Lazy S. Farms – La Plata, Missouri:
Larry and Madonna Sorrell have worked with Heritage Foods since the beginning in 2002, originally growing heritage turkeys and eventually becoming the undisputed royalty of Red Wattle pigs in the USA. Because of a fierce dedication to the genetic purity of the breed and thanks to relationships with the Amish community that took years to develop, Larry and Madonna are a major reason why the Red Wattle, once critically endangered, has been upgraded on conservation lists by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Larry, like the Wattle itself, is sweet and buttery but can also be tart and charmingly inconsistent!
Good Farms – just North of Kansas’ Little Apple, Manhattan:
Craig Good inherited the responsibility of maintaining a passel of the finest Duroc breed pigs in the nation from his father who taught pig husbandry at Kansas State. Craig began working with Heritage Foods in 2006 and over the years transitioned his farm to include numerous rare breeds like the Gloucestershire Old Spot and Tamworth which he also crosses with his Duroc to make deliciously marbled breeds with names like Spot-Rocs and Dur-Worths!
Craig introduced Heritage Foods to many farmers local to him in Manhattan, Kansas including a talented young lamb farmer and a student who raises pigs through the Future Farmers of America. Craig maintains his lovely farm with his wife Amy and it is a favorite stop along the numerous chef farm tours taken over the past decade. In addition to pigs, Craig raises 100% pure Angus beef, which Heritage Foods features once a year during grilling season.
Newman Farm – Myrtle, Missouri:
David Newman is a professor of pig science in North Dakota and along with his brother Chris, has continued the tradition of raising the old-line English genetics of the Berkshire breed started by their father more than 40 years ago on their family farm in the Ozarks. The Newmans are responsible for introducing the purest Berkshire genetics to dozens of farms throughout the country and remain among the fiercest proponents of pasture-raised systems that result in the best marbling in the business. First imported to America in 1823, today the Newmans deliver the closest taste to that original stock. Stay tuned for promotions featuring cross breeding experiments from the farm with Berkshires and rare breeds like the Red Wattle and Large Black.
Krapfl Farm – Delhi, Iowa and Halverson Farm – Benard, Iowa:
Tom Krapfl and Randy Halverson. Because the Berkshire is not endangered like the Wattle, Old Spot or Tamworth, it allows us to meet an ever-growing demand for pasture-raised pork nationally. Tom’s and Randy’s farms are both certified to be humane by Humane Farm Animal Care, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter. Raising outdoors makes for healthier and happier animals that taste better than their counterparts raised indoors.
Norton Farm – Plattsburg, Missouri:
Eric Norton farms an immense property within a stone’s throw of our abattoir in Trimble, Missouri. His diversified farm includes grains, which he uses as feed for his cattle and pigs that run wild across vast stretches of the hilly landscape that has been owned by his family for generations. When Eric began working with Heritage Foods in 2006 his Berkshire line was but a small percentage of his overall production but over the years he has selected for the Berkshire genetics and today more and more of his pigs have the black color with white spots on the tip of the feet, nose and tail — trademark characteristics of the breed. Eric is a young farmer with a growing family giving hope that superior, non-industrial pigs have a vibrant future in the area surrounding Kansas City.
Keevhaver Farm – Trimble, Missouri; Baker Farm – Kiron, Iowa; Meyer Farm – Lawson, Missouri:
Ben Keevhaver, Trent and Troy Baker, Sharon Meyer. When Heritage Foods first started to ramp up production of heritage pigs at our abattoir in Trimble, Missouri, a number of local farmers called asking if they could also provide pigs for the program. The answer, like usual, was yes as long as they transitioned to raising the Berkshire outdoors, a breed that was readily available to them locally. So over the years the three farms started to ramp up production themselves and now provide excellent pigs on a monthly basis. They are also helping to grow the supply of good, clean and fair pigs in the Kansas City market, good news for the local restaurant scene, which has really taken off in recent years.
