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"Taste, like identity, has value only when there are differences" – Carlo Petrini
All rare breeds are heritage breeds but all heritage breeds are not necessarily rare breeds. Rare Breeds have population counts less than 2500 in the US and 10,000 globally. Many rare breeds count fewer than 200 US annual registrations with a global population of less than 2000 (livestockconservancy.org). Heritage breeds are raised in greater numbers and are not considered endangered.
A Heritage breed is a breed that is bred for certain traits, but the philosophy behind the breeding is the old philosophy of balance. A heritage breed is one that is healthy, strong, and capable of reproducing and foraging, and lives a long time. Heritage genetics are the foundation for a humanely raised, healthy animal.
Genetic engineering practiced on factory farms, on the other hand, create breeds that have been pushed too far for certain traits like fast growth, feed conversion and the production of white meat. As a result their cardiovascular systems can hardly support their outsized bodies, their muscles and bones are weak, and their immune system have been compromised.
Maintaining rare and heritage breeds is crucial for a healthy and safe food supply. The viability of the livestock population depends on a strong genetic base. Novel pathogens, natural or manmade, can wipe out one variety while having no effect on another, which means relying on only one or two breeds is dangerous — we have to keep these rare and heritage breeds viable by creating an active market for them. These rare and heritage breeds are also renowned for their taste!
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.
All Heritage Foods USA animals are naturally mating and not artificially inseminated as on factory farms. Therefore pigs and beef are available year round, as are chickens. Heritage Goats, turkeys, ducks and geese are available in their natural season during the holidays.
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.
Larry Sorrel and Lazy S. Farms, La Plata, Missouri – CERTIFIED HUMANE RED WATTLE
Craig Good just North of Kansas’ Little Apple, Manhattan – GLOUCESTERSHIRE OLD SPOT and DUROC
Doug Metzger and his family, Seneca, Kansas – TAMWORTH
David and Chris Newman, Newman Farm, Jonesboro, Arkansas – CERTIFIED HUMANE BERKSHIRE
Halverson Farm, Benard, Iowa – CERTIFIED HUMANE BERKSHIRE
Krapfl Farm, Delhi, Iowa – CERTIFIED HUMANE BERKSHIRE
Kyle Roberts Farm, Winthrop, Iowa – LARGE BLACK
Norton Farm, Plattsburg, Missouri – BERKSHIRE
Keevhaver Farm, Trimble, Missouri – BERKSHIRE
Trent and Troy Baker, Kiron, Iowa – BERKSHIRE
Sharon Meyer and family, Lawson, Missouri – BERKSHIRE
In the spring of 2005, we took a life-changing trip to visit our family of farms with a small group of believers, including chefs Mark Ladner and Zach Allen from the Mario Batali– Joe Bastianich restaurant group. As expected, they fell in love with the farmers, and with the taste and quality of the meat. Ladner, especially, took a huge leap of faith and said that if we could supply his restaurant Lupa in New York City with pork for six months without mistakes then the other restaurants in their group — including Babbo and Del Posto and places they were planning to open in Las Vegas and LA — would follow and support us, too.
We ordered our first batch of pigs—Red Wattles, because they were Mark’s favorite—and asked our friend Larry Sorrel to start ramping up production. Ten years later we have hundreds of Wattles come through our operation every month, a great achievement for biodiversity in our food supply.
The Red Wattle is what I would call superpork—its taste is mega-swiney and powerful! The meat is charmingly inconsistent, earthy, vegetal and herbaceous. Its expressive porky flavor is concentrated, edgy and even racy. On a scale from one to ten for porkiness, this breed is a 9.9.
The Red Wattle came to our shores from New Caledonia and populated the backyards of New Orleans’ homes in the 18th and 19th centuries. The local residents bred Wattles to stand up to the local cuisine — New Orleans cuisine is the culinary equivalent of jazz, with influences seeping in from Africa and Cuba to spice up the local flavor. Wattle pork is able to not be overwhelmed by those diverse influences.
The Red Wattle was once thought to be extinct but a wild herd was found in Texas. The Wattle is the only pig left in the world with wattles having from its jowl. Unfortunately the wattles do not have a gastronomic purpose but the rest of the animal certainly does and is a favorite of chefs around the country.
Gloucestershire Old Spot
The Gloucestershire Old Spot is so sweet and creamy, tucking into one of its roasts is like having a glass of buttermilk. The breed boasts a large amount of fat because it is lazy, used to roaming backyards in England. The eye of the loin chops are small, but the marbling throughout all the cuts is exquisite. The meat is very tender and delicate.
The Old Spot is an orchard pig, built to graze backyards. This becomes apparent when you see its huge floppy ears that cover its eyes — this is not a pig that is fearful of predators or built to defend itself from them. A big part of the traditional diet of the Old Spot is apples and other fruit that fell off the family tree.
Old Spot pigs are the English’s best effort to make delicious pork. The breed was developed in the Berkeley Vale of Gloucestershire, England, during the 1800s. GOS became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in outdoor pigs. The breed almost became extinct in 1960s.
The Tamworth pig is a lean breed that doesn’t deliver the sweet smack of the fat, but you get a more refined taste that practically screams for a dollop of applesauce. Tamworth meat is robust and is the leanest of the pork breeds that we sell making it an excellent source of bacon and jowl. It has a balanced flavor that is not fatty.
This animal is of ginger to red color and is thought to have descended from wild boars via native pig stock of Europe. The most salient feature of the Tamworth is its great hardiness with respect to adverse climates, another reason why it does not develop the fattiness of other rare breeds.
Like the Gloucestershire Old Spot the Large Black is an orchard pig, meaning its genetics were developed for living in the backyard and eating the local forage including older fruit that fell off the tree. Its dark skin protects it from sunburn during long hours of grazing, and its long ears shield its eyes from dirt while foraging. The Large Black pig is native to Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset in southwestern England.
Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are polished and easy on the palate. Duroc pork is a standard, not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong but certainly more flavorful than its factory farmed cousins. For decades the Good family of Olsburg, Kansas have bred to improve the taste characteristics of their Durocs.
Duroc pigs were used as the foundational genetics of the pig industry beginning in the 20th century. Large litters and the ability to gain weight quickly were Duroc characteristics from the start. In 1812, early "Red Hogs" were bred in New York and New Jersey and these would be the ancestors of Duroc pork today. As our Duroc farmer Craig Good attests: Duroc pigs Do Rock!
