Category: Breeds


The Voice of a Pork Chop

There is no denying the siren call of a Heritage pork chop, the sort of thing that would have made Homer crash his ship. Or, make a man sing about the Voice of a Pork Chop. Some folks might think it’s weird, but it makes perfect sense to us, and to Bob Dylan, who was a big fan of Jim Jackson, a blues and hokum songster who recorded this song in the late 1920s. Hokum, by the way, means comedy songs and shtick, and was big back in the days of medicine shows and vaudeville. This song was based on a popular gospel theme, bringing religion straight to the dinner table. The Voice of a Pork Chop?? Indeed!!!!!

Why a Duck? Ask Dickens!

The best thing about the holidays is always the food, that is, if you are doing it right! As we say here, let nature lead the way — great food is seasonal and should be celebrated in its own time. Look no farther than the books of Charles Dickens and ask why they always seemed to be eating geese at Christmas? Because that is when naturally mating geese and ducks are ready for harvest. It is nature’s way of writing a menu.

Our Aylesbury ducks, by the way, are the most incredible birds ever to make it all the way from London to your table! And their story is one of the best you will hear at the table.

The Aylesbury duck reached its peak popularity in the late 1800s when thousands of ducklings were sent from the town of Aylesbury to London and served by the top restaurants of the day.

Since then, the Aylesbury was crossed with other breeds like the Pekin, which fared better in industrial settings. If it were not for a few dedicated farmers who kept it pure, it is likely the breed would have disappeared for good. The Aylesbury Duck is listed on the Most Endangered List with fewer than 500 breeding birds left in the U.S. We’re proud to be offering these ducks this season — and no matter what you have heard, they are simple to prepare, not much different than roasting a chicken, and they are sure to make you a superstar in the kitchen!

The Aylesbury boasts a bouncy texture and rich, creamy fat. Its robust flavor with nutty and herbaceous notes make this the most flavorful duck on the market today. These ducks are raised outdoors on ponds and pasture with no hormones or antibiotics.

Americans consume less than 1/3 lb. of duck per year but we hope to restore the bird’s presence on the farm and at your dinner table.

Still need convincing? Here’s our recipe for a simple whole roast duck. If you love duck, and want a truly spectacular bird beyond what is even available in restaurants, you can’t possibly go wrong!

Click here for a simple duck recipe.

Jive Talkin’ Turkey , Part II

We were having so much fun talking about “turkeys of the 1970s” – a time when real Heritage turkeys were having a tough time fighting against the influx of industrial farming and a trend towards growing everything cheaper and faster, no matter what the ultimate cost — that we thought we’d go back and look at some of favorite TELEVISION TURKEYS of the 1970s!

Our favorites are failed copycat shows, and no one had more losing imitations than the original SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN! Two of our favorites are the shameless copy GEMINI MAN, and the completely unfunny HOLMES AND YOYO about a robot cop named YOYO!!! Don’t remember them?? They were true TURKEYS!!!

Speaking of copycats, who remembers DOG AND CAT, a completely failed cop show starring KIM BASSINGER??

Television shows come and go, but Heritage Turkeys have stood the test of time, simply because they cannot be beat.

The industry does a great job of confusing the market by co-opting buzz words. The word “natural” can mean almost anything. And all of these turkeys have salt water added — they call it flavor enhancers. These are what we call “jive turkeys.” They are simply not the real thing. If you want the true tast of turkey, Heritage is the way to go.

Heritage Turkeys are the genuine item. Not copycats, not cheap imitations, not bionic robots or clones or anything produced in a laboratory like so many commercially farmed birds.

Heritage Turkeys are raised using traditional farming methods from birds with tremendous genetics. There are never any chemicals, and the birds get to roam and roots naturally. All of this goes to make Heritage Turkeys are the very best birds in the world, the most flavorful and juiciest birds on the market today.

Don’t trust us: Alice Waters says “These birds are without a doubt the tastiest birds you can possibly serve,” and Mario Batali, proudly claims “I’ve served these birds for my Thanksgiving every year for the past 12 years and always will.”

Just try calling Alice or Mario “jive” and see what happens!

Jive Turkeys, Part 1

Oh, those wacky 1970s, when it seemed that just everyone was wearing white bellbottoms and dancing to the Hustle. That may have worked if you were eighteen-years-old and could get around on platform shoes, but when it was your uncle Murray trying to act hip, pretending to be younger than he was (by a lot!), we had an expression for him: Jive turkey!

Being a turkey in the 1970s was NOT such a good thing, on the disco floor, or even on the thanksgiving table — By the early 1970s, factory farming had taken over the American poultry farming system, and turkeys were most commonly bred for traits that would deform them and destroy their flavor, namely how fast and how big they could grow. Turkeys were shot up with chemicals to keep them alive, and were so top heavy they could not walk had become the norm. In fact, they were growing so fast that turkeys became so inexpensive as to nearly bankrupt the industry.

Sadly, these kinds of “jive turkeys” – birds that really had no business representing American agriculture, became the norm, and it is still true. Like your desperate uncle trying to do the Hustle at the disco, commercially farmed turkeys cant be trusted.

