HERITAGE FOOD PRODUCERS AND PROCESSORS

We believe the best way to help a family farmer is to buy from him.

"Taste, like identity, has value only when there are differences" – Carlo Petrini

Heritage Foods USA was formed in 2001 as the sales and marketing arm for Slow Food USA, a non-profit organization founded by Patrick Martins and dedicated to celebrating regional cuisines and products. The Heritage Turkey Project, which helped double the population of heritage turkeys in the United States and upgraded the Bourbon Red turkey from "rare" to "watch" status on conservation lists, was Heritage Foods USA's first foray into saving American food traditions. In 2004 it became an independent company.

Today Heritage Foods USA processes 200 genetically sound, antibiotic free and pasture raised pigs each and every week, come rain or shine, from 40 farmers that hail from the Midwest and New York. We also process 7,500 heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving and a few hundred head of cattle a year. We sell to wholesale accounts and via e-commerce to home chefs. We must eat these foods to save them.

We are proud combatants in the fight to promote difference and diversity in a marketplace dominated by monocultures. In this kind of marketplace, animals raised on pasture without antibiotics are hard to come by, as are rare and heritage genetics that evolved naturally rather than from laboratories designed for meat production and fast growth.

Pork Heritage Chicken
 

Berkshire

Lamb
  Red Wattle  

Tunis

  Duroc   Katahdin
  Tamworth    
  Gloucestershire Old Spot

Ducks and Geese and Guinea

  Large Black

Goat

  Mule Foot Rabbit
Processors

Fish (Salmon, Trigger Fish, Tuna)

Heritage Turkey

Bison

Beef

Curemasters

 

Piedmontese

Native Foods

  Angus and Hereford

Cheese

  Highland    
  Ancient White Park    
  Akaushi    

PORK

Berkshire Pork

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.

Our Certified Humane Berkshires are raised by a group of small family farmers in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. We know our Berkshires are purebred because they all have six white spots, one each on the tip of their feet and one each on the nose and tail. Unlike factory farm pigs, which have been bred to grow quickly in indoor environments, Berkshires have bred for maximum taste. Berkshire meat is so good it can be prepared with almost no additional ingredients save salt and pepper.

HERITAGE Foods USA Berkshire Farms:

Lazy S. Farm

Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970 when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller but they still maintain true biodiversity. Madonna fondly recalls how Larry would often return home with a surprise in his truck - once a few lambs, another time a beautiful horse. The couple raises numerous heritage breeds including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin and CVM-Columbian crossed lamb, work horses and several pig varieties including Red Wattle, Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Mule Foot, and a few Large Blacks.

After working with hogs his whole life, Larry retired only to be tempted back into the business when Heritage Foods USA was looking for a farmer to raise Red Wattle hogs. Larry and Madonna drove 18,000 miles over the course of 3-4 months to purchase true Red Wattle hogs from known farmers to start his herd.

In addition to numerous heritage breeds, Madonna and Larry's home have also raised nine children, 23 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

Lazy S. Farms provides Red Wattle, Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Mule Foot, and a few Large Black pigs as well as Highland cattle for Heritage Foods USA.


BERKSHIRE PIG SOUNDS


BERKSHIRE PIGS AT LAZY S FARMS


LARRY AND MADONNA SORELL


BERKSHIRE PIGS AT LAZY S FARMS

Holthaus Farm

David Holthaus is an avid and experienced community farmer who has been raising pigs and cattle on his 500 acres in Decorah, Iowa since 1974. He currently backgrounds Holstein cattle for the many farms that make up the dairy country in Northeast Iowa in addition to the 700 Berkshire pigs he has on pasture and feed at any given time. We applaud David Holthaus for becoming Certified Humane for Heritage Foods USA and its customers.

David takes pride in bedding his pigs very deeply in corn stalks and straw bailed on the farm. The stalks and straw are then cleaned out of the barn and returned to the land for fertilizer to raise corn and hay for the next year.

These Berkshires are housed in traditional northeast Iowa farm building, open barns with access to the outdoors at all times.

David is also raises corn for the cattle raised on his farm or is delivered to the local feed mills.


Decorah Iowa


David Holthaus


Holthaus Farm


Holthaus Berkshires

Norton Farm

Brothers David and Wesley Norton along with David's son, Eric, run Norton Farm in Plattsburg, MO. We met the Nortons through our friends at Paradise Locker Meats. Norton Farm is a third generation farm that raises Berkshire pigs and Angus cattle as well as farms 2,800 acres of corn, beans and wheat.

Since David was 9 years old he knew he wanted to come back to farm and raise hogs and after graduating from the University of Missouri, that is just what he did. David and Wesley's father lost a good portion of the farm in the Great Depression but the family has worked hard to re-build the land and livestock back to where it used to be. The Norton Family has always raised their pigs outside, and we applaud them for steering their operation to full-bred Berkshire genetics. His son, Eric, explained, "A new generation requires new farming methods." The pigs are fed a no-antibiotics/animal by-product feed.

Eric returned to the farm at age 18 and plans to raise pigs until he retires. He loves being outdoors and watching the pigs grow.


Eric Norton


Pigs at Norton Farm


Sow at Norton Farm

Keevhaver Farm

Brothers Matt (24) and Brian (26) Keevhaver are part of a new generation of young farmers. Keevhaver Farm is located very close to Paradise Locker Meats in the "Show Me" State of Missouri. In fact, the Keevhaver Farm first came to our attention when Matt brought a few of his 4-H hogs into Paradise Locker Meats during high school. Keevhaver Farm is a third generation farm that raises Berkshire pigs and Angus cattle as well as corn, soybeans and wheat. The brothers have worked the land since they were young, gaining a "hands on" education from their father.

The brothers have been adjusting the farming practices of their farm to include more 100% Berkshire pigs raised outdoors. Just this past year the brothers built a new hoop building to raise better quality pigs in a more comfortable environment.