Duroc Boar at Good Farms
Berkshire breed pigs are the most common heritage breed and they are popular for good reason. More than any other heritage breed, the Berkshire combines the best traits of pork in the best way all at once: Berkshire meat is sweet, fatty but not too fatty, and boasts good marbling throughout. Its meat is darker than its other white commodity cousins, and the cuts are shaped perfectly for service (the eye of the loins and size of the shoulders are just right). It is the consistent pork of choice for most of the chefs we work with.
Berkshire meat is elegant, luscious and smooth. The streaks of fat that run through Berkshire meat give it a round and buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The firm and substantial texture of Berkshire meat was so cherished by the British monarchy that they exported the breed all over the world, including Japan where it is called Korobuta.
You can tell a Berkshire is pure bred by the six white spots that appear on the tip of its feet and on the tail and nose. It’s the surest method to ensure authenticity.
BERKSHIRE PIGS AT LAZY S FARMS
Our Pig Farmers:
Larry and Madonna Sorrell – Lazy S. Ranch
We first met The Sorrells through Frank Reese as they raised turkeys for Good Shepherd Ranch, the turkey project being our first foray into the heritage world. When we visited their farm we noticed that besides turkeys, they also kept many rare breeds including a Red Wattle boar and about 15 sows.
We loved the taste of the Wattle so we asked Larry to ramp up production. It was a commitment that took years to fulfill because of the fact that they grow slowly and breeding stock was hard to find as the Wattle was endangered. Larry spent many hours on the road, visiting farmers and purchasing breeders.
Fast forward to today and Larry’s farm is a seething cauldron of biodiversity and includes Highland cattle, Red Wattle, Large Black, and Gloucestershire pigs, and beautiful llamas that enjoy smelling our breath!
Since we first started working together, Larry and his wife Madonna have expanded their farming network to include numerous Amish farmers who raise pigs under their Certified Humane Lazy S. Farm label. In addition to their animal children, Madonna and Larry's have also raised nine children, 23 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
LARRY AND MADONNA SORELL
Craig and Amy Good – Good Farm
Craig Good has been raising Duroc breed pigs for nearly 50 years. While Duroc genetics are a part of the makeup of pigs on factory farms, nowhere are they 100% pure as they are on Good Farm. Craig learned the art of perfecting the Duroc breed from his father who taught on the subject at Kansas State University.
After working with Heritage Foods USA for a few years Craig decided to expand his operations to include the rare Gloucestershire Old Spot. Craig now boasts an ever-growing supply of these delicious pigs bred from English stock. Some he keeps pure, and others he crosses with the Duroc, a cross breed he calls Spot-Roc!
Craig has a family farm just North of Manhattan, Kansas and he is a very active member of his community. Besides selling to Heritage, he also sells breeding stock for purebred Angus beef, which he raises free range on the tallgrass prairie. He has also introduced Heritage to numerous other farmers in the area and is especially interested in fostering the next generation of farm to table and heritage breed livestock producers.
Doug was one of the first farmers to join our network. We first met Doug like so many of the farmers that we know through the Heritage Turkey project. After raising turkeys for Frank Reese for two years he approached us to see if we would be interested in helping him market his Berkshire pigs. He also said he would be willing to take on a passle (herd) of Tamworth pigs which were listed as a rare breed in the US.
Before we could commit, we needed a processor who we could trust. And so Doug introduced us to a state inspected facility in Trimble, Missouri. After talking to the owners, Mario and Teresa and their sons Lou and Nick, we were glad to find out that they would be willing to become federally inspected so that we could launch our wholesale and direct to consumer business. It is a relationship that has lasted over a decade.
Doug is an old school farmer. Despite getting older, he grows anything and everything on his farm that he thinks might be profitable. He has many hundreds of acres and each part of his farm seems to have a different food growing on it including corn, sorghum, wheat, alfalfa, oats, and barley. He has become an expert on reading the skies, the cycles of the moon and the seasons. He is a master at understanding why certain crops grow well at certain times and why others do not. He is stubborn and determined to keep his diversified farm profitable, even in this age of monoculture.
Fred, Doug’s father, lived to be 104 and according to one source, had more living descendents than anyone alive in the United States with 368. Doug and his wife Betty have two children.
David and Chris Newman – Newman Farm
One morning in 2005 we walked to the post office to find a hand written letter from Mark Newman asking if Heritage would be interested in selling his purebred Berkshire pigs. As with all farmers at that time, we said that if he could deliver to Paradise Locker Meats that we would be willing to try them out. A few weeks later we saw the pigs and tasted them only to discover that they were among the best tasting Berkshires in America. And we were not the only ones who thought so — Mark was considered the foremost breeder of 6-Spotted Berkshires in the country, pigs that he raised on his farm in the Ozark Mountains on the edge of South Eastern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The farm was a sprawling testament to humane animal treatment and allowing pigs to act like pigs by fulfilling their natural God-given instincts.
Over the years Mark supplied Heritage with many pigs. But health problems led to the supply diminishing. Sadly, in 2013, Mark passed away, leaving the farm to his wife Rita and their two sons, Chris and Mark. Since taking over, Chris and Mark have expanded production, and now supply Heritage with the most beautiful pigs each and ever month. In addition to raising Berkshires, they also are experimenting with other breeds so as to keep themselves and our chefs interested in the array of tastes that can be produced with swine.
Tom Krapfl - Krapfl Farm
Located in Delhi, Iowa, Tom farms with his family that includes his wife and daughters. Tom has farmed his whole adult career. He raises Berkshires and the occasional Red Wattle in a series of traditional style barns with bedding and access to the outdoors. The farm is a closed circuit system where Tom raises corn for feed and the manure his animals produce for fertilizer. He is a very kind man who attends church regularly and on a part-time basis delivers mail to local residents. His pig are Certified Humane and delivered to Heritage Foods USA on a weekly basis.
Randy Halverson - Halverson Farm
Located in Bernard, Iowa Randy farms with his wife and son on several hundred acres of beautiful eastern Iowa rolling hills. He is very proud of his cow/calf/beef herd and Certified Humane Berkshire pigs. His pigs live in hoop buildings which are deeply bedded and have outdoor access. Randy also raises alfalfa which he feeds to the cows. Randy was raised in town but helped his uncle in the country every summer who taught him farm skills. Now that Randy runs a farm, he has converted his father to helping out too!
The Berkshire Bunch
As Heritage Foods USA grew so did our need for more of a supply of delicious heritage breed pigs. Since rare breeds are so hard to come by, we partnered with numerous Berkshire farmers in and around the Kansas City area, where our trusty processor is located. These farmers are cherished members of the Heritage family and many of them sell 100% of what they grow to Heritage Foods USA.
These farmers include:
Kyle Roberts Farm, Winthrop, Iowa – a young farmer that has introduced rare genetics to his multi-generational family farm.