Doug Metzger and his family – Seneca, Kansas:
Doug Metzger was the first farmer to grow pigs for Heritage Foods and it was he who introduced us in 2005 to Paradise Locker Meats, an abattoir we have worked with ever since. We met Doug and his wife Betty through our original project to introduce rare breed turkeys to the national market and continued to work with him to raise Berkshire pigs and eventually Tamworth pigs, which are considered rare. Doug is a master of agricultural arts and has raised almost everything imaginable over the decades. Doug is a great connector of people and has played a major role in the local ag scene through his diversified farm. Doug is older now and we hope very much that his daughter and son continue to the tradition of farming in the family that was started many generations before. Life Magazine once wrote that Doug’s father had more living descendants than any American – and many of them were farmers.
Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch – Lindsborg, Kansas:
Frank Reese is a founder of Heritage Foods USA. In 2001, Marian Burros wrote a New York Times article announcing that Slow Food USA would sell rare breed “Ark of Taste” turkeys for the week of Thanksgiving 2002 in an effort to increase their population counts. Heritage Foods USA was formed as an entity to make the sale possible. Frank was the farmer behind that article and in the first year he raised about 900 birds. The second year he raised 1600. Today he raises about 10,000 a year and is also responsible for supplying rare birds to farms throughout the country, a great achievement for advocates of increasing biodiversity in the protein world nationally.
Frank learned the art of raising rare breed poultry as a child. As he grew older his mission evolved to keeping alive poultry lines that could be traced back to the original standards dictated by the American Poultry Association in the mid 19th century. Frank spent time driving to farms to pick up flocks of older farmers like Norm Kardosh who could trace the genetic lines back to the 19th century. Today Frank is considered the best poultry breeder in America and has dozens of breeds of turkey and chicken living on his farm. Also ducks and geese. He is also the only farmer in the USA allowed to use the word “heritage” by the USDA thanks to his certification by the American Poultry Association. He is also working with Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas to open a facility on his farm for their Environmental Studies program.
Tamarack Sheep Farm – Corinth, Vermont:
Ben Machin grew up in Vermont on a small organic homestead where his family grew their own food, and produced apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. After some years working for the US Forest Service as a Smokejumper, Ben came back to Vermont to study and work on various natural conservation projects. Eventually he rekindled his interest in farming. Raising sheep has been in Ben's blood for generations. His great-grandfather started a Tunis flock in the 1920s and then Ben's grandfather began to work with Dorset Horn sheep 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.
Shannon Creek Farm – Manhattan, Kansas:
Joseph Hubbard is one of the youngest farmers in the Heritage Foods network. Joseph learned the art of farming from his family and raises sheep and goats on the vast Flint Hill pastures around Manhattan, Kansas. The Flint Hills, a band of hills in eastern Kansas stretching into North Central Oklahoma, is a region that is not good for plant agriculture, but ideal for pasture raised animals. This ecological region is where the most dense coverage of intact tallgrass prairie can be found in North America including Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indiangrass, Switchgrass, Prairie Dropseed, and Sideoats Grama. These tallgrass varieties are responsible for producing the tastiest grass fed animals on the planet. Joseph raises multiple breeds of lamb for different reasons: Katahdin for their multiple birth and high growth rate, St. Croix for the natural tannin in their gut that wards off parasites and White Dorper for their muscling.
Clover Creek Farm – Jonesborough, Tennessee:
Clover Creek Farm spans 50 acres of land at an elevation of about 1650 feet. Chris, Ray and Sarah Wilson 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.
Meadowood Farm – Cazenovia, New York:
Meadowood Farms L.L.C. is a 225 acre diversified farm in Madison County, New York. They produce award winning farmstead cheeses from a flock of pasture raised East Friesian sheep. They are also home to a world class herd of Registered Belted Galloway beef cattle.
Veronica Pedraza is a young and talented farmer there who we first met through the famous cheesemonger Anne Saxelby, proprietor of Saxelby Cheesemongers in NYC. Veronica is a great energy for the farm and the animals, which she raises with her trusty dog that protects them from annoying predators.