The people behind this type of farming, growing everything as fast and as cheap as possible, think they can outsmart mother nature, but the there is always a price to pay: sick, inhumanely raised turkeys, and family farms that cant compete with this sort of mass production.

Thankfully, Heritage Turkeys are no jive.

(And after dinner, why not screen the classic comedy, JIVE TURKEY starring PAUL HARRIS?)

But when it comes to dinner, stick to Heritage. You don’t want anyone to call your turkey “jive” at the Thanksgiving table!

FRANK REESE, AMERICA HERO

A turkey is no better than the farmer behind it.

Long-time Heritage customers know that we got our start selling Frank’s turkeys, raised traditionally and responsibly on his Good Shepherd Farm and our relationship with him remains the cornerstone of our business.

Frank is a true hero of the Heritage food movement — he is the first and only sustainable commercial farmer to receive certification by the American Poultry Association for his birds as purebreds, standards that were set in 1873 — and he has been featured in publications ranging from the New York Times to National Geographic. His story is the Rosetta Stone of sustainable farming, and the reason why when it comes to meat, the word “heritage” is synonymous with “heirloom.” Good Shepherd turkeys are the oldest line of turkey in America, 100 percent antibiotic free, and pasture raised on the Kansas prairie.

“The biggest thing this year,” Frank says, “is that we’ve added two new farms to raise turkeys this year to meet a bigger demand. We never seem to have enough — hopefully this year if everything goes well to have twice as many turkeys as last year. But it’s still a drop in the bucket — our four farmers are going to raise what one big commercial plant will do in a week.

“But here are more and more people who want our birds — Some people who have had Heritage birds have tried to find something else, but they always come back.”

And it’s true, once you have experience the true taste of a Heritage bird, one that hasn’t been juiced with salt water and flavor enhancers, one that has been raised naturally and allowed to roost and roam and mate naturally, you will never look at another supermarket bird the same way.

Heritage turkeys are available now for Thanksgiving delivery. Isn’t it time you became part of this great tradition?

THE OFFAL TRUTH

True carnivores don’t stop at the top-of-the-line, priciest cuts, they know that some of the greatest pleasures run deep.

Even casual gourmands can be found picking at some pig liver country pate at their local bistro, or even getting a bit recherché with the fois gras or some delicately prepared sweet breads. But for those uninhibited gastronomes for whom big flavors are the name of the game, liver, kidney, tongue, and heart are all as prized as any ingredient.

Offal may need a little more finesse in the skillet than say cooking a steak, but Heritage goat and lamb, especially, offer incredibly profound treats — we love lamb’s liver cooked in sherry and served with garlic mashed potatoes, hearts braised or grilled with chimichuri sauce, and of course, the classic kidney pie.

Europeans have known these secrets for years, but even the more timid Americans are catching on that eating off-cuts is the key to truly sustainable, nose-to-tail dining, and discovering a brave new world of bold flavors that pair with rustic Old World wines, and, especially in colder months, are a cherished as part of the feast. As with so much of the food world, what’s old is new again!

Stephen Barber – Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

California is the Promised Land where dreams really do come true — Hollywood, Disneyland, and Farmstead at the Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley.

“Farmstead is the culmination of many things that came together,” says Farmstead’s executive chef Stephen Barber, “this is where the rubber hits the road. It’s a lot to explain, it’s a complex operation. We raise our own beef, we grow our own vegetables. We make wine. We have the apple orchard in Napa, and an olive farm. We have 500 chickens, fruit orchards… there are so many different elements. And our restaurant, Farmstead, is where it all comes together. For lack of a better term, it is pure “farm to table,” — it’s been overused, but best describes what we are doing. This is the best case scenario — total control of our food supply from start to finish. The vegetables are from our farm, it is our wine you are drinking, our olive oil finishing your plate.

“We have Scotch Highlands cows — Ted Hall and the Hall family (who took over Long Meadow in the 1980s, after a storied past that drifted through the Civil War and Prohibition) — fell in love with this breed. They are gorgeous animals, very long hair, very lean, tasty, rich flavorful beef that does well in the hills here. We have some angus, too, and we use a rotating paddock system that we graze our animals on.

“But we can’t raise every bit of protein at the restaurant, so the next thing is to find responsible people we can work with. Heritage is as much a part of our story as raising our own beef. We use all the Heritage rare breeds, Red Wattle, Berkshire, Duroc. We actually took a shot at raising pork — Patrick helped us with some Red Wattle pigs, but gosh, we couldn’t get them to mate. I think he sent us some unsocialized pigs!”

Season 7: No Goat Left Behind from Heritage Foods

Heritage Foods is celebrating the seventh year of its annual October goat project, NO GOAT LEFT BEHIND, and the second in the United Kingdom. No Goat Left Behind addresses the growing problem facing New England goat dairies — namely, what to do with male goats….

Nancy Silverton, Chef Series and Featured Cuts

When Nancy Silverton was getting ready to open up Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, her partners, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, gave her very little direction. “Joe had an idea for an amaro focus at the bar, and of course we had Italian wine. As far as the food, Mario trusted us, but he wanted us to look into working with Patrick and Heritage Foods, which was still very new….

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