Norton Farm in Plattsburg, MO – a young farmer that has introduced rare genetics to his multi-generational family farm.
Keevhaver Farm in Trimble MO – a brother duo dedicated to raising Berkshires as well as 100% pure Angus beef.
Trent and Troy Baker - Kiron, Iowa – this brother team produce the most perfect and consistent Berkshires we receive on a monthly basis.
Sharon Meyer and family, Lawson MO – Sharon and her husband continue a family tradition of raising pigs on their multi-generational farm.
BERKSHIRE PIGS AT LAZY S FARMS
Heritage Foods USA works hard to ensure the ethical and humane treatment of the foods we sell when they are raised, transported and processed. Just as we work with producers who use strict production protocols, we also work with processing facilities that we know and have visited. We ensure that the animals do not suffer at any point in the process which would affect taste and which would violate the sacred pact we have with the food we consume.
Paradise Locker Meats
Paradise Locker Meats is a USDA inspected processor that works with Heritage Foods USA to process pigs and other livestock each and every week. We first met the owners of Paradise in 2005 during a visit to the Kansas City area upon the recommendation of a farmer we work with Doug Metzger. At the time Paradise Locker, established in 1946 and once used as a voting office for local elections, was state inspected but the Fantasma family decided to go through the trouble of becoming federally inspected so that we could ship across state lines. It ended up being a good investment!
The patriarch, Mario, comes from a long line of Italians but his grandfather was adopted by a family who opened their door one day to find him lying there in a basket. They gave him the last name Fantasma because they thought he might have been left there by a ghost! Mario's introduction to the meat business was at S&S Meat Co. where he worked as a runner. He pulled cuts for a year and then went on to became a butcher's apprentice for several more years. When Paradise Locker Meats, a local processing facility, went on the market, Mario jumped at the opportunity to own his own shop. Mario married Theresa in the 1980s and they had two sons Lou and Nick. Lou is the plant’s manager.
As Heritage grew so did Paradise Locker. They now count 25 employees and each and every week they process 175 pigs for Heritage Foods USA. Pigs are killed on Mondays and Tuesdays and processed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays they bring in local animals for processing. Paradise Locker is a Certified Humane facility. Besides processing, the Fantasmas are also great curers of meats and have won many awards for their cured and smoked hams, hocks and sausages.
Come the holidays Paradise Locker transforms into a fulfillment center for Heritage turkeys. In essence the facility has become very much the hub of the heritage food movement in the USA. We have come to see the Fantasmas like family and look forward to visiting them many times each year, often with chefs who see the signature Paradise Locker boxes with the palm tree on it containing their meats each and every week.
Located in Eagle Bridge NY, Debbie and Steve run an impeccable facility where we process goats every October. The single biggest obstacle for sustainable and humane independent animal farms is the lack of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses and processing facilities. Eagle Bridge is a beacon for all farmers in the New York and Vermont region.
Frank Reese – Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, KS
Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch plays an especially vital role in the history of Heritage Foods USA. Frank agreed to raise heritage turkeys for Slow Food members in 2001, ultimately inspiring the creation of Heritage Foods USA. We have been working together since and have met several of our other farmers through Frank. Frank is the owner of the most important poultry farm in America. His farm in Kansas is a seething cauldron of biodiversity—he has dozens of poultry breeds, and in many cases his is the last farm in the world to be home to these breeds.
Heritage Foods USA is proud to announce our historic effort to revive rare, heritage chicken lines and create an alternative market for non-industry bred chicken. We are partnering with Frank, the country's preeminent poultry farmer, to show our customers what real chicken tastes like. We will offer a rotation of heritage chicken breeds every 3 months starting May 2013. There are numerous heritage breeds of chicken on the brink of extinction and we plan to bring them back breed-by-breed. Heritage Foods USA is the only place you can taste these special heritage birds today.
Heritage chickens are breeds that have been around since before the industrial era. Their genetic lineage has been preserved because they have not been genetically modified in the industrial poultry industry. Heritage birds grow at a healthy rate, while industry chickens are genetically manipulated to grow at an unnaturally fast rate that can be harmful to the skeletal, cardiovascular, and immune systems of bird. Current chicken breeds available include:
The Rhode Island White chicken was developed in 1888 and was admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1922. These chickens are great meat birds as well as excellent egg layers. Today, the Rhode Island White has a population of less than 3000 birds and Frank Reese is one of only a few breeders still raising this variety.
The White Leghorn chicken was brought to the US from Northern Italy in 1853 and was admitted to the American Poultry Association's standard of Perfection in 1874. These chickens are fantastic egg layers and known for being active and ambitious. Those raised on Frank Reese's farm are still able to retain their foraging and productive nature. There are many different varieties of Leghorns, but the remaining non-industrial White variety is only raised by a very small number of breeders.
Each year Frank raises different breeds of ducks and geese for wholesale and for our direct to consumer division. These animals are pond raised and take a long time to grow, but boy are they delicious!
Cooking is easy. Mother Nature + the skill of a responsible farmer = the only recipe you should ever fuss over. Rather than filling your shelves with epic recipe books, how about breed charts that describe the gastronomic wonders of every livestock variety? “One 32-ounce flank steak” as the prime mover in a recipe is not enough information for the enlightened carnivore. Where does that beef come from— farm and breed, please! And was it from a happy cow that led a decent cow life grazing and doing happy cow things?
Heritage Foods USA only brings in a few whole animals a year. Most of the time we only purchase cuts from various farms around the country, primarily ribeye, strip, tenderloin, hanger and brisket. As a result we have a lot of freedom to pick different breeds to bring in for our direct to consumer business that showcase how delicious cattle can be. Among our favorite breeds are the Piedmontese, Belgian Blue, Highland, Simmental, Akaushi, and Angus. We also bring in Bison! But stay tuned to our website for even more options.
Piedmontese and Belgian Blues are the only two breeds of cow that have the “double-muscle” gene, which makes them extraordinarily tender. And these cows are loaded with myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle differentiation and growth. As a result, you get a supremely tender and delicious cut of beef.
Meadowood Farm – Cazenovia, New York
There are fewer than 2,500 registered Belties in the US. Belted Galloways are a heritage breed of cattle originating from Scotland. They are adept grazers and known for their smaller frame and excellent marbling. The meat is herbaceous and grassy in flavor. These animals are well suited to the harsh winters of Central New York and lush pastures in the spring, summer and fall. They are raised on pasture and finished on grain to ensure impeccable marbling.