Montana Ranch – Billings, Montana:
When Molly Descheemaeker and six other ranch women from central Montana started their branded beef business in 1978, little did they know the course they were charting. Descheemaeker, Grass Range, MT, was secretary-treasurer and chairman of the board of the small company that produced the premium “pure” canned beef the women sold literally out of the trunks of their cars — and via mail order. Today, Descheemaeker's husband Larry, and sons Pat and Greg, are partners in the company that's entered the fresh “natural” branded-beef business. Montana Ranch Brand's Authentically Natural Ranch Beef is raised without added growth hormones or antibiotics. The company's featured product lines are split about 50/50 between “natural” ranch beef and Certified Piedmontese Beef. A double-muscled breed, Piedmontese exhibits superior muscularity and leanness because of mutations of the myostatin gene. The gene is involved in control of the number of muscle cells that result in generally more tender beef with less marbling.
Long Meadow Ranch – Napa Valley, California:
Long Meadow Ranch Cattle Company is the owner of more than 350 outstanding Highland cattle with bloodlines that include the 2000 Grand and Reserve Champion cows and the 1999 Champion Cow/Calf Pair. The growing operation is based at Long Meadow Ranch's Mayacamas Estate where they maintain bulls and selected cows. The 500-acre farm in Tomales (in Marin County) is home to the mother cow herd. The weaned calves and yearlings enjoy lush Carneros grasses on the 157-acre Di Rosa Preserve along Highway 121 in southern Napa County. Long Meadow is also famous for their delicious wines and fantastic restaurant Farmstead headed by chef Stephen Barber. Housed in a former nursery barn, the restaurant is centered around an open kitchen, family-style dining, a full bar and an authentic farm-to-table menu.
Heartbrand Beef – Texas:
HeartBrand Beef, Inc., is presently producing natural Akaushi meat under rigorous quality guidelines and certified product testing in a source verified vertically integrated production system. Our, program is designed to provide consumers the healthiest and highest quality natural Akaushi beef. These Texas Akaushi cattle are 100 percent pure and are direct descendants of the Mount Aso region's revered Akaushi herds that are a National Treasure and protected breed by the government of Japan. HeartBrand Beef Incorporated has respected the deep Japanese traditions and embraced the healthy results of source-verified herd management in a natural environment.
Paradise Locker Meats – Trimble, Missouri:
Mario and Teresa Fantasma are the founders of Paradise Locker Meats. Mario worked in the commodity meat industry for decades before deciding that he wanted something better. So he went to the bank and got a loan to purchase an existing slaughterhouse in Paradise, Missouri, just outside Kansas City. The old plant, which had frequently been used as a local election headquarters, eventually burned down during a curing accident and the Fantasma family was at a crossroads. Would they open a new plant or call it quits and go back to working for the big guys? Thanks to prompting from their two sons, Lou and Nick, Mario and Teresa decided to invest in a new building a few miles away.
We first met the Fantasmas in 2005 and they immediately became USDA inspected (from state inspection) allowing them to ship across state lines for Heritage Foods accounts. Today their operation has expanded from 6 employees to 36 and they are now a Certified Humane facility. They process over 200 pigs a week for Heritage Foods USA as well as lamb and goat seasonally and a few head of cattle. They have won numerous awards for their injection-curing program, are a fixture of the BBQ circuit locally and are growing their retail store as well. Heritage is honored to have grown with them and looks forward to growing more in the future.
Twig Farm – West Cornwall, Vermont:
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 spend 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.
Asgaard Dairy – New York:
The name Asgaard was originally given to the estate by Rockwell Kent, a renowned and controversial artist, writer, adventurer, political activist and farmer.
Asgaard Farm and dairy is owned and operated by David and Rhonda Brunner. The farm is set on 1,500 acres of organic fields and second growth forest in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains – just outside of the village of Au Sable Forks. The Brunners look after a boisterous herd of registered Alpine, Nubian, and Saanen goats who pasture graze and forage in the vast woodlands. In addition to farmstead cheese the Brunners produce meat, poultry and vegetables.
Highwood Farm – New York:
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.
Miz-inka Farm – New York:
Ruth and Jim Stickler run Miz-inka Farm, which has been in the Stickler family since 1929. Both Ruth and Jim grew up on dairy farms helping their families with the farm chores for as long as they can remember.