Pigs at Keevhaver Farm


The Keevhaver Brothers

Baker Farm

Trent and Troy Baker of Kiron, Iowa bring is some of the most beautiful pigs we have ever seen. These Berkshire pigs are pure gold according to our chefs and to Paradise Locker who sees every pig that Heritage Foods USA processes. The Bakers raise their pigs outdoors and are always working to improve the quality of the genetics on the farm. Over time the Bakers will grow their farm to supply even more restaurants with delicious tasting pork.


Red Wattle Pork

Red Wattle meat is charmingly inconsistent and can be earthy, vegetal and herbaceous. Its expressive porky flavor is concentrated, edgy and even racy.

The Red Wattle pig populated the backyards of New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries where it was bred to stand up to the strong and flavorful Creole cuisine. These gentle Red hogs are noted foragers and when allowed to roam their meat develops traces of the forage of their locale.

Originally the Red Wattle hails from New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and is one of the few pigs raised in the United States not from Western Europe. The Red Wattle is the only pig left in the world that still has a wattle hanging from its jowl. The Red Wattle is considered critically endangered with an estimated global population less than 2,000. Buying and eating our Red Wattle pork is a key to preserving diversity in the livestock supply and supporting Certified Humane family farms like Lazy Ranch in Glasco, Kansas.

Heritage Red Wattle Farms:

Lazy S. Farm


Red Wattle Sow and Piglet at Lazy S Farm


Red Wattle Pig at Lazy S Farm

Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970 when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller but they still maintain true biodiversity. Madonna fondly recalls how Larry would often return home with a surprise in his truck - once a few lambs, another time a beautiful horse. The couple raises numerous heritage breeds including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin and CVM-Columbian crossed lamb, work horses and several pig varieties including Red Wattle, Old Spot and a few Old Blacks.

After working with hogs his whole life, Larry retired only to be tempted back into the business when Heritage Foods USA was looking for a farmer to raise Red Wattle hogs. Larry and Madonna drove 18,000 miles over the course of 3-4 months to purchase true Red Wattle hogs from known farmers to start his herd.

The Sorells raise the best Red Wattle pig in the country and sell 100% of them to Heritage Foods USA. With increased demand and the hard work of the Sorells, the Red Wattle will find its niche in the 21st century, even if it does not conform to the unnatural needs of industrial agriculture. True Red Wattle hogs have two wattles hanging from their cheek, a powerful reminder of their wild ancestry. Larry explains that all hog breeds had the wattle before it was bred out of them. Thanks to Larry's hard work he has managed to obtain numerous rare breed genetics on his farm.

In addition to numerous heritage breeds, Madonna and Larry's home have also raised nine children, 23 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

Lazy S. Farms provides Red Wattle, Old Spot, a few Old Blacks pigs as well as Highland cattle for Heritage Foods USA.


Duroc Pork

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!

Good Farms


Duroc Boar at Good Farms


Duroc Hogs at Good Farms


Duroc Gilts at Good Farms


Good Farms

For more than 50 years, Craig Good has worked with livestock at Good Farms, located at the northern edge of the Kansas Flint Hills in Olsburg, KS. Historically, this area was known as the last vestige of the Tall Grass Prairie- a fertile strip of grasslands that supported untold numbers of bison in our country's formative years. Given its history, Craig's father, Don, bought the farm in 1961. Don quickly became a nationally recognized authority on beef cattle - an honor that has been passed down to Craig through hard work and close attention to genetic refinement. Early on, Craig took an interest in the family business, and after graduating with a degree in Animal Science from Kansas State, he began working for a pure-bred swine breeder. In 1981, Craig and his wife, Amy, decided to move back to the family farm to focus on raising heritage breed hogs and 100% pure Angus cattle.

The Good Farm is a diversified farm, raising several heritage breeds of hog, 100% Angus cattle and various crops. The farm is small in comparison to most pig farmers so the couple can focus on quality and a strong genetic program. Craig explained, "in recent years, with the evolution of the large, mega swine farms, Good Farms has resisted the trend to grow large. We choose not to follow that trend because we feel that true quality is achieve by working with detail and care in breeding our hogs. Not just cranking numbers and pounds off the farm." Working with Heritage Foods USA allows the Goods to make a living while staying on the smaller size.

The Goods are selective with their breeding, working to create the best possible next generation of swine. Craig and Amy focus on raising Duroc hogs and 100% Angus cattle. In addition to the Duroc, Craig and Amy raise a small number of Old Spots and also have a few rare Spot Rock pigs which are a cross between Old Spots and Duroc pigs. For a number of years the couple raised Yorkshire but decided to focus their attention on Duroc because they are noted for their good growth rates, "muscle quality and good eating quality."

During a recent visit to his farm, Craig told the Heritage Foods USA team that his favorite place on the farm is the hoop building surrounded by his pigs. "I've loved pigs ever since I was in 4H back when I was thirteen years old. Some people don't like pigs but I do... we love to take care of the pigs. I like to think of it as a really good relationship between us and our pigs."

Craig and Amy feel a strong responsibility to our nation as farmers. Craig says, "We are proud of our place in the farm economy and hope that we can continue to serve the producers that have been true to us over the years. We feel that the family farm has been a true asset to America and we strive to work together with our fellow producers to remain a viable part of the future. We have a strong commitment to produce pigs that are of the highest quality possible."

Good Farm provides Duroc, a few Spot Rock pigs and 100% Angus cows to Heritage Foods USA.


Tamworth Pork

Tamworth meat is robust and gutsy 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 the pork equivalent of a red beer. A safe food supply is a diverse food supply so the Tamworth's presence on the Threatened list means that demand is needed to preserve this delicious breed. The Tamworth is a hearty and strong animal making it an excellent candidate for a growing urban farm movement around the United States. Our Tamworths are raised in Kansas and in upstate New York.