Montana Ranch – Billings, Montana
Piedmontese cattle originated in the foothills of northwestern Italy also home to the Slow Food movement and are thought to be a mix of the Auroch and Zebu cattle crossed over 25,000 years ago. Today, in the United States, a network of family farmers is raising the cattle on a pure vegetarian feed without the use of antibiotics and without added growth hormones. Piedmontese is unique in that it contains myostatin, known as the "double muscle gene."
Kyle Robert Farm – Manchester, Iowa
As the name implies, Belgian Blue Cattle originated in central and upper Belgium, and at one time they accounted for nearly half of the cattle in the national herd. Like most cattle breeds the Belgian Blue was originally a dual-purpose animal producing both milk and meat. In the 1960's many breeders worked to develop cattle of a more 'meaty type' . As a result, they developed the Belgian Blue we have today.
The Belgian Blue is an impressive looking animal most famous for its prominent muscling, commonly referred to as "double muscling". The extreme muscling is especially prevalent in the shoulder, back, loin and rump area. This unique characteristic is due to skillful breeding in the 1960's. The Belgian Blue Breed of beef cattle is relatively new to the United States but is rapidly developing a following. These cattle can be white, blue roan or sometimes black and they are known for their quiet temperament.
Belgian Blue Cattle were selected for their natural leanness and fine muscle fiber, which makes the meat healthful and tender. Special care must be taken when cooking Belgian Blue Beef because it cooks faster than traditional beef due to the low fat content.
Long Meadow Ranch – Napa Valley, California
Highland Cattle are the oldest registered breed of cattle, officially recognized in 1884. The Queen of England maintains her own Highlands at Balmoral Castle. The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. Cold weather and snow have little effect on them so they can be raised as far north as Alaska and the Scandinavian countries. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed. Originally there were two distinct breeds of varying sizes. Today both of these strains are regarded as one breed - Highland. In addition to red and black, yellow, dun, white, brindle and silver are also considered traditional Highland colors.
Highlands have lived alongside humans for generations. Early Scotsmen kept their Highland cows inside the family home during the winter months, separated by only a fabric fence. Despite their long horns, long hair and unusual appearance, the Highland is considered to be a docile and calm animal. They are extremely intelligent which makes them quite easy to train.
The beef is lean and low in fat. Highlands mature slowly and are typically bred later than other breeds, so the meat is tender, well marbled and flavorful.
White Oak Pastures – Bluffton, Georgia
Simmental cattle are native to Switzerland, their name paying tribute to valley of the Simme River. Though this resilient breed can be traced back to the Middle Ages, the first Simmental met American soil when it arrived in Illinois in 1887. Thanks to this animal's ability to adapt to diverse environments, there are currently between 40 and 60 million Simmentals in existence worldwide. A naturally lean beef, Simmentals are known for their rapid growth, heavy muscling, and healthy size. These characteristics produce a hearty, tender cut of beef with minimal fat. Simmentals are meant to eat grass year round. The grass-fed diet yields a gamier, more pronounced flavor and is considerably less sweet than commercial beef. For this reason, our Simmental beef tastes undoubtedly different from its grain- finished cousins: it's bold, earthy, and best when cooked to medium-rare.
Heartbrand Beef – Yoakum, Texas
"Akaushi" is the Japanese term for Red Cattle. The pure-bred Akaushi are a national treasure and are the only free grazing cattle in the small country of Japan, roaming the sacred mountain of Aso where they are protected by the Japanese government. Through a loophole in the Trade Act of 1992, three bulls and eight cows left Japan in a custom equipped Boeing 747 escorted by armed guards and arrived in Texas. These animals continue to be raised there and are sold as purebreds as well as mixed with Angus. Our Akaushi are cut by Paradise Locker Meats in roasts as well as into individual steaks. This breed is buttery and delicious and is Japan’s greatest gastronomic achievement when it comes to growing cattle.
At the office we came up with these flavor profiles for this breed:
"Juicy and rich"
"Delicate, sophisticated and elegant while also bold and beefy"
"This steak is absolutely delicious"
"Very unctuous with an aroma of sautéing mushrooms--lots of great umami"
"Fat specs infuse every bite with the dream of any steak house"
"When you look at the steaks you can see hundreds of white fat specs like foam on a wind swept ocean"
North American Bison Cooperative – North Dakota
Bison meat is the true native North American meat. Sixty million bison once roamed the great planes of this land and sustained Native Americans. When the Transcontinental Railroad was built across the country in the 1800s, the bison were split into Northern and Southern herds. The Southern herd included animals from Texas, eastern New Mexico, eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and southern Nebraska. But by the dawn of the 20th century, the total bison population had dwindled to less than 1,000. Thanks to conservation efforts, bison are slowly recovering. The Southern Plains herd that exists today was started in the 1880s by Charles Goodnight, a wealthy American cattlemen. His wife urged him to save five calves at a time when hunters were killing bison by the hundreds of thousands.
Grass-fed Bison is naturally leaner than other meats but the fat it does have is mono-unsaturated making it much healthier while not sacrificing any of the flavor. The leanness of the meat requires low and slow cooking.
Sandstone Ridge Farm - LaFarge, WI
James and Lisa Twomey established Sandstone Ridge Farm, in the southwestern region of Wisconsin, after they visited the nearby Kickapoo River and fell in love with the charming topography composed of limestone and sandstone outcroppings, steep valley walls and clusters of Amish farms. The glaciers that leveled most of the mid-west 12,000 years ago hit a granite bump and skipped this corner of Wisconsin where today cold springs of mineral water and trout streams flow constantly. The Kickapoo River was also a source for inspiration for the architect Franklin Lloyd Wright.
Sandstone Ridge Farm is a "piece of heaven" that became the Twomeys' hobby farm. The land they inherited was burly and overgrown, so when a neighbor recommended grazing sheep or goats to keep the grass down, the Twomeys searched for the perfect residents. They chose the Tunis sheep, a personable breed that produces wonderful meat. The Tunis have managed their pastures ever since.
Tunis have chestnut-colored faces and legs covered in thick velvety wool. The lamb are raised with their mothers on hay and feed on a good mix of protein and carbohydrates including locally-grown alfalfa hay, oat hay and nitrogen-heavy clover, a nutritional program that provides natural fertilizer and also sustains local bee populations that pollinate fruits and vegetables.
Though the barn door is always open, the animals roam on the sloping terrain most of the time. Only birthing, cold winter nights and the occasional blizzard are the few instances where their instincts motivate them to take shelter and cozy up on straw.
The younger lambs are milk-fed by their mothers and weaning occurs naturally. Pregnant ewes are given an extra ration of alfalfa pellets, corn, oats, and molasses. The ewes breed out of season and the delicately-flavored lamb is available year-round.