For the past 25 years Ruth and Jim have maintained the farm’s dairy business. In 2008 they began raising Boer meat goats. The Sticklers originally looked to goats as a tool for making the farm more sustainable, but have grown to love the fun and excitement the herd brings their grandkids. Their diverse herd, which now boasts 75 goats of all ages, includes La Mancha dairy goats, a source of milk and cheese for the family.
Jim and Jean Bright – New York:
Jim and Jean Bright work with their grandchildren, who are avid 4-Hers, to show their goats around central New York State. The Brights have a dual purpose herd with Boers, Alpines and crosses. They have a registered Boer buck and registered Alpine buck in the herd. They milk their does by hand and have become especially skilled at making fresh cheeses. Their three-acre farm is home to 32 goats. Recently they have begun work on new property that will eventually house a larger farm. Plans are to expand to approximately 75 meat goats and 25 dairy goats with a milking parlor and cheese processing facility.
Hawk Hall Farm – New York:
Hawk Hill Farm in Trumansburg, NY is home to a herd of Red, Black and Paint Boers goats as well as more traditional “redheads”. The farm is owned and operated by Tatiana Stanton, Goat Extension Specialist for the New York State Department of Agriculture. The goats graze bountiful pastures from May 1st to December 20th each year (rain, sun or snow!) and are supplemented on locally grown grains.
Cotton Hill Creamery – New York:
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.
Glenerie Farm – New York:
Glenerie Farm is a diversified farm in the Hudson Valley of NY where Dennis and Karin Skalla raise goats, chickens, ducks and geese. Their land had not been farmed for approximately 15 years before they acquired it in 2010 and was overgrown with small trees, honeysuckle and multiflora rose. The herd of 20 goats are rotated through this land so that they continually have fresh forage to eat. Their diet is also supplemented by organic grain and local hay. The Skallas' herd of dairy does provide the farm with milk for drinking and cheese making. Karin also uses the milk to make Glenerie Farm's beautiful goat's milk soaps. Additionally, the Skallas tend their large vegetable garden and small orchard and sell their eggs at local markets.
4 Tin Fish Farm – New York:
4 Tin Fish Farm is a family owned and operated micro goat dairy located in Central New York. The farm initially started out as a hobby for the Fish family, but as their passion grew they began to shift their thinking as to how they could turn the hobby into a family business. Their goal is to provide farmstead cheese to local restaurants and consumers and to raise quality Alpine dairy goats.
Jones Family Farm – New York:
Jones Family Farm, a small, diversified operation, is owned and operated by Peter, Suzie and their daughters. They raise Boer and Spanish goats, concentrating on good conformation, natural parasite resistance, and strong mothering instincts. Their goats are raised on grass, hay and browse alone. The result is a healthier and hardier herd and a complex, mildly sweet meat without any of the added fat. All young stock stay with their mothers until the day they leave our farm.
Rainbow Haven Farm – New York:
Rainbow Haven Farm is a small family farm owned by Patricia and James Mercado and their 3 sons, Jimmy, Mikey and Robert. As a family they raise dairy goats, Irish Dexter cattle, Romanov sheep, and Berkshire pigs on 10 acres of pasture in Sullivan County, NY. The resident guardian llama watches over the animals. The goats, cattle, and sheep are all milked and all their babies are then bottle fed – making them all healthy and friendly. Jim says his favorite breed is La Mancha because of their sneaky, comical personalities.
S. Wallace Edwards and Sons – Surry, Virginia:
We first met Sam Edwards when he placed a call into Heritage Foods in 2006 to inquire about our pasture-raised, Certified Humane, Berkshire hams for his 80-year old family business. As we researched we discovered that S. Wallace Edwards and Sons was an American treasurer that supplied ham, bacon and sausage to thousands of restaurants, butchers and shops across the South. Indeed Edwards was a household name to millions, but in New York where Heritage Foods is based, only a few pioneering establishments like Momofuku Ssam Bar featured his meats on their menu.
Sam was always trying to improve the products coming out of his facility in Surry, Virginia and he believed that the Berkshire breed, raised outdoors, was the best way to do that, especially when it came to long-aged hams which need to stand up to 400 or more days of curing. Our first test load was sent in the autumn of 2006 and then we waited…and waited…until just over a year later when Sam called us again to say that the hams we had sent him came out tasting exquisite. We were ecstatic.
