Tag: heritage turkey


The Frank Reese Story

Every super hero needs an origin story.

Frank_for_blog
Frank Reese with his Heritage turkeys at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch

At Heritage Foods USA, Frank Reese is a super hero. His farming practices should be a model for anyone who cares about taste and the survival and success of true heritage breeds. We started our business because we believed in Frank, and his heritage turkeys have really sustained us. It is nearly impossible to compete with his birds.

One of our favorite things about Frank is that his history is so totally epic. We’ve been hyping it lately to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of his turkey flock, so we thought we’d share it here. This is America at its best!

 
In 1916, poultry farmers with the unlikely name of the Bird Brothers (their real name), won a blue ribbon at a poultry show at Madison Square Garden.

In 1944, the Meyersdale Republican of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, wrote that the Bird Brothers “success as developers and propagators of the best strains of Giant Bronze turkeys made the name of their firm known in nearly every civilized country in the world. They exhibited fowls at Madison Square Garden for 27 consecutive years, and never without taking blue ribbons.”

1932 BIRD BROTHERS ADD (1) (1)
Bird Brothers ad from 1932

In 1917, the year after their first championship at the Garden, the mother of Frank’s future mentor Norman Kardosh – who Frank would meet at a poultry show in 1955, when Frank was just seven years old– received ten Bird Brother Standard Bronze turkey eggs as a wedding present, and passed them on to her son. These heritage turkeys can be directly traced to 1843 and the Boston Livestock Show.

Long gone are the days when viable bird eggs were given as wedding gifts (or when there were poultry shows in the center of New York City), but back then, in a country driven by family farms, there was nothing strange about it at all. Norman’s mom had the eggs shipped to Kansas by railcar, where Frank would eventually found his farm. These eggs would be the beginning of a flock of Bronze turkeys that by 2016 would become the only breed of turkey whose lineage could be traced back over 173 years — including the last century in Kansas.

Freyja & Susan's Heritage Turkey

2015 Heritage Turkey Photo Contest

A huge “Thank You” to all participants for sharing your holiday feast with us!

We are thrilled to announce the winner of our 2015 Heritage Turkey Photo Contest!

Each family submitted photos of their Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey for a chance to win an 18-20lb Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving 2016. Our inbox was flooded with your submissions, here are the best of the best:

2015 Turkey Photo Contest Winner:

Freyja & Susan

South Berwick, ME

Freyja & Susan's Heritage Turkey
Freyja & Susan’s Heritage Turkey

 

Honorable Mentions:

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To all of you who support the Heritage Turkey Project, you have truly made this project a success. Thank You!

It would not be possible without your support and enthusiasm over the years.

Ark of Taste Collection

The Ark is Slow Food’s most important project, and the project that best celebrates flavor and pleasure as part of our cultural heritage – Patrick Martins, founder of Heritage Foods USA

Slow Food’s Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. This metaphorical ark carries the dual goal of helping preserve the cultural and social narratives embedded within American food traditions while promoting and preserving biodiversity within our delicate food system.

We began Heritage Foods USA 12 years ago when we first offered Frank Reese’s Heritage Turkeys to the young but growing Slow Food USA network . Each turkey became an opportunity to share our vision with a wider audience, which is to develop a responsible alternative to commodity-raised meat while promoting biodiversity on the ground.

Since that first Thanksgiving we have grown our network to include over 90 farmers— farmers who collectively raise over 75 different heritage breeds on open pasture the “good, clean and fair” way.

Preserving our culinary heritage is front and center of the mission for both Slow Food and Heritage Foods USA. This is why we are so excited to announce our most recent collaboration with Slow Food USA This Thanksgiving we are featuring a special collection of foods from the Ark of Taste to share with your friends and family this holiday!

Learn More About Our Ark of Taste Collection & Pre-Order Yours Today!

To celebrate this important milestone for Ark of Taste products and producers we hosted a tasting to share and experience these rare foods. Joined by Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA; Alice Waters, American culinary pioneer; Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food; and other leaders and visionaries from the Slow Food community we tasted each product that is included in our Ark of Taste Collection along with other seasonal and special Ark products that were shared with us by our wonderful network of farmers and producers.

Spanning the breadth of sustainable, delicious and diverse food made in the United States, we tasted Newtown Pippin Apples that are grown on the Hudson River and have sold in New York City for 7 generations. We also enjoyed Sonoran Wheat berries from Arizona, which signify a beacon of rebirth for heritage grains uniquely adapted to the climate in which they are grown. We sampled 17 products in total, each with a distinct story but sharing the common theme that they delicious are made by people committed to doing things the “good, clean and fair” way- each impacting our food system in a small way and collectively changing the way we enjoy and buy our food.

We want to thank all of the producers and purveyors of the Ark of Taste products that were a part of tasting.

Saxelby Cheesemongers
Tait Farm
Baer’s Best
Woods Cider Mill
Prospect Hill Orchards
Native Harvest
Missouri Northern Pecan Growers
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Hayden Mills
Shields Date Garden
Yanabah
B & R Farms
Native Seeds
Mike’s Honey
Mauthes’ Progress Milk Barn
Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale

The Ark is Slow Food’s most important project, and the project that best celebrates flavor and pleasure as part of our cultural heritage – Patrick Martins, founder of Heritage Foods USA.

Heritage Turkey Photos

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!

2013 Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey Contest
2013 Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey Contest

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!

Heritage_Turkey2 Heritage_Turkey1

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!

Heritage Turkey Photo Contest!

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.