The Tunis sheep is amongst the oldest breeds of livestock in America and was developed in 1799 from a cross between a Middle Eastern fat-tailed sheep from Tunisia and local American sheep. It is said that Maynard Spigener (1849-1913) is responsible for having saved the Tunis breed in the United States from extinction during the Civil War. Spigener hid 30 head of pure-bred Tunis lamb in the swamps near a river that runs near Columbia, South Carolina. After the war, Spigener sold ten head of his sheep to James A. Guilliams who entered the Tunis in the Crawford Indiana County Fair where the stock was awarded for its meat, wool and breeding qualities.
Clover Creek Farm - Jonesborough, TN
Chris and Ray Wilson, along with their daughter Sarah, have been raising sheep on their farm in Northeastern Tennessee for nearly 20 years. As a child of farmers, Chris hopes to one day pass down the farm to her own daughter. As she explained, "that is what you farm for, to pass it on to the next generation." Clover Creek Farm spans 50 acres of land at an elevation of about 1650 feet. Chris, Ray and Sarah practice sustainable agriculture but when Chris found the land nearly 20 years ago, the land had been depleted by previous conventional farms and was completely over grown. Chris spent 5 years restoring the land and creek; with a focus on soil recovery and establishing the native grasses so it would be a sustainable farm. Chris was named Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1999 for her efforts.
Clover Creek Katahdin sheep graze on native grasses, such as blue grass, and clovers that are abundant in the Tennessee area. They are born outside and spend their entire life grazing with their mothers. Following the motto "farming in harmony with nature," Chris raises her sheep using rotational grazing methods. Chris and Ray take pride in their lambs, explaining, "The lamb are not a commodity. We put a lot of work and effort in to give them the best life possible."
The Katahdin sheep is the result of the innovative thinking of a Maine farmer named Michael Piel. In the 1950's, Piel brought three sheep from St. Croix in the Caribbean to his farm. He crossed these "African hair sheep," as they were known, with his own flock of "Down" breeds (more typical wooly meat sheep found in New England), producing a lambs he called Katahdin after the highest mountain in Maine. The Katahdin does not need to be sheared and produces a well-muscled, lean but meaty carcass. The Katahdin lamb is a meat breed and not a wool breed, making it especially flavorful and delicious with nutty, full flavor.
Hubbard Hair Sheep - Manhattan, KS
At 25-years-old, Joseph Hubbard is one of the youngest farmers we work with. His farm is nestled in the Kansas foothills and much of the pasture is covered with brush, problematic trees, and other woody growth.
Joseph's parents, Alan and Sharon, have been farming their land for three generations and they continue to raise cattle and horses nearby. When Joseph turned 8, a neighbor suggested he raise goat for a 4-H project. By his senior year of high school Joseph had a full herd and he sold 200 goats before going off to college. During his studies at Kansas State University, the young farmer decided to transition from goats to hair sheep because they were easier to raise and take care of. Joseph explained that American goats had been "babied" so much that their natural instincts were gone. Baby goats simply lie on the ground after birth so a farmer would have their work cut out for them during kidding season. On the other hand, lambs know exactly how to take care of themselves almost immediately. Joseph currently has a small herd of Boer (as show goats) as well as Spanish Nannies goats but focuses his attention on his lamb.
Joseph raises multiple breeds of lamb for different reasons: Katahdin for their multiple birth and high growth rate, St. Croix for the natural tannin in their gut that wards off parasites and White Dorper for their muscling. Over the next few years his lambs will be bred for twins to get a 200% lamb crop. Joseph breeds his lamb at two years rather than one because it is better for their frame and allows for a better quality animal.
Joseph practices Intensive Rotational Grazing with his lamb. If he let his lamb eat freely on all of the land they would find the best small area of grass and then overeat the land while ignoring the rest of the grazing land. Joseph explained, "So then you are basically utilizing half of your pasture instead of all of it. They have access to everything but they are only grazing a certain percentage because they want the best" With intensive grazing, Joseph lets 200 ewes graze on a half acre and then moves the flock to a new spot daily.
Early success with 4-H projects gave Joseph the foundation and validation to pursue farming and purchase land.
Tamarack Sheep Farm - Corinth, VT
Ben Machin grew up in Vermont on a small organic homestead where his family grew their own food, and produced apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. After some years working for the US Forest Service as a Smokejumper, Ben came back to Vermont to study and work on various natural conservation projects. Eventually he rekindled his interest in farming. Raising sheep has been in Ben's blood for generations. His great-grandfather started a Tunis flock in the 1920s and then Ben's grandfather began to work with Dorset Horn sheet for a 4-H project. In 2006, Ben had a conversation with his grandfather, Herb, during Herb's final days that encouraged Ben to dedicate himself to revitalizing the family flock.
Grace Bowmer joined Ben in 2008 with a background in architecture, site design, landscaping and gardening. Together they purchased land and built a barn. They were ready to get serious about sheep. The Tamarack Sheep Farm is close to where Ben's parents live and he remains involved in his childhood homestead.
Our No Goat Left Behind Farms
Consider Bardwell Farm, VT
Consider Bardwell Farm is the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont, founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself. The farm spans 300-acres across the rolling hills of Vermont's Champlain Valley and easternmost Washington County, New York. As part of the "No Goat Left Behind" project, farm manager Peter Brooks is raising male bucklings on a 5-acre rocky hilltop pasture that is covered in wild honeysuckle, buckhorn, sumac, and locust saplings. The goats are allowed free-range access to pasture and an open barn. They roam about scampering along stonewalls and rock ledges.
The goats are Oberhasli, a dairy breed developed in the mountainous regions of Switzerland. They are brown, with hues between light tan and deep reddish brown and black spots. Oberhaslis have a friendly, gentle disposition and they are known as active and hardy goats.
Twig Farm, VT
Twig Farm is located in West Cornwall, Vermont. Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman operate the thirty-acre farm with a milking herd of about thirty-five does. Michael makes all of their cheese by hand, using traditional techniques and equipment for farmstead cheese production. Emily manages the business and marketing for the farm.
Their goats are Alpine. Their coats range from light to deep red bay or even grey. The bulk of their current diet is pasture and fresh hay.
Cotton Hill Creamery, NY
Cotton Hill Creamery has been producing fresh, delicious cheese from Alpine goats in the hills of Middleburgh, New York since 2009. Farmers Jon Franklin and Heather Kamin practice rotational grazing on their twelve-acre farm, so the goats always have fresh grass to eat. The goats' diet is supplemented with organically grown hay and spent grains from a neighbor's brewery, as well as lots of fresh air and sunshine. Their playtime consists of acrobatics atop some heavy old wire spools, frolicking in the fields, and hollering at passers-by.