Metzger Farm

Doug Metzger works his 1500-acre farm, which grows corn, sorghum, wheat, alfalfa, oats, barley, Reese turkeys (he has worked with turkeys since 1951) and pigs with wife Betty, son Mark, daughter Marilyn, son in law Stan and their three kids. Farming has become more challenging for Doug in recent years as he struggles to remain independent in an era of commercialization. "The chicken industry and the turkey industry went the way of industry," Doug explains, " and I'm working hard so that the same doesn't happen to the pork industry". Doug has raised purebred, certified Berkshire pigs since 1954 and learned the art from his grandfather Fred, father Wilhelm and father-in-law Japhet. These elder statesmen also taught Doug how to raise the now endangered Tamworth pig (as of 1961) and the Hampshire pig.

Fred Metzger was born 1885 in Lamar, Missouri to a family who had recently moved to the United States from Germany. Fred moved to Hancock, Minnesota when he was 10 and then to Larchwood, Iowa around 1900. Fred lived to be 104 and according to one source, had more living descendents than anyone alive in the United States with 368. Fred's son Wilhelm was born in 1911 and moved to Kansas in 1933 after he met and married the beautiful Julia Meyer. Julia's father Japhet Meyer owned the farm where the Metzgers live to this day.

Doug currently raises certified Berkshire and Tamworth pigs. For the past three years Doug has sold his Berkshires to the Japanese market. But Doug hopes that rising interest in Berkshire pigs will help him lay the foundation for a domestic market and allow him to expand production to include other local Kansas farmers. Making enough money to get by is the hardest aspect of farming for Doug and is the greatest obstacle to allowing his grandchildren to continue the work of four generation of Metzgers.


Gloucestershire Old Spot

The Gloucestershire Old Spot (GOS) has the milkiest fat of any pig breed we have ever tasted. Listed as critically endangered, we must eat these pigs and create a market for them in order to save them. The breed was developed in the Berkeley Vale of Gloucestershire, England, during the 1800s where they often grazed in the fruit orchards and ate up up the fallen fruit. 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 and they are currently on the "Critical" List maintained by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
The GOS has a distinct layer of backfat and marbling within the meat making it the bacon pig of choice for many. The Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is also a favorite of farmers and both Lazy S. Farms and Good Farms raise GOS pigs.

Good Farm


Gloucestershire Old Spots at Good Farm

"My family has been involved with agriculture for many generations. We have had this farm in Olsburg since 1964. We are a diversified farm, raising purebred hogs, purebred Angus cattle and various crops. I have worked with pigs and cattle since my 4-H projects in the mid 1960's. Following graduation from Kansas State University in 1975 I worked for another purebred swine breeder for 5 years. Amy (my wife) and I decided to move back to the farm in Olsburg in 1981."

Lazy S Farm


Gloucestershire Old Spot and Red Wattle piglets at Lazy S Farms


Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs at Lazy S. Farms


Larry Sorell and Gloucestershire Old Spot Sow at Lazy S. Farms

Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970 when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller but they still maintain true biodiversity. Madonna fondly recalls how Larry would often return home with a surprise in his truck - once a few lambs, another time a beautiful horse. The couple raises numerous heritage breeds including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin and CVM-Columbian crossed lamb, work horses and several pig varieties including Red Wattle, Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spot and a few Old Blacks.


Large Black

The Large Black is a favorite of farmers who appreciate the breed's intellect and docility. Its strength, hardiness, and ability to forage make it a valuable asset for pasture-based farming. The breed, native to southwestern England, gained popularity in the 1800s as farmers began to see that the animal could easily turn poor-quality feed into large quantities of high-quality meat. The Large Black's physical characteristics - its dark skin and large ears - make it stand out in terms of appearance and efficiency: its dark skin protects it from sunburn during long hours of grazing, and its long ears shield its eyes from dirt while foraging. Large Blacks are also known for their lean consistency; however, they lack the excess back fat found in the GOS.

Lazy S Farm


Large Black at Lazy S Farm


Large Black Sow at Lazy S Farm

Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970 when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller but they still maintain true biodiversity on the farm,The couple raises numerous heritage breeds including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin and CVM-Columbian crossed lamb, work horses and several pig varieties including Red Wattle, Old Spot and Large Blacks. The Large Black is a new addition to the farm and they are growing fast.


Mule Foot

Lazy S Farm


Mulefoot at Lazy S Farm


Mulefoot Family at Lazy S Farm

Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970 when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller but they still maintain true biodiversity on the farm,The couple raises numerous heritage breeds including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin and CVM-Columbian crossed lamb, work horses and several pig varieties including Red Wattle, Old Spot and Large Blacks. Mule Foots have feet shaped like a mule. Their meat is cherished but little has been written about its taste.


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ABATTOIR

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


Birdseye of Cutting Room Floor at Paradise Locker Meats


Netting Hams at Paradise Locker Meats


Butchering at Paradise Locker Meats


The Fantasma Family
at Paradise Locker Meats

Paradise Locker Meats is family-owned and operated meat processing plant and retail shop in Trimble, Missouri. In business since 1995, the Fantasma Family (Mario, his wife Teresa, and sons Louis & Nick) have gained a reputation for providing quality meat products and practicing humane killing. Paradise Locker's facility is both USDA inspected and Certified Humane. They supply meat to some of the best restaurants in the country through Heritage Foods USA and the growing Kansas City market. The Fantasmas are also great curers of hams, belly and chops. Their line of award-winning sausages are created from family recipes that trace back to pre-World War II Europe.

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 and Teresa jumped at the opportunity to own their own shop. Mario and Teresa took over Paradise in 1995 strictly as a custom cut shop with a very small "retail" section consisting of a single freezer. Their sons, Louis and Nick, started helping the family by cleaning up after their school day at age 15 and 13 respectively. In 2002, the facility caught fire and much of the structure was destroyed. Mario was forced to rebuild on new land in the nearby town of Trimble, but kept the name "Paradise" to let the community know that he would continue his work with local ranchers and farmers.