Adam_Amsterdam Andre_Evens Andrea.HardyStanford Benjamin.Brown David.Boutt David.Kirk Denise. Jordan Dianne_Sinclair Jackie_Donovan Jason.Beard Laura.WarrenHill Lauren_Valacer Lucia.DeRespinis Michael_Byrne2 Muffy.Kelly Pam.Harris philippe.Shils1 philippe.Shils2  Sidney.Bostic Steph Sue_Recht

Frank Reese on Heritage Turkeys

HeritageTurkeys_Secondary

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.” 

WHAT IS A HERITAGE TURKEY?

  • 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.

Talking Heritage Turkey with Frank Reese on Heritage Radio Network

Frank Reese
Frank Reese

Frank Reese live on Heritage Radio Network!

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!

The Heritage Turkey – Two Ways

Sunny Turkeys

Thanksgiving is the traditional time to enjoy turkey. But everyone wants the Thanksgiving meal to be cooked in the traditional way – so you get a roasted turkey with stuffing. Delicious, but there are a million other ways to prepare turkey. Really, anything you do with chicken, you can substitute turkey. The flavors will just be more robust and flavorful.

The best way to experiment with cooking turkey is to buy the whole bird. It is not only more economical, but it also gives you the ability to play around with flavors and enjoy the meat throughout several dishes – or meals.

Here, we have two tasty and very different turkey preparations using the whole bird. One of our own HFUSA staff created both recipes, so we can attest to the cheers that erupted at the table when they were presented!  One is a sweet and sour turkey dish over cold noodles (using the thighs, legs and wings) while the other is a spicy coconut turkey dish served over rice or with lettuce wraps (using the breasts).

Be sure to keep any extra turkey trimmings, the back and all the bones to make a lovely poultry stock. Homemade stock is my favorite thing to keep in the freezer. I use homemade stock for risottos or the base for numerous sauce and soups. You can also substitute stock for water when cooking rice, couscous or other grains for a richer flavor.

Enjoy our whole Heritage Turkey today and try these two very different, very delicious preparations.

Sweet & Sour Turkey

Ingredients:

Marinade

½ cup sugar

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

3 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

1.5 tablespoons fish sauce

1 inch chuck of garlic (chopped into 3 pieces)

2-8 red chilies (depending on amount of heat you want!)

zest of 1 lime (peeled in strips, not grated)

 

Dressing

½ cup sugar

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

3 cloves of garlic (diced)

1.5 tablespoons fish sauce

1 inch chuck of garlic (diced)

2-8 red chilies (depending on type and amount of heat you want!)

zest and juice of 1 lime (grated and juiced)

fresh lemon juice to taste

handful of fresh mint

 

Thighs, legs, and wings of the Heritage Turkey

1 head of Napa Cabbage

Rice noodles

 

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Separate the thighs, legs and wings from the remainder of the Turkey (save breasts for other dish and remaining pieces for stock)
  • Season the pieces with salt and pepper
  • Sear turkey in cast iron pan, skin side down, until you get a nice browned color across the skin side
  • While the turkey is searing, prepare your marinade
  • In a bowl combine the marinade ingredients, taste and adjust as needed
  • Flip turkey pieces over so flesh side is against the pan
  • Add marinade mixture plus 1 cup water to the pan
  • Cover with tin foil and braise in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone
  • Check turkey every half hour, scoop marinade liquid over turkey pieces to maintain moistness
  • As the turkey cooks, the marinade should reduce to form your sauce but you may need to add water as you go so turkey is not cooking dry
  • While the turkey cooks, prepare your rice noodles according to package instructions and shred the Napa cabbage.
  • Also, make the dressing for your noodles. You should notice the dressing and marinade ingredients are very similar so the flavors will be complimentary.
  • Once done, take pan out of oven and allow turkey to rest for 10-15 minutes
  • Taste the pan sauce and adjust as needed. Use to glaze the turkey.
  • Dress cabbage and noodles with dressing mixture then garnish with the chiffonade of fresh mint

GSTR_TurkeyBreed2

Coconut Turkey

Ingredients:

Turkey breasts

2 cans coconut milk

zest of 1 lime (peeled in strips, not grated)

1 bay leaf

1 inch ginger (sliced thin)

3 onions

3 tablespoons curry powder

1-2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 red chilies (depending on type and amount of heat you want!)

Optional: 1/3 cup coconut milk powder

Diced scallions and cilantro for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Separate breasts at the bone and put them on a rack in a roasting pan
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Pour can of coconut milk over the turkey
  • Add the peel of 1 lime, 1 bay leaf, the sliced ginger, 1 onion quartered
  • Cover in tin foil and cook in oven until tender and done, about 2 hours
  • While the turkey cooks, pull out a separate pan to sauté 2 whole diced onions
  • When clear and fragrant, remove onion from pan and keep in small bowl
  • In same pan, toast 3 table spoons of curry until fragrant
  • Add onions back to pan and diced ginger, 1-2 cloves diced garlic, chilies, 1 can of coconut milk and tablespoon sugar
  • Warm the sauce in pan to thicken
  • When turkey is done, rest for 20 minutes
  • Strain the cooking liquid from the turkey and add to sauce pan
  • If you want to thicken the sauce more, you can add another 1/3 cup coconut milk powder, but it is not essential
  • Pull turkey off the bone and slice on a bias. Add meat to the coconut mixture
  • Put in a serving dish and garnish with diced cilantro and scallions
  • Serve over rice along with lettuce wraps if desired
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