Category: Community Table


Ode to a Great Year & A Look to the Future!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For the first time in the history of Heritage Food USA, I feel as if we are not part of a revolution, but part of a genuine, mainstreamed movement. Everywhere we look we see genuine farm-to-table restaurants, a new wave of artisanal bakers, pasta makers, cheesemongers, and truly knock-out coffee shops and chocolatiers. Everything is, against all odds, getting better.

Since the 2001 New York Times article by Marian Burros announcing that Slow Food USA would sell heritage turkeys raised by Frank Reese, Heritage Foods USA has rumbled and sometimes tumbled laying the foundation for an alternative national meat supply.

Our challenges were myriad — finding partner farmers and processors who would help bring the best heritage breeds to the market consistently; finding trusted shipping partners to move our food around the country; finding wholesale and direct-to-home outlets for all the many cuts of livestock we sell; learning the ins-and-outs of maintaining an engaging website, running social media campaigns and managing our blog and marketing materials to help us reach a discerning customer base and engage them in our mission; finding the right team of leaders in the office, which has never been stronger; and learning how to make it work financially for all the parties involved.

Fifteen years ago this seemed like folly — when it came to being a purveyor of sustainable, humanely sourced meat, nothing was known or predictable. But right now we are clearly seeing a long-term future with incredible rewards.

Paradise Locker, our partner in all things butchery, has doubled their capacity after 15 years. This means more sustainably raised meat coming to market, and more infrastructure for good, clean, and fair food. Our farmers are investing in the future, too – there is talk of David Newman giving up his teaching gig to return full time to his farm in the Ozarks. Craig Good is starting to raise the Tamworth breed of pork for the first time. Ben Machin is expanding the number of farmers raising rare breeds of lamb under his flag.

More good news: With security comes more collaboration. This year we are following up the success of our universally beloved porchetta with more items from Swiss butcher extraordinaire Thomas Odermatt. Stay tuned for a Standing Cordon Bleu Roast (!!!),  where Swiss Raclette cheese is rolled into the loin of our Old Spot pigs, using his acclaimed porchetta spices. The tradition of meat and cheese working together in a roast goes back three hundred years to Swiss traditions passed on to Thomas from his generation of butchers. Also from Thomas we’re looking forward to his own invention, the “turketta” — an entire heritage turkey deboned and rolled with delicious paprika and other earth based spices.

In Virginia, master charcutier Sam Edwards is celebrating the 90th year of his family business, and to celebrate, he is producing in limited supplies for the first time ever rare lamb prosciutto, meant to be sliced like the world’s greatest hams. We are also expanding our menu of patés, which met with critical acclaim last year. Salumi too! Stay tuned for rare breeds of rabbit, and new bacons, hams, and sausages in our Samplers and Subscriptions. We will also feature a new harvest of the world’s most delicious anchovies, bathed in various oils by our very own Di Liberto clan.

Earlier this year, there was a lot of hubbub surrounding a WHO report claiming that eating meat is dangerous. And we agreed. Commodity, industrially farmed meat is dangerous — and we have always zealously advocated a turning of the wheel away from those cruel practices. Heritage Foods USA is not part of that system. There is no controversy for us — we are proud to sell what might be the world’s best meats from the most innovatively traditional farms.

Of course none of this would be possible without our fantastic customers. We are so very committed to working for your business, and cannot possibly express the gratitude for having faith in Heritage Foods USA.

Wishing all of you a healthy, and delicious New Year, on behalf of over forty family farms and everyone in the Heritage Family, Thank YOU!!!

 

 

Founder & President

Heritage Foods USA

heritage turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

handturkey

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, kicking off the winter holiday season. For us Thanksgiving is about sharing a meal, creating memories with loved ones. We are proud to help you bring friends and family together to celebrate over a feast of rare and heritage breed foods.

At the core of our business we really have you to thank – we wouldn’t have been able to increase our farmer network over the past decade to roughly 80 farmers and artisans. Likewise, the farmers and artisans would not be able to have increased the availability of these rare products to such an extent without your support and commitment. Of the over 51 million turkeys that will be consumed next week, less than 1% are heritage breed. Each year we have increased that percentage and hope to continue to do so so that heritage turkey will be on the table for generations to come.

Cotton Hill Creamery

Cotton Hill Creamery
Middleburgh, NY

 

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Cotton Hill Creamery has been producing fresh, artisanal cheese from Alpine goats in the hills of Middleburgh, New York since 2009. Farmers Jon Franklin and Heather Kamin practice rotational grazing on their idyllic twelve-acre farm. The herd’s diet of fresh grass 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.

Twig Farm, Goatober

Twig Farm

Twig Farm
Cornwall, VT

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Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman run Twig Farm, a goat dairy specializing in farmstead cheese in West Cornwall, VT. The herd of about thirty-five Alpine goats spends their days grazing on pasture and enjoying fresh hay. The dairy has won many awards for aged raw milk goat cheeses, which Michael produces by hand using traditional techniques and equipment. Emily manages the business and marketing for the farm.

