2005.