When Mario rebuild on 5 acres a year later, he "was planning on doing 10 hogs and 10 beef a week which is a pretty good number for a small plant." The family added a smokehouse to do a little cooking and develop select smoked products. Soon, Mario was contacted by Doug Metzger, a hog farmer near Seneca, Kansas, who was already working with Heritage Foods USA. We were looking for a processing plant that was USDA-inspected and Paradise decided to take the next step in their history. In 2004, the Fantasma family switched the business from a state-inspected facility to a federally inspected one. This change allowed Paradise to ship across state lines and process out-of-state animals.

The first Heritage Foods USA order was for 20 hogs for mail order customers. Over the next two years, this standing order grew to 60 hogs a week as we added whole sale to the operation. As the orders grew and grew, the Fantasma family finally decided to take a risk and stop breaking down whole deer to focus on the heritage hogs business with Heritage Foods USA. Patrick Martins explained, "They had to give deer season up in the hope that this kind of restaurant supported agriculture would stay." We are proud to say that it has only become stronger.

Paradise takes humane slaughter very seriously. The pigs and cattle that go through the facility are treated with the utmost care and respect. During a recent visit to the facility, Louis showed the Heritage Foods USA team the misting fan in the hog pen for summer time to keep them comfortable. "I remember the misting fan arrived, and I was putting it together," Louis said. "Our slaughter guys asked if we got a misting fan for the kill floor. I laughed and told them, 'No, it's for the hog pen outside.' But that is how we look at it. We really take care of our hogs around here." Paradise's hogs are cut to order and the facility focuses on one breed at a time to be sure customers know exactly what breed they are receiving.

Paradise Locker Meats has grown a great deal alongside local farmers and Heritage Foods USA. Over the past decade, the operation has grown from five to 25 employees, and it has also played an important role in reviving the Kansas City food community of local farmers and restaurants. Mario feels that "as a slaughter house, we give the local chefs an opportunity to utilize the products from the farmers... enabling them to use more local products on their menus." Paradise also boasts a continually growing retail outlet in the front of the plant.

On a recent visit to Paradise, Mario told the Heritage Foods USA team that their relationship "opened the doors for so many things. Now there are farmers markets that are opened up. People are wanting to raise their animals, have it processed, take it right to the market and sell it themselves. Heritage really helped us grow in that aspect."

Paradise Locker Meats process 150 hogs a week and several cattle for Heritage Foods USA.

Eagle Bridge

We're very honored to be working with Eagle Bridge Custom Meats in upstate New York for the processing of our local pigs and all our dairy goats from the Northeast. More information coming soon.

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TURKEY

Over the past decade, Heritage Foods USA has been a leader in the food revolution in the United States. Selling Heritage Breed Turkeys is just one aspect of our work in supporting American agriculture in the form of traditional family farms, and careful stewardship of our national resources. Nothing exemplifies the spirit of our commitment more than our Heritage birds for Thanksgiving.

We want all our customers to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. We at Heritage have much to be grateful for. With the ongoing support of our customer base, we are able sustain 40 family farms, with more being added every month. We have helped to preserve an area roughly the size of Manhattan for traditional agriculture!

Most importantly, our work in encouraging farmers to raise heritage breeds, whether poultry, pork, beef, or lamb, makes a significant contribution toward maintaining our national agricultural bio-diversity, an essential element to the overall food safety of our nation.

The methods used by commodity farming represent a hidden and incalculable cost to the consumer. Selling good, clean food at a fair price that reflects the true cost of responsible husbandry is the principal goal of Heritage Foods USA. You are participating in one of the most important movements of our time with your continued support of small and medium sized American farms.

Our turkeys are produced by Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch and Leaping Waters Farm. Frank Reese and his team at Good Shepherd essentially introduced a gastronomic meaning to the word "heritage" in the English language! This year we are also delighted to introduce the Bradford Family of Leaping Waters Farm as a new producer of Heritage Breed turkeys. Leaping Waters Farm is situated on the beautiful Route 81 in Virginia - a nexus of small farms bubbling with potential for raising heritage breeds.

Heritage Turkeys come from bloodlines dating back to the mid 1800s. The unbelievable flavor of the white and dark meat has been heralded by the greatest chefs of our time. So remember to order your Heritage Turkey early!

Heritage Turkeys arrive the Tuesday before Thanksgiving via FedEx.

Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch


Bourbon Red Turkey at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch


Narragansett Turkeys at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch


White Holland Turkeys at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch


Standard Bronze Turkeys at Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch

Since 2002 a partnership between Heritage Foods USA and Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch has led to one of the greatest conservation success stories of this decade and a future for the most delicious tasting turkey in America.

By buying a Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch Heritage Turkey you are supporting a network of independent growers, preserving endangered lines of turkey breeds that you must eat in order to save, and ensuring humane animal treatment: our turkey farms are the first to receive Animal Welfare Institute's Animal Welfare Approved certification.

GSTR today consists of a network of family farms which you can read about below.

Frank Reese

Frank Reese is considered the God Father of American poultry. Frank joined 4-H at an early age, began keeping his own turkeys at about age five, won his first Kansas State Turkey Championship in 1955 and his first National Turkey Championship in 1974.