Highwood Farm

Highwood Farm
Spencer, NY

 

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Luce Guanzini and Mark Baustian have been raising Boer crosses on their farm since 1994. 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.

Breeding at Highwood takes place in November so that kidding occurs mid-April to May. 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 herd helps maintain the farm’s forest and pastures which would otherwise be seriously threatened by invasive woody shrubs. The goats are pastured during warm months and fed on hay throughout the winter.

Return of the Bison

The species of grass that are out there, the wildlife, the birds, all of those things – even the contour of the land reflects the hoofprint of the bison. – Dave Carter, President National Bison Association

 

Bison

Dave Carter is the Executive Director of the National Bison Association, a resource for ranchers working to preserve, promote, and market bison as a sustainable industry.

Bison are a keystone species of the prairie ecosystem.

One might say bison are the “keepers of the plains”. The bison’s diet consists of native grasses, maintained by the slight disturbance of the bison’s cup-shaped hoof. In their hay-day two subspecies of bison, the plains bison and the wood bison, grazed from Alaska south into Mexico and out toward the eastern seaboard of the United States. Bison were so incomprehensibly plentiful, millions upon millions of hooves of migrating herds of bison laid the track for what is now highway U.S. 150 – year after year they wore one path, which crossed the Ohio River, running northwest to the Wabash River and into present day Illinois.

Dave Carter: I fly a small plane and it’s interesting when you fly over the prairies and you see these prairie potholes – these small lakes or ponds that are out across the prairies. A lot of those prairie potholes were formed throughout hundreds of thousands of years of buffalo wallowing in the dirt and kind of excavating it out and creating a catchment. When you create the prairie pothole, well then you have got an ecosystem that brings in the birds and the predators. So we feel that this is the animal that belongs in this part of the world. One of the things that we try and promote is that with bison the less that we tinker with the animal, the better.

Four hundred years ago estimates place historic buffalo populations around 50 million head. By one hundred and twenty years ago the American bison had been hunted down and driven to less than a thousand head.

DC: A hundred and twenty years ago there were less than seven hundred animals left alive. And there were five ranchers that essentially gathered up the remnants of the herd and saved them from extinction. People talk about the Bronx Zoo and the animals that were in Yellowstone, but it was really Charles Goodnight, and Samuel Walking, James Phillips, and the Pablo-Allard Group who gathered up the remnants and saved them.

Even though bison are being raised for meat production, the species remains wild in the sense that they don’t require any assistance mating, birthing, and can withstand cold winters without shelter. Today total bison numbers are estimated around half a million. Luckily, ranchers and the National Bison Association are committed to increasing numbers and keeping the species free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and heavy genetic selection.

 

Short Ribs

Judith’s Akaushi Short Ribs

Judith is a longtime friend, supporter of Heritage Foods USA, and serious cook. She’s shared one of her favorite preparations for Akaushi Short Ribs –

 

Short Ribs

 

1. The ribs have arrived and are beautiful. I just vacuum sealed them and put them in the immersion circulator…I’m going to do a 72 hour 136 degrees (alá Thomas Keller) and then will season and finish them on Saturday. I’m sure they’ll be delicious.

2. After my 72 hour sous vide cook at 136 degrees, I took them out, cooled them down and they’re a beautiful pink…a perfect medium to medium rare. They’re totally tender. I took off the big pieces of fat (between the fat and the bones, I probably lost about 50% of the product), and put the large pieces of meat into vacuum seal bags where I added a red wine reduction sauce, with a little honey mustard. I vacuum sealed them and they’re in the freezer. They’re now ready to eat with just a gentle warming.

The “scraps” of the ribs, or the smaller pieces, I turned into a filling for dumplings. I added sautéed onions and leeks, parsley and a little salt and pepper, pulsed a few times in the food processor and put it back into the fridge to tighten up and chill. WOW what a flavor!

My pasta dough has been resting and I’ll soon be rolling that out to make the dumplings and freeze them.

3. I did make about 100+ small dumplings, froze them, and then ran out of energy.

The next day, I took the remaining 2 cups of short rib filling and tossed it with the fresh fettuccine I rolled from the remaining pasta dough. The flavor of the Akaushi beef was intense, the meat very tender and still pink in color. The sautéed leeks and onion added sweetness, the parsley added fresh herbal notes and texture. A little Omnivore Salt finished it off. I made a point of only warming it gently before tossing it with that delicate fresh pasta, but wanted to avoid re-cooking the product to preserve the sous vide benefit.

What a glorious dinner we had last night as a result! I sprinkled the dish with a little Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and it was perfect.

Standard Bronze Turkey

Heritage / Heirloom

Agriculture began with humans saving and planting seeds and keeping animals. Communities selected traits over generations based on the needs of the culture andRed Wattle landscape. These animals and plants were passed down through generations, continuously improving as mutual dependence between the culture and food deepened.

In this way food is cultural legacy – future generation’s inheritance, kept and passed on.