Batali – Seattle, Washington:
The patriarch Armandino Batali is older now but still very much involved at Salumi, the historic storefront in downtown Seattle. While his son Mario Batali has gone on to open numerous restaurants around the country, his daughter Gina and her husband Brian run the day-to-day operations. All products at Salumi are made by three people, making it one of the smallest production teams anywhere. These salumi are produced in extremely limited supply so we are all very fortunate that we can feature these products on our website.
Broadbent – Kuttawa, Kentucky:
In 1909 Broadbent began curing their first hams, over a century later the Kentucky Country Hams are cured in much the same way – by hand. The hams are hand-rubbed with cure before undergoing a curing, smoking, and aging process that takes roughly nine months to complete.
Finchville Farms – Finchville, Kentucky:
For three generations the Robertsons and Switzers have been curing these country hams using only salt, peppers and brown sugar – all natural ingredients used throughout the centuries to preserve food before refrigeration. These traditional Kentucky hams are aged for one year in wooden barns.
Tuna, Salmon, Anchovies
American Tuna – San Diego, California:
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.
Sea Lab – Bra, Italy:
Our anchovies are Slow Food endorsed and hand crafted by our very own Serena Di Liberto’s father and brother, Saro and Gianluca, who have been in the business for over 30 years. Each one of these beautiful glass jars is painstakingly hand-packed with plump anchovies cured in the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil to preserve the fresh flavors of the fish. We are so proud to have received a shipment direct from the artisan plant in Bra, Italy! Terrific right out of the jar, they are sensational over buttered bread. Anchovies have been traditionally used to add depth of flavor to food since Roman times. Almost everything can be improved with the addition of an anchovy whether in a salad (the Caesar in particular), on a pizza, in pasta, or in any fish dish. They infuse a radical undertone to dips or spreads such as a tapenade, bagna cauda, or caponata. These little fish will totally and absolutely redefine your perception of anchovies. Our anchovies are fished from the waters of Sicily while the olive oil is from Umbria.
Iliamna Fish Co. – Bristol Bay, Alaska:
Christopher Nicolson, of Iliamna Fish Co., was raised in a fishing community just like generations of his family before him. Fishing knowledge and connection to the local Kenai Peninsula of Bristol Bay, Alaska is part of Christopher’s heritage and his way of life. Lucky for us, Christopher is a neighbor and good friend of Heritage. Heritage Foods USA is proud to offer wild caught salmon fished from our friends at Iliamna Fish Company from Bristol Bay, Alaska, one of the last pristine spawning grounds for wild salmon.
Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste
At Heritage Foods USA we support family farms raising rare breeds of livestock – knowing that genetic diversity and gastronomy are important. We have partnered with Slow Food USA to promote their Ark of Taste project, an international catalog of endangered foods. We are proud to feature a selection of these products for sale year round including:
Breed Variety Chops - four pork chops each from 3 breeds (Red Wattle, Old Spot, Tamworth, Large Black, Berkshire)
Breed Variety Chicken - three 3-4lb whole chickens from a rotating selection of 24 varieties (Barred Rock, New Hampshire, Hamburg...)
Breed Variety Lamb Legs - two 4.5lb legs (Tunis, Navajo Churro, Horned Dorset)
Whole Turkeys - 8-25lb available, fresh Thanksgiving week (Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Jersey Buff, Black, Slate, Bronze)
Whole Geese - 10-12lb, fresh late December (American Buff, African)
Whole Ducks - 3-4lb, fresh late December (Aylesbury)
Rare Occasions - A selection of 4 cuts from a single rare breed
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Anishinaabeg Manoomin Rice - Native Harvest, Callaway, MN
White Sonora Wheat - Hayden Flour Mills, Phoenix, AZ
Shrub - Tait Farm Foods, State College, PA
Jacob’s Cattle Bean - Baer’s Best Beans, South Hamilton, MA
Sourwood Honey - Mike’s Honeybees, Raleigh, NC
American Native Pecans - Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, Nevada, MO
Blenheim Apricots - B&R Farms, San Benito, CA