Asgaard Dairy, NY
Asgaard, which means "farm of the gods" in Norse mythology, is the name given to the farm by it's founder Rockwell Kent, a renowned artist, writer, and farmer. Rockwell established the farm as his home in the early 1900s. David and Rhonda Brunner, the farms current owners, arrived in 1988.
Today, Asgaard Farm and Dairy is a family owned and operated farm that produces farmstead cheeses and other dairy, meat, and poultry products for the local community. The farm is set on 1,500 acres of fields and second growth forests in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The Brunner's have a boisterous herd of registered Alpine and Nubian and Saanens goats. The farm is focused on growing the number of Saanens, which are loved for their mild temperament and steady milk production.
The Brunner's goat program has expanded since last year to include multi-species rotational grazing, where the goats, cows and chickens rotate through the pastures, each preparing and cleaning the field for the next. In addition to pasture grazing, the goats also browse in the woods - foraging for food in the woods as nature intended. It has taken a lot of work to develop this system, but the the Brunner's are pleased to see the results in both the production and health of the goat heard.
Caz Acrez Farm, NY
Cindy and Larry Casavant started raising goats seven years ago as a project for their daughter Lydia. They raise a heard of Boer meat goats on a 1.5 acres. Lydia started with 2 goats and the herd has now grown to include 46 goats. The goats spend their days between the barn and pasture. Lately the goats love exploring the hilly part of the farm munching their way through goldenrod, sumac and nettles. Lydia, now 17, is spending more time showing her goats throughout New York State and took "Overall Meat Champion" for one of her goats at the Cobleskill "Sunshine" Fair. We are excited to have a few Boer goats so our chefs can compare this meat breed with the dairy animals as we learn more about what makes a great goat.
Strait Gait Farm, NY
Holly and John Phillips run Strait Gate Farm on 7-acres in Branchport, NY. They have a small herd of ninety meat and dairy goats. The goats roam on pasture and also feast on local hay and spent barley from a micro brewery located near Keuka Lake. The Phillips also raise chickens and pigs in addition to making cider and goat milk soap. Just in the past year, the Phillips have begun selling eggs, chicken and goat meat at their local farmers market.
Their dairy goats are Saanens. Saanens are one of the most popular dairy breeds in America. All white in color, they make for a striking image out on pasture. The breed is known for its above average milk production, large size, vitality and "eager to please" temperament. Their meat goats are Boers-a breed developed in South Africa known for its excellent growth rate and carcass qualities. The name is derived from the Dutch word "Boer," meaning farmer.
Highwood Farm, NY
Mark Baustian and Luce Guanzini have been farming since 1994. They raise a herd of Boer crosses in Spencer, NY. Although Boers are meat goats, Mark and Luce like to keep some dairy genetics in their herd, such as Nubian and Alpine, because they feel the increased milk production is good for the kids. The goats are pasture raised during the warm months and fed on hay during the winter. They also allow the goats to practice self-weaning, which they believe decreases the stress of the animals being separated from their mothers. While neither come from farming backgrounds, Mark and Luce connected years ago over their shared love of animals while pursuing degrees in Biology and Animal Science at Cornell, respectively. Luce now works at Cornell as a Veterinary Technologist.
Miz-inka Farm, NY
Miz-inka Farm has been in the Stickler family since 1929 when Jim's grandfather bought a small plot of land. Over the years the family has purchased additional acres until Jim and his wife, Ruth, took over in 1964. The family farm was a dairy farm so Jim started milking cows at age 12. Jim and Ruth maintained the dairy farm for about seven years and then started to raise goats in 2008.
Jim and Ruth Stickler raise Boer-Nubian crosses and pure bred Boer goats on their 365-acre farm. They also plant 90 acres of field crops every year, plus an acre or so of potatoes, which has kept them busy. They looked to goats as a tool for making the farm more sustainable, and because they are fun for the grandkids.
Jim and Jean Bright, NY
Jim and Jean Bright work with their local 4-H'ers to show their goats. The Brights raise Boer-Alpine crosses. They got into goats because Jean is lactose intolerant. They milk several does by hand and Jean has become a whiz at making fresh cheeses. Their three-acre farm is home to 21 goats, enough to keep them busy and have plenty of milk.
Seven Star Farm, NY
Joe and Dianne Michalak and their seven grand children, ages 4-16, run Seven Star Farm in Ticonderoga, NY. The farm started in 2011 and they currently raise a small heard of 21 Boer and Kiko crosses. Several of the granddaughters show the farm's goats and one recently won a blue ribbon and the Reserve Grand Championship at the Essex County Fair.
Hawk Hall Farm, NY
The goats at Hawk Hall farm in Trumansburg, NY are some of the luckiest around. They are raised by Tatiana Stanton the goat extension specialist for the state of NY. tatiana works out of Cornell University's Animal Science Department.
Happy Kids Farm, NY
Happy Kids Farm is owned by Patrick and Peggy McLenithan who raise a small heard of Boer goats in Cambridge, NY. They also have three adult llamas who act as watch dogs for the goats. Patrick is the auctioneer for Cambridge Valley Livestock, the regions primary livestock auction, you can see him in action every Tuesday night.
Swamp Hill Farm, NY
Swamp Hill Farm in Richfield Springs, NY is run by Karen Fisher and family. The Fisher’s raise a variety of dairy crosses: Swiss Alpine crossed with Saanen and Swiss Alpine crossed with Nubian.
The Rare Hare Barn
Eric and Callene Rapp are the owners of Rare Hare Barn in Leon, Kansas where they raise rare breed Heritage rabbits. Eric and Colleen are both extremely dedicated to the care and preservation of rare domestic species. Callene has a degree in agriculture and has been on the board of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy since 2003. She also holds the title of senior zookeeper at the children's farm at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. Eric had also worked at the zoo up until February of this year when he left his job to care for the rabbits at their own farm full time. Eric's passion for rabbits started on the farm that he grew up on. Eric and Callene began raising rabbits about four years ago for the main purpose of providing their family with high quality, healthy and great tasting protein.
Eric and Callene raise their rabbits in the most humane way possible making sure that the rabbit pens are large enough to allow the animals to move around and get exercise as well as stand up and stretch. The barn has plenty of windows that provide a nice view as well as ventilation and air circulation to assure that the rabbits are always cool and comfortable.
Eric and Callene truly enjoy how engaging the rabbits are. Each morning Eric brings the rabbits fresh greens from the garden, usually kale. According to Callene as soon as the rabbits see Eric coming with the greens they get all excited and start thumping around. Aside from the garden greens the rabbits have access to hay for roughage and are given a supplement of grain-oat pellets to enhance their diet. These rare breed rabbits are never fed any growth stimulants, antibiotics or animal by-products of any kind.