Frank, a fourth generation poultry farmer from Lindsborg, Kansas, has always had a keen interest in American Heritage Turkeys. On a recent visit to his ranch, Frank told the Heritage Foods USA team, "the main mission of our company is genetic preservation. Every decision we make is built around how to help preserve this bird into the future." Frank is a founding member of the All-American Turkey Growers' Association and a lifetime member of the National Poultry Association. He is also the only licensed turkey judge for the American Poultry Association. The New York Times' Kim Severson writes of Frank: "Only someone with a trained eye can pick the best toms and hens to breed and Mr. Reese is considered the best of the few people in the country who can do it. He is also the only one with a flock whose genetic line can be traced back to the late 1800s." His operation has been certified by the National Poultry Improvement Program since 1974. His turkey farm was also the first turkey farm to be certified by the prestigious Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

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 breeds and raises old lines of standard turkey and chicken with expertise, care and respect. Franks focuses not only on providing a comfortable environment but also on genetics, a rarity in the poultry industry. Frank explained, "it is not the antibiotics. It is not the hormones. It is not the feed. It is the genetically engineered animal" that makes the difference. He works hard to communicate the importance of genetic preservation in the poultry industry and calls attention to more than just animal welfare issues.As Frank says, "90% of all suffering of animals is because of the genetics chosen."

Frank is an extremely skilled breeder who has brought several varieties of poultry back from the brink of extinction. To explain the process, Frank says, "I do selective breeding, but it is that the philosophy behind what I do that is different. I want a balanced healthy animal that can survive. That doesn't need antibiotics. That can live a long time. I take into consideration for it to be able to pasture and move and naturally mate. The industry does selective breeding with none of that in consideration. It is about 2 things. Rate of growth and feed conversion... industry motivations has do with marketing and money and the animal pays the price." Frank's poultry not only look and taste different from commodity poultry, his birds are double the protein and half the fat. "The skinnier the bird, The longer the leg, the darker the meat, the higher the nutrition. The bigger and fatter and plumper it is, the more worthless the meat is."

His birds are dual purpose eggs, those who produce meat and eggs, which means they will never get "big and fat and dumpy. And they will never lay as many eggs as a a hybrid chicken will. but anytime you push an animal to produce too much too fast, you effect the health of that animal... that is why they have to feed tons and tons of sub-therapeutics antibiotics."

In addition to managing his own farm, Frank goes on rescue missions to save rare chicken breeds when farmers are no longer able to breed and care for the birds. Frank has also brought together neighboring farmers to help him raise his birds including Danny Williamson of Windmill Ranch, Doug Metzger of Metzger Farm and Ron Tommy, whose farm is located just outside Wichita, Kansas. Each spring Frank sells his cherished poults to the members of his network under the condition that they sell the grown turkeys back to him just before Thanksgiving. In this way, Frank has been able to significantly increase population counts of Heritage Turkeys. The Bourbon Red turkey was upgraded from "rare" to "watch" status by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

The key is that Frank does not purchase anything from off farm so "everything is raised here, produced here, hatched here. It is the only way I can have control over the finest of welfare." He raises 5 varieties of the old Turkeys and more chicken breeds than one can count. Frank knows the lineage on every one of his birds, where they came from and to whom they belonged. The Bronze turkeys have been on the farm since 1917 and are descended from Frank's mentor's turkeys, which he got from his mother who in return got them from her mother who received the eggs as a wedding gift in 1917.

Several of his chicken variety are the last of their breed in the country. Frank has about 400 Barred Rock chickens which he calls "the true American chicken. The foundation of every other chicken that is out there."

Animal Welfare

Leaping Waters Farm

Owned by the Bradford Family
Town of Shawsville, Virginia
About 25 miles Southwest of Roanoke, Virginia

Leaping Waters is certified by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

Heart of Southern Appalachian Mountains between the Alleghany Highlands and the Blue Ridge, both regions covered on the historic Appalachian Trail.

200 years as working farm
110 acres, due South of Poor Mountain
1200-foot elevation, rolling hills

Temperate Deciduous Forest, average temperature 50 degrees, average rainfall 30-60 inches a year
Does not rain for 2 months sometime in summer
Four seasons of equal length

Population: 6 Humans, 2400 Heritage Turkeys, 43 Ancient White Park Cattle, 22 Large Black Pigs, 5 Berkshire Pigs, 10 Great Pyrenees Dogs, 7 Barn Cats.

Grasses: Indian Grass, Timothy, Orchard Grass, Alsike Clover, Crimson Clover and White Clover

Water: The North Fork of the Roanoke River runs through the farm. The headwaters of the Roanoke River are located 1 mile away from the farm. The Roanoke River flows southeast across the Piedmont, to Albemarle Sound.

Soil: The Bottom – loamy soil that resembles texture of cake batter, comes from the river bottom, some of the oldest soil in the world

Soil: The High Pasture – compact clay, drains well, bull pine provides good cover for cattle

This is part of one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Moving from the river bottom to the top of the Blue Ridge one will cross flora that ranges from southern Georgia to Canada. This diversity gives the animals a huge variety of forage throughout the year, forage that the Ancient White Parks and Large Blacks utilize to improve their condition in every season.

We are proud to work with Alec and Sarah Bradford and look forward to years of helping them bring heritage breeds to market.

Animal Welfare

Windmill Ranch
Danny Williamson

Danny Williamson owns Windmill Ranch and deals with all business related to Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch. Danny built his home, which looks more like a log cabin set in the middle of the woods of Wisconsin, from scratch with his own two hands three years ago. He and his friend Dave were looking for a place to build a home near the quarter mile section of land Dave owned in Tampa, Kansas and they found it in the form of an abandoned farm. The first thing they did with their newly purchased 18 acres was build a chicken and turkey coop. Then they proceeded to populate these structures with Black and Bourbon Red turkeys, numerous types of heritage chickens including Dark Brahmas and ducks including White Calls. His Black turkeys, which he had been raising for eight years, were sourced from Rita Eichman's farm near Dodge City. Today, Danny keeps about 100 breeders and about 2,200 young poults on his farm.

Danny grew up participating in 4H projects and so had some experience with poultry. And then, in 1998, he met Frank Reese at the state fair and his interest in poultry was rekindled. Danny's love of turkey goes past just raising them. He is also a great chef.