Merriam-Webster defines Heirloom and Heritage:

Heirloom:
1: a piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property
2: something of special value handed on from one generation to another
3: a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals

Heritage:
1: property that descends to an heir
2a: something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor : legacy, inheritance;
2b: tradition
3: something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth : birthright <the nation’s heritage of tolerance>

 

Standard Bronze Turkey

How The Livestock Conservancy defines heritage breed:

Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are the breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture.

Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites.

Heritage animals once roamed the pastures of America’s pastoral landscape, but today these breeds are in danger of extinction. Modern agriculture has changed, causing many of these breeds to fall out of favor. Heritage breeds store a wealth of genetic resources that are important for our future and the future of our agricultural food system.

Seed saving and genetic selection has changed drastically over the past several decades. So fast that law, morality, and popular discourse are struggling toSimmental keep up with the pace of these changes. One aspect of these debates that Heritage Foods USA feels strongly about is sustaining lines of genetic diversity within the food system.

We believe these heritage breeds of livestock are a key to a more sustainable food system and as we say, we must “Eat them to save them”.

Good Shepherd Institute

Good Shepherd Institute Agriturismo

Good Shepherd Institute

At the heart of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch is Frank Reese, a fourth-generation farmer on a 100-year-old farm in central Kansas with more than 60 years of experience in breeding and farming heritage poultry.

This year we are proud to announce the development of The Good Shepherd Institute, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to supporting the health of our national food system by educating agricultural experts, farmers, and students about techniques for preserving rare and heritage livestock. Course content will include both hands-on and lecture-style training. The curriculum is being developed in conjunction with Kansas Wesleyan University as an extension of their Environmental Studies Bachelor’s degree program.

We invite you to review the University program first-hand! Join Frank, working side-by-side, in a completely immersive farming experience. Learn about all aspects of sustainable heritage farming on-site at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch while exploring the historical, biological, and cultural importance of heritage poultry. This experience is a complete program for the novice to the experienced farmer – visit a USDA certified processor, tour local historic sites and learn from experts in the field.

Good Shepherd Institute

 

Package Includes:

· 4 nights at the Swedish Country Inn.
· Breakfasts, lunches and dinners catered by local chefs.
· Transportation within Kansas.

$1400 per person
$1900 per couple

Agriturismo Tours support the development of the Good Shepherd Institute’s University accredited program, providing funding for on-site classroom facilities and program infrastructure. If you can’t make the trip and would still like to contribute, we are accepting charitable donations for continued curriculum development and infrastructure at The Good Shepherd Institute.

Please make checks payable to Good Shepherd Institute and mail to Heritage Foods USA, 790 Washington Ave, PMB 303 Brooklyn, NY 11238. Donations are tax deductible.

Wholesome Wave

As we’ve mentioned before, Heritage Foods USA is a proud promoter of biodiversity and food security. We are pleased to share the work of Wholesome Wave, which has had a tremendous impact on our nation’s access to fresh and quality foods by pioneering the National Nutrition Incentive Network. Visit Wholesome Wave’s website to see initiatives in your area.

 

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Here is some more information about Wholesome Wave:

Wholesome Wave

Vision: Affordable, healthy, local food for all.

Mission: Wholesome Wave inspires underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to fresh, local and regional food.

What We Believe: At Wholesome Wave, we believe that everyone should be able to put the same, healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables on their table and provide that for their families. Our team believes that we can use food as a very powerful, binding, changing force. Food, as a single subject, has an incredible impact on environmental, social, economic and human health. We see an undeniable truth, that if we fix food, we are going to see improved health, stronger local and regional economies, and more income for small and mid-sized farm businesses.

Wholesome Wave Georgia believes that all Georgians should have access to good, wholesome and locally-grown food. Their goal is to increase access to good food for all Georgians while contributing to the local food economy. Wholesome Wave Georgia strengthens local food communities by empowering networks of farmers to facilitate access to and awareness of healthy food choices.

By doubling each federal or state nutrition benefit (SNAP, WIC, SFMNP) dollar spent at participating partner markets, WWG leverages existing government food nutrition programs to create financial incentives for low-income shoppers to shop at local farmers markets.

The program is committed to supporting producer-only farmers markets, in which vendors are only permitted to sell items that they have grown or produced themselves.

Every nutrition benefit dollar spent at a WWG partner market becomes two dollars for the shopper and for the farmer. This means more money for local farmers and more Georgians with access to good, wholesome and locally-grown food.

 Laura 1

 

If you happen to be in Georgia this September 13th, the 6th Annual Southern Chef’s Potluck will be held from 3-6pm in benefit of Wholesome Wave Georgia – with an impressive list of participating chefs. Tickets are $150 each.

Guests will dine family style with some of the South’s chefs on the pastoral grounds of the Inn at Serenbe. In addition to food and fellowship, the event will feature local beer, wine and cocktails created by renowned mixologists and a live auction for one-of-a-kind chef experiences.

Each chef contributes a side dish along with homemade pickles, relishes and desserts to be shared. Side dishes will complement main dishes provided by White Oak Pastures and Jim N’ Nicks Bar-B-Q.

 

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