The Rapps have found that there is a large network of Heritage rabbit growers in Indiana where they have taken many road trips to select their breeding stock. They are lucky to have found breeders that have been raising these rare breed rabbits for over 20 years.
Eric and Callene are about an hour and a half from Krehbiel's Specialty Meats where the rabbits are brought for slaughtering. For the trip the rabbits are loaded into pens specially designed for comfortable traveling and are driven in a horse trailer with their familiar pen-mates so that the rabbits never experience any stress along the way.
The rabbits are brought to market when they are about 12 weeks old. The Rapps are definitely able to notice a distinct difference in the color and taste of the meat of the two different breeds they are currently bringing to market. The meat of the Blanc de Hotot tends to be light pink in color and a bit paler than the meat of the American rabbit. Both breeds offer a delicate taste and have a fine grain making the meat very easy to digest.
Our American Tuna comes from six hook-and-line fishing families at American Tuna of southern California. Fishing with hook-and-line is the only way to ensure both the best taste and the humane treatment of fish. Only the finest center cuts of this fatty fish are filleted and hand-packed, cooked in their own juices which provides a deep buttery flavor and creamy texture. The American Tuna fishermen catch tuna that are 2-5 years old, so the mercury level in them is minimal to non-existent. Omega-3 rich, lean, protein-packed, with no carbohydrates, no additives, no fillers, no broth or water, this tuna truly deserves the Heritage label. It is "once-cooked" in its own natural juices so you can eat it right out of the can.
Only the finest center cuts of this fatty fish are filleted and hand-packed, cooked in their own juices which provides a deep buttery flavor and creamy texture. The American Tuna fishermen catch tuna that are 2-5 years old, so the mercury level in them is minimal to non-existent. Omega-3 rich, lean, protein-packed, with no carbohydrates, no additives, no fillers, no broth or water, this tuna truly deserves the Heritage label. It is "once-cooked" in its own natural juices so you can eat it right out of the can.
While Albacore tuna may not be endangered per se, the methods used by American Tuna certainly are. It is those methods and attention to detail that give the tuna such an incredible flavor. Only the finest hook-and-line caught Gourmet #1 Sashimi grade Albacore fillets hailing from the Pacific waters off the coast of San Diego, California and Oregon are used for American Tuna canned tuna.
Omega-3 rich, lean, and protein-packed: Albacore is good for your health!
Our anchovies are Slow Food endorsed and hand crafted by our very own Serena Di Liberto’s father and brother, Saro and Gianluca, who have been in the business for over 30 years. Each one of these beautiful glass jars is painstakingly hand-packed with plump anchovies cured in the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil to preserve the fresh flavors of the fish. We are so proud to have received a shipment direct from the artisan plant in Bra, Italy!Terrific right out of the jar, they are sensational over buttered bread. Anchovies have been traditionally used to add depth of flavor to food since Roman times. Almost everything can be improved with the addition of an anchovy whether in a salad (the Caesar in particular), on a pizza, in pasta, or in any fish dish. They infuse a radical undertone to dips or spreads such as a tapenade, bagna cauda, or caponata.
These little fish will totally and absolutely redefine your perception of anchovies. Our anchovies are fished from the waters of Sicily while the olive oil is from Umbria.
Iliamna Fish Company
The Iliamna Fish Company is a hardworking crew of native Alaskan fishermen who spend their summer months touring the fishery located deep within Bristol Bay, Alaska in search of fresh sockeye salmon.
Heritage Foods USA is proud to be working with the Iliamna Fish Company, a family of 25 immediate and extended relatives that has been fishing the pristine Pacific Northwest waters since 1948. Three of the fishing families live in Alaska full time while the rest spends winters all across the United States. Every June and July all the fishermen dutifully return to the healthy Bristol Bay waters where they spend many days on the boat waiting for the influx of salmon that helps sustain the community during the long off-season.
The sockeye salmon come from the deepest part of Bristol Bay, Alaska known as Nakneck. The rich flesh of these fish is a deep scarlet to persimmon red color and imparts a slightly sweet taste, a characteristic that can be attributed to the salmon's journey from salt to fresh water.
Iliamna Fish Company has built the fishery on responsible marine practices and sustainable harvesting techniques. The fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council thanks to a strong commitment from the fishermen to protect and promote the natural resources that preserve their livelihood.
The only way they fish is by setting nets, which are a lot like a sheet hanging on a clothesline floating in the wind. Part of the sheet floats on top while the remainder is anchored at the bottom and drifts with the current. The tide creates a basket that collects the fish, a spectacle often referred to as a "wall of salmon" that swims in the shallow water where the Iliamna fishermen waiting for the catch in their four-foot deep, twenty-foot long boats, carefully pull the net up and gently retrieve the sockeye. Each salmon is then bled by hand and submerged in a 33°F ice bath before it is brought to shore. Within six hours the fish are cleaned, inspected, packed and ready to be shipped to home chefs and restaurants all around the United States.
Our world-class cured meats are long-aged to guarantee a flavor profile that best reflects the characteristics specific to free ranged Heritage pork. Many great American cure masters work closely with us to bring you some of the best bacon, salumi and hams in the world.
We believe a local source for charcuterie has the duel benefit of launching new American terroirs while relieving those in Europe that are overtaxed because of high demand.
S. Wallace Edwards & Sons
In 1926 S. Wallace Edwards, young captain of the Jamestown-Scotland ferryboat, began serving ham sandwiches to his ferry passengers .... sandwiches made from ham the salt-cured and hickory, smoked on his family farm.
The demand for his ham grew so quickly that Captain Edwards soon began curing and selling hams on a full-time basis. Meanwhile, his young wife, Oneita, contributed from home by cooking hams and raising their two children, Oneita Mae and Wallace Jr. As word of the "Edwards Virginia Ham" spread, the young Edwards family began shipping their products throughout the country.
Today, Edwards smokehouses are still located in Surry County, Virginia close to the spot where the Indians first taught the English colonists the secret of bringing out the full flavor in meats through cure. The Edwards family has been honored to demonstrate their art of curing hams at the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival, and received many State Fair of Virginia Blue Ribbon and Grand Champion awards.
Over the last 81 years, Edwards' emphasis has always been on quality, not quantity. S. Wallace Edwards and Sons (second and third generation) remains a thriving family business dedicated to producing the finest quality smoked meat products.
