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.
Last summer we launched our Rare Breed Heritage Chicken Tour – an effort to revive 24 rare, heritage chicken lines and create an alternative market for non-industrially bred chicken. We partnered with Frank Reese, the country’s preeminent poultry farmer, to show our customers what real chicken tastes like.
Heritage Foods USA is now offering a rotation of 24 heritage chicken varieties every 3-4 months. Numerous heritage breeds of chicken are on the brink of extinction and we must create a market for them by eating them. Heritage Foods USA is the only place you can taste these special heritage birds today.
Heritage chickens are breeds that have been around since before the industrial era. Their genetic lineage has been preserved from genetic modification. Heritage birds grow at a healthy rate, while industry chickens are genetically manipulated to grow at an unnaturally fast rate that is harmful to the skeletal, cardiovascular, and immune systems of the bird. Industrial chickens are bred as dead end animals that cannot reproduce or survive on their own.
Mr. Reese explains, “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 in the poultry industry. If we focus on animal welfare while ignoring the genetics of these birds, we are not changing a thing.
Mr. Reese’s poultry not only look and taste different from commodity poultry; his birds have double the protein and half the fat. He told us, “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.”
So far we have offered Colombian Wyandotte and Rhode Island White. Next up is the White Leghorn coming in early spring. After that we have many more varieties including New Hampshire, Silver Penciled Plymouth Rocks, Dark Brahmas, Black Jersey Giants, Golden Penciled Hamburg, and many more!
We just announced the winners of our 2013 Heritage Turkey Photo contest!
Congrats to Phillipe in Illinois, Benjamin in Pennsylvania, and Jennifer in New York!
Click to see the winning photos and hear from the winners!
We also got an email from a customer last year sharing an image of her 2012 bird that we had to share for its pure artistry.
Behold Judith Mazza’s incredible bird!
Here’s how she did it:
“I stretched the skin of the neck over the roaster to make the equivalent of turkey cracklings (like Peking Duck Skin). It was totally delicious. I roasted it in my Kamado Grill on a vertical turkey roaster. I’ve been developing some expertise in doing food photography and I particularly enjoy the turkey photo.”
Thank you to everyone who sent photos!
It’s cold. Colder than it’s been in my five years living on the East Coast.
As much as I would love to stay under a blanket all day, I, like many of you, must feed myself. Here are a two of my favorite easy winter dishes – delicious meals that have the added benefit of heating up your kitchen!
A cheesy, tomato filled dish with a thick, meaty sauce featuring Heritage Ground Pork or Beef is a great dinner with great leftovers for days. Favorite recipes include Butternut Squash and Pork Lasagne from the Food Network and this easy Beef Lasagne from The Pioneer Woman.
Potatoes, cheese, veggies, and meat – what more could you ask for on a cold evening? Alton Brown at the Food Network has an easy recipe featuring ground lamb and BBC Food has a fun alternative featuring beef chilli.
What are some of your favorite cold weather dinners?
This Holiday Season we are proud to offer Tunis Lamb from Meadowood Farms in Cazenovia, New York. Meadowood Farms produces fine sheep and cow cheeses that our friends at Saxelby Cheese have been carrying for a some time. After a visit to the farm this summer, we began working with Meadowood to feature beef from their Belted Galloway cattle. We decided to deepen our relationship with them this fall after we tasted their incredible lamb.
We spoke one of the farm managers, Fiona, to fine out more about their flock and production methods. Here’s what she had to say:
“At Meadowood Farms, we raise dairy sheep so in order to improve the meat quality in our lambs, we use Tunis sires (rams) on our ewes. The lambs are raised on their mothers for 30 days at which point we wean the lambs and start milking the ewes. The lambs are raised up to eight months old on lush pasture here in central New York. They are moved to new paddocks daily so they always have a fresh mix of grasses and clover to feast on. Since the lambs are weaned early from their mothers, we do supplement them with a small amount of grain, about 3% of their overall diet, which rounds out their nutritional needs. They also have access to a mineral supplement and fresh water at all times. The Tunis work well in our system because they thrive on pasture and in turn produce a mild yet flavorful and tender meat.”
We are proud to feature Tunis lamb legs and racks currently on our website. Order here http://store.heritagefoodsusa.com/lamb-and-bison-c52.aspx
Here are a few submissions we’ve gotten for our Heritage Turkey Photo Contest! The chefs behind these beautiful birds will be submitted into a drawing to win a FREE 18lbs Heritage Turkey next year.
Still holding on to a photo of your Heritage Turkey from this Thanksgiving? Send it to us by the end of December. A winner will be announced early next year.
Our very own Frank Reese was profiled in Modern Midwest as a farmer who “wants to change the way you think about your Thanksgiving Meal Centerpiece.”
- Long life outdoors: Heritage turkeys should be active and healthy: running, jumping, flying and exploring, all in the great outdoors. Farm factory raised birds are confined to buildings, and are too overweight to fly.
- Naturally mating: Forget artificial insemination. There better be no needles involved when it comes to making little baby heritage turkeys — also known as poults. Broad-breasted white turkeys have been genetically engineered to the point they can no longer naturally mate.
- Slow growth rate: Factory farms can raise a 20-pound turkey in 12 weeks. It should take at least twice as long (28 weeks) for a heritage turkey, giving them time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs.
- Meat: Expect a heritage bird’s meat to be darker thanks to all that running, jumping and exercising on the farm. The darker the meat, the more nutritional, said Reese. “If you’ve got muscle that’s been used, you have the ability to store vitamins. You don’t store vitamins in fat.”
- Heritage varieties: Black, Bronze, Narragansett, White Holland, Slate, Bourbon Red, Beltsville Small White, Royal Palm, Jersey Buff and White Midget.
This week on No Chefs Allowed, Heritage turkey hero Frank Reese talks with hosts, Megan and Tricia as they begin planning for Thanksgiving. Frank, a fourth-generation turkey farmer, is the ambassador for the turkeys that used to feed America. Frank talks to No Chefs Allowed about today’s industrialized poulty practices, and encourages everyone to support the last remnants of the turkeys that used to don our tables at Thanksgiving. Megan and Tricia set off to get their own Heritage turkeys before they sell out!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
It’s Heritage Turkey Time! 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!
Our turkeys are produced by Frank Reese and his team at Good Shepherd. Frank essentially introduced a gastronomic meaning to the word “heritage” in the English language! While many farmers now use the term, Frank and his team raise the truest example of the original Heritage Turkey: according to the USDA, he remains the only farmer allowed to use the name “Heritage” on his label thanks to certification by the oldest agricultural organization in North America, the American Poultry Association. All Heritage Turkeys are certified to be humanely raised with no antibiotics at all, ever.
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. Get yours today!