Danny spends his days checking up on his birds, retrieving ones that have flown over the fence, changing the water and cleaning the coops. The biggest challenge on the farm is carrying the feed. Danny is a licensed American Poultry Association Judge and presides over numerous 4H competitions (Danny will visit 15 competitions or more a year). Danny is one of the only people who has a Grand Master Breeder of Black turkey. He also boasts a Grand Master Breeder of the Dark Brahma chicken and White Call duck. To get that honor a breeder has to win many shows and accumulate at least 100 points. Depending on the show, a bird can win between 5-25 points. Only winners get points.

Kyle Robert Farm

We are excited to partner with young farmer Kyle of Kyle Robert Farm in Manchester, Iowa. At the ripe age of 24, he represents the youngest of our Heritage family. Kyle is a fourth generation farmer, and was once ranked fifth in the nation as a college wrestler! We are proud to support a new generation of Heritage farmers. Kyle breeds this year include White Holland.

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BEEF

Piedmontese Cattle

Montana Ranch – Billings. Montana.

Piedmontese cattle originated in the foothills of northwestern Italy also home to the Slow Food movement. 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."

Myostatin is only found in Piedmontese cattle and results in a natural tenderness. Though the beef is naturally lean, the flavor is rich and intense. Piedmontese cattle originated in the foothills of northwestern Italy and are thought to be a mix of the Auroch and Zebu cattle crossed over 25,000 years ago.


Angus and Hereford

Hearst Ranch

Hearst Ranch from San Simeon, California has been raising 100% grass-fed cattle since 1865. The Hearst family is responsible for one of the largest working ranches and conservation easements on the California coast. The Hearsts started a ranch that was prized for its quality breeding, fine livestock and stewardship of the land. These cattle, a mix of predominantly Hereford, Angus and Shorthorn breeds, are humanely raised and graze on 150,000 acres of nutrient-rich coastal prairie and native grasslands along the inland terraces of San Simeon. The flavor of Hearst grass-fed beef is influenced by the nearby valleys as well as the central coastal terroir.

We are proud to offer this beef thanks to our friend Brian Kenny from Hearst Ranch who is bringing this product to market for the first time in years. We have chosen two cuts that best express the spectrum of flavor profile and characteristics: the ribeye and the sirloin steak. The flavor of both is influenced by the nearby valleys as well as the central coastal terroir.


Simmental

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.

White Oak Pastures is a Certified Humane and Animal Welfare Approved facility that prides itself on its compassionate treatment of animals. Established in 1866, this fifth-generation family farm is located in southwest Georgia and has paved the way for the future of sustainable farms since 1995. Each animal is raised on green pastures, based on a multi-species rotational grazing method, akin to the practices of early farmers. In addition, WOP's animals are fed a natural, anti-biotic-free diet, and are slaughtered individually in a calm and thoughtful environment.

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- a conundrum which is easily solved by the mild climate of White Oak Pastures' Georgia coast location. 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. We believe that our Simmental beef remains unmatched by any other - a unique, back-to-basics flavor that can be tasted in each bite.


White Oak Pastures

Among the peanut and cotton fields of Early County in southwest Georgia, sits White Oak Pastures, a fifth generation grass-fed cattle ranch owned and operated by the Harris Family since 1866. Today the farm is in the hands of Will Harris III who steered White Oak Pastures back to the days just after the Civil War when his great-grandfather, Captain James Edward Harris, grazed his cattle outdoors and slaughtered the animals on the same land.

After the war, a relative helped Captain Harris, a cattleman at heart and by trade, settle into the area. He and other sharecroppers butchered one cow and some pigs once a week in order to feed the 100 or so people living on the farm at the time. His son, Will Carter Harris, inherited the farm, expanded it and began slaughtering animals on a daily basis. A mule-drawn wagon delivered meat in the nearby town of Bluffton while meandering the commissaries, hotels and boarding houses.

During the 1940s, the third generation took possession and saw Will Bell Harris transition White Oak Pastures into the world of industrialization along with his son Will III. But in 1995, Will made the brave and bold decision to transition back to the older ways. He started a closed herd of predominantly Black Angus cows that relied on the benefits of the deep south's bright southern sunshine, its clean air, fertile soil and sweet native grasses to keep the animals happy and healthy. Around the same time, Will and his wife Yvonne Harris were raising the fifth generation of ranchers, their three daughters: Jodi, Jenni and Jessi.

Will Harris III became a grass-fed beef perfectionist. Leaning forward and pulling up his pointer finger with an intensity heightened by a heavy drawl, he explained his desire to build his own on-farm humane processing facility. In 2008, they cut the ribbon on a USDA-inspected processing plant large enough to slaughter a few dozen of their own cattle a day. Abiding by his hero George Washington Carver's words that nature never wastes, the new plant is a zero waste facility, using a digester to transform waste into organic fertilizer.

Animal WelfareCertified Humane


Highland

Lazy S Farm

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.


Belgian Blue Cattle

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.


Ancient White Park

Leaping Waters Farm

Owned by the Bradford Family

Town of Shawsville, Virginia
About 25 miles Southwest of Roanoke, Virginia

Heart of Southern Appalachian Mountains between the Alleghany Highlands and the Blue Ridge, both regions covered on the historic Appalachian Trail.

200 years as working farm
110 acres, due South of Poor Mountain
1200-foot elevation, rolling hills

Temperate Deciduous Forest, average temperature 50 degrees, average rainfall 30-60 inches a year
Does not rain for 2 months sometime in summer
Four seasons of equal length

Population: 6 Humans, 2400 Heritage Turkeys, 43 Ancient White Park Cattle, 22 Large Black Pigs, 5 Berkshire Pigs, 10 Great Pyrenees Dogs, 7 Barn Cats.