Edwards works closely with Heritage Foods USA and its Certified Huamane Berkshire farmers to develop its Cured Surryano style Hams, which age for at least 16 to 18 months. This is as good as any cured meats from Europe. We applaud Sam for steering his business to include the most sustainable proteins you can find in these hams and also in bacon and sausage.
Sam III is one of Heritage’s biggest buyers and sits on our Advisory Board. His son Sam IV is learning the art from his father.
Samuel W. Edwards III became involved with his family's 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 Olga's foozball emporium and pool hall.
Located in the heart of Seattle's historic pioneer square district, Salumi Artisan Cured Meats brings to the Pacific Northwest a new concept based on some very old ideas. Drawing inspiration form the traditional Italian Slaumeria, Salumi is an artisan's factory equipped to produce the highest quality gourmet cured meats and other traditional foods. Their state of the art curing facility has been custom designed with space-age materials and processes to provide a level of artistic and process control unavailable to previous generations of Salumists. But Salumi is more than a place where wonderful foods are created and sold. It's also a place dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the handmade food traditions of Italy and the Mediterranean.
Salumi is the retirement dream for co-founder and Principal Salumist, Armandino Batali. His maternal grandfather, Angelo Merlino, opened the first Italian food import store in Seattle in 1903. A century later and only a block from that original site, Armandino works with generations of family cooking traditions. Armandino's 31 year career as a Process Control Engineer at Boeing plus a lifetime in the kitchen and 2 years in the formal study of meat curing and cooking make Armandino uniquely qualified to produce artisan products that also exceed stringent modern-day food processing requirements. With Marilyn Batali, wife and co-founder, Salumi has grown from a small neighborhood deli to a well-known stop on the Seattle culinary scene.
Benton's Country Hams
Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams are slow cured using salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite and typically aged 9-10 months, though hams are available 1 year and older. This time-honored practice dates back to the era of our forefathers, when the preparation and preservation of meat was a way of life and sustenance. Although the hands of time and technology have sculpted many aspects of our modern world, at Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams we have upheld the traditional dry-curing process and are striving to produce world class country hams and bacon.
Benton's was started in 1947 by the late Albert H. Hicks, a dairy farmer who began curing and selling country hams out of a building in his backyard. Allan Benton, a former high school guidance counselor, took over the business in 1973 and relocated it to the present location on US Hwy 411 near Madisonville, TN.
Out of this modest, painted block building, Allan Benton and his employees have honed the dry-curing of hams and bacon into a culinary art and have catapulted the products from a simple breakfast mainstay into the world of gourmet cooking, where they have been praised for their characteristic flavor. Most recently, Benton's prosciutto, a domestic version of the renowned prosciutto specialty hams of Parma, Italy, has grown rapidly in popularity and has been featured in a broad spectrum of high-end restaurants, as well as in a number of magazines and other food publications.
Country Ham...Smokehouse aged, naturally cured, a Kentucky ham handcrafted by "the Ham Lady"... Newsom's crafts a traditional smokehouse country ham and an aged prosciutto type ham. Newsom's ham was honored to participate in the 5th World Congress of Dry Cured Hams in Aracena, Spain, in May '09 and a two-year-old Newsom's ham was encased for continuing display in the Jamon Museum there... the only ham in the United States of America to be invited.
Among the finest dry-cured hams the world has to offer, Newsom's authentic aged Kentucky country ham is a gourmet and country delicacy. Newsom's also offers smoked sausage, smoked bacon, preserves, breakfast mixes, sorghum molasses, dressings, relish, cookbooks from the Amish and others, wild unprocessed honey, gourmet pickled vegetables, candies and cobbler in a jar. Selections from the many popular items at our working country store are available through our internet store or by contacting us personally. Nancy started buying Heritage Foods USA hams in 2009.
The meaning of Anishnaabeg is "First-" or "Original-Peoples". Another definition refers to "the good humans", or good people, meaning those who are on the right road/path given to them by the Creator (Great Spirit).
Our friend and a Heritage Foods USA Advisory Board member Winona La Duke is who introduced us to the delicious products of the Northern Minnesota Lake regions. While we carry many products from this group it is their wild rice that is by far the most popular. This is one of the few rice varieties that is truly wild. Winona is working to protect the wild label for producers that truly raise the grain on open lakes.
Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard
Our Heritage pawpaws come from the rolling hills of Carroll county Maryland at the Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard in Westminister where Jim Davis has been raising these fruits for almost 10 years! There are seven named varieties of pawpaw he produces including the Shenandoah, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania Golden and the Allegheny, which is great in ice-cream. Each fruit will be marked so that you know what you are eating.
The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit that is native to the United States. Pawpaws are indigenous to 26 states in the US, in a range extending from northern Florida to southern Ontario and as far west as eastern Nebraska.
They have provided delicious and nutritious food for Native Americans, European explorers, settlers and wild animals. They are still being enjoyed in modern America, chiefly in rural areas. There are more than 27 varieties currently available.
The unique flavor of the fruit resembles a blend of various tropical flavors, including banana, pineapple and mango. The common names, 'poor man's banana', 'American custard pie', and 'Kentucky banana' reflect these qualities.
Iroquois White Corn
Iroquois White Corn is an heirloom corn variety that has been a traditional staple of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) diet for 2,000 years. Heritage Foods USA is working with the Iroquois White Corn Project in the Finger Lake Region to revive Iroquois White Corn as part of a traditional Native American diet and provide a sustainable market for Haudenosaunee farmers.
All Iroquois White Corn Products originate from corn seeds that descended from seeds planted in the 1600s. The seed has been carefully managed and protected by Haudenosaunee farmers for 2,000 years to keep the genetics pure. Iroquois White Corn has not been genetically modified. The Iroquois White Corn is hand harvested, dried, and roasted.
The whole kernel hulled and roasted corn flour are aromatic with a slightly nutty flavor, adding a depth of flavor to your tortillas, corn bread, posole, vegetable soup, muffins or cookies. The fresh white corn flour has an earthy taste, providing a mild alternative for baking. All of the Iroquois White Corn products deliver a whole grain, gluten free alternative to traditional flour.
The Iroquois White Corn Project is located at the Ganondagan State Historic Site, the location of a major 17th-century New York State Seneca town and granary. Purchase of this Iroquois White Corn product will support the Friends of Ganondagan, who in turn support Ganondagan State Historic Site. The not-for-profit educational organization educates visitors about the cultural, nutritional, and spiritual importance of white corn to the Haudenosaunee people. Hundreds of years ago, this town was a vibrant center for the Seneca nation and the Iroquois White Corn Project allows for white corn to grow again in those same fields. Experience this Native American traditional food today and support the New York State Iroquois nation.