Grasses: Indian Grass, Timothy, Orchard Grass, Alsike Clover, Crimson Clover and White Clover

Water: The North Fork of the Roanoke River runs through the farm. The headwaters of the Roanoke River are located 1 mile away from the farm. The Roanoke River flows southeast across the Piedmont, to Albemarle Sound.

Soil: The Bottom – loamy soil that resembles texture of cake batter, comes from the river bottom, some of the oldest soil in the world

Soil: The High Pasture – compact clay, drains well, bull pine provides good cover for cattle

This is part of one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Moving from the river bottom to the top of the Blue Ridge one will cross flora that ranges from southern Georgia to Canada. This diversity gives the animals a huge variety of forage throughout the year, forage that the Ancient White Parks and Large Blacks utilize to improve their condition in every season.

We are proud to work with Alec and Sarah Bradford and look forward to years of helping them bring heritage breeds to market.

Animal Welfare


Akaushi

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.

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BISON

Shape Ranch and Thunder Heart Bison

About the Bison

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.

About the Farm

Shape Ranch, producer of Thunder Heart Bison, is owned and run by Hugh and Sarah Fitzsimons near San Antonio, Texas. In 1806, the land was granted by the King of Spain to Juan Fransisco Lombrano, a loyal subject of the crown who stocked the ranch with cattle, sheep, and goats. Many generations later in 1933, the ranch was purchased by Hugh's grandfather, H. A. Fitzsimons, and it has been in the family ever since.

The ranch was originally stocked with registered Hereford cattle and steers until Hugh made the decision to begin a herd of bison. The family now raises 350 head of bison. More recently Shape Ranch decided to concentrate more on the genetic integrity of their bison. The goal is to increase the number of Southern Plains bison that were indigenous to Dimmit County and all of Texas. In 2008, Hugh purchased four members from the only known herd remaining of pure Southern Plains bison. These bulls came from the famous Mary Annand Charles Goodnight herd that is now the Texas State herd at Caprock Canyons State Park. By choosing animals from such legendary sources, the Fitzsimons family insures both strong and diversified genetics.

In April 2009 Thunder Heart Bison was certified by the Animal Welfare Institute as Animal Welfare Approved (AWA). It then became the first bison ranch in the United States to meet the stringent and exacting standards of the AWA.Thunder Heart Bison Ranch is dedicated to allowing bison to live in accordance with their natural instincts: they eat only grass and are killed on the prairies where they live, under low stress conditions. Thunder Heart is one of the very few ranches in America whose buffalo are both grass-fed and field-harvested. By grazing on such native grasses as Sea Coast Bluestem, Old World Bluestem, Curly Mesquite, and Hooded Windmill, these bison produce a flavor that is mild and delicate.

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HERITAGE CHICKEN

The Original Meat Chickens, the Chickens that Fed this Country until 1960

So says Frank Reese, the country's preeminent poultry farmer, about the famed heritage chickens that thrive alongside his turkeys at the Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Kansas. Like his turkeys, his chickens come from those breeds that are threatened by the rise of commodity production; and they are all free ranged and humanely raised. Until now, Frank's chickens have been hard to come by; but the farm has been building up its numbers in recent months! These are no doubt the best chickens available in North America.

The 150-year-old Plymouth Rock, or the king of meat production, is the ultimate broiler chicken; it is also a member of the American Poultry's Standards of Perfection. This was the original chicken produced in the United States.

The New Hampshire is a descendent of the Rhode Island breed. Like their less blocky relative the Plymouth Rock, they are a dual-purpose chicken, known both for their eggs and delicious, very fleshy but smooth meat.

The Cornish Game, a breed from England, arrived in America in the 19th Century, and was developed solely for its meat. That meat, darker than your average chicken meat, is robust and firm, with a flavor slightly reminiscent of game.

Frank chose his last breed, the Jersey Giant, to illustrate the diversity of heritage chicken breeds. The Jersey Giant is a slow growing bird (it takes 24-28 weeks to reach market weight, as compared to the Plymouth's 16-18 weeks). A larger chicken with silky and rich meat, this is the perfect chicken for roasting. Dress it simply so you can taste its natural flavors.

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LAMB

Tunis

Sandstone Ridge Farm

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.


Katahdin

Clover Creek Farm (TN)

Animal Welfare 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 (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 Dopher for their muscling. Over the next few years his lambs will be breed 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. Not all young farmers are lucky enough to have this solid foundation so Joseph really appreciates his upbringing.


Hubbard Hair Sheep in Scenic Kansas


Joseph Hubbard


Dorset Horned

Tamarack Sheep Farm - VT

Animal WelfareBen 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.

Dorset Horned Sheep (VT)


Ben & Grace in Vermont


Willow Spring Ranch (MT)

Willow Spring Ranch Katy and Richard Harjes exchanged Chicago city living for life on a Montana ranch determined to do something different with their lives. Richard left a lucrative career in finance while Katy said goodbye to her life as a photo editor. Once Katy completed an internship on an organic vegetable farm she was hooked. Soon she and Richard decided to pursue raising stock and going organic. Encouragements from nearby ranchers lead them to dive in and purchase 100 pregnant ewes at the end of 2008.

Willow Spring Ranch Montana raises mild and tender organic lamb that is certified by the American Grassfed Association. Their 100% grass-fed lambs grow quickly on mountain pastures and their mother's milk. Aside from mineral and salt supplements required for their well being, there are no other inputs to their lamb. In addition to the careful nutrition, Katy and Richard are devoted to managing their land sustainably and giving their lambs the best possible, most stress-free lives. They use livestock guardian dogs for non-lethal predator control and seek to maintain a balance between the agricultural and wildlife areas of their ranch.

Ewes at Willow Spring Spring in Montana Winter in Montana

Ducks and Geese and Guinea

Good Shepherd Ranch


Ducks at Good Shepherd Ranch


Ducks at Good Shepherd Ranch


Duck Flock at Good Shepherd Ranch

Frank Reese

Frank Reese is considered the God Father of American poultry. His farm is called Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch. Frank has been "hanging out" with turkeys as long as he can remember. He is a fourth generation poultry farmer from Lindsborg, Kansas. Frank joined 4-H at an early age and began keeping his own turkeys at about age five, winning his first Kansas State Turkey Championship in 1955 and his first National Turkey Championship in 1974.

Muscovy Ducks are a long-standing breed, and have been part of the diet for many centuries. There are still feral flocks here and abroad, and strangely, though these ducks originate from the tropics, they do very well in cold climates. They are the only ducks that roost in trees in the wild.

The Muscovy Duck is best served rare to medium rare. We like to roast it hot and fast, and let it come to an internal temperature of about 165 degrees or 10 degrees less according to the chefs with whom we work. Like most game birds, this one works really well with sweet/tart combinations, such as tart dried cherries, pomegranate molasses, orange, clementine, lemon, and honey, or any combination of those elements. They also take well to somewhat unusual spices such as dried coriander, star anise, or allspice. Great side dishes with duck are the winter vegetables: squash, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, or turnips. You can par-cook and then add the vegetables to the roasting pan around the duck for a simple, but supremely elegant, one pan meal.

The Brown African Goose is a delectable and unusual option for the poultry lover. Geese are easy to cook, requiring nothing but a roasting pan and a rack. Like all heritage breeds, the goose needs slow, gentle cooking for a crisp skin and a succulent moist interior. Adding potatoes and vegetables to the pan to cook in that sumptuous and silky goose fat is the lagniappe that makes this a truly outstanding meal. By the way, goose fat is traditionally used for making confit; as a medium for frying potatoes; or even just cooking an egg, so never throw it away!! Absolutely everything tastes better cooked in goose fat, just ask Escoffier!

Pearl Guinea Fowl are also known as pintade, faraona, African pheasant or guinea hen. This tasty bird is native to West Africa. Guinea hen is a real delicacy, with a fine texture, juicy flesh, and a rich yet non-gamey flavor. Guinea fowl are insect and seed eating, ground-nesting birds with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage. Pearl guinea fowl are monogamous breeders. The females often lay their eggs out in the fields and hatch their young, called "keets" all by themselves. Most farmers love having guinea fowl since they alert humans to anything unusual. Both males and females make a single syllable, machine-gun like alarm call, but only the females have a two syllable call. In fact, it sounds like they're saying "buckwheat."

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GOAT

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.

Photos at Consider Bardwell Farm

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.

Photos of Twig Farm during Wintertime

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.

Photos of Cotton Hill Creamery, NY

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.

Photos at Asgaard Dairy

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.

Photos at Caz Acrez

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.

Mounts Creek Farm, NY

Mounts Creek Farm was started in 2007 by Barbara Abend and her family in Herkimer County, NY. The Abends raise Full Blood South African Boer meat goats. Since the property was not a working farm when they purchased it, much of their initial time has been focused on preparing the property for animals: building barns, putting up fences, evaluating and tilling the pasture. Barbara said they actually planted a few acres of pasture with a clover mix for the goats but the animals are much more attracted to the scrubby, brushy parts of the property. They love munching on small bushes and scrubby white pine. They get a touch of grain and are now enjoying some of the first cut of hay.

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. They are new to No Goat Left Behind this year.

Hubbard Hair Sheep, KS

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. Joseph currently has a small herd of Boer (as show goats) as well as Spanish Nannies goats and also raises lamb.

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RABBIT

The Blanc de Hotot rabbit is listed as threatened on American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Blanc de Hotot is known for its frosty white fur and black-rimmed eyes. The beautiful Blanc de Hotot rabbit is unique being that the breed was developed entirely by women in the Hoto-en-Auge region of France. Madame Eugenie Bernhard, chatelaine du Calvados aimed to develop a new breed of rabbit that could be prized for its meat and fur. In the year 1902 she began crossing breeds and found that the Geant Papillon Francais when crossed with other lightly marked rabbits began to produce the characteristics she was looking for. It took over 10 years and 500 matings to produce what we know today as the Blanc de Hotot. The French rabbit governing body officially recognized the Blanc de Hotot as a breed on October, 13th 1922. The Blanc de Hotot was first brought to America between 1921 and 1922 but never took off as a breed. The Blanc de Hotot nearly went extinct during World War II but picked up again in 1978 when Bob Whitman from Texas imported 8 Blanc de Hotots . The American Rabbit Breeders Association standards accepted the breed in 1979.

The American rabbit is listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as critically endangered. It is one of the oldest breeds developed in the United States and is a cross of many different breeds. The American rabbit was officially listed as a breed in March of 1918. As a result of the First World War the original name of German Blue Vienna was changed to the American Blue. Lewis H. Salisbury of Pasadena, California is credited as having the best genetics and kept the list of breeds used to create the end result a secret. By the 1920's furriers were paying high prices for their deep colored pelts. The American rabbit is one of the rarest breeds in all of America.

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.

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Fish (Salmon, Trigger Fish, Tuna)

American Tuna

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.

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!

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.

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ARTISANAL CHARCUTERIE

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.


Salumi

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.

Paradise Locker

See abattoir section above.

Nancy Newsome

Located in Kentucky, Nancy just placed her first order with Heritage Foods USA for 2 large batches of cured hams. We hope the experiment works as Nancy is a force of nature and could do great service to many rare breeds by accentuating the flavor of numerous rare breeds.

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NATIVE AMERICAN FOODS

Anishinaabeg Nation

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.

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Chef Zak Pellaccio
"Since 2004, we have proudly sold Heritage Foods pork and we will continue to sell it for the next 50 years"
O. Ottomanelli & Sons
Chef Zak Pellaccio
"For 7 years, Heritage has been our supplier of memorable and delicious pork, and boy, do we love pork!"
Chef Mario Batali
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