A heritage breed animal is a strange word to some. It simply means an animal that isn’t mass produced in today’s giant commercial markets. These animals were our forefathers animals, passed down from farmhand to farmhand through the years using selective breeding.
Today’s animal breeding markets are dominated by a handful of species and breeding facilities. Heritage breeds encourage our world’s supply of animal bio-diversity in our food supply, maintaining a healthy and natural process that has gone on since mankind first settled farming communities.
More than likely, the turkey you bought in the store last year was of the same breed as the year before. This year, buy a heritage breed turkey and explore some palate pleasing changes in your thanksgiving dinner.
Heritagefoodsusa.com has been raising this years 2010 Thanksgiving Day turkeys for our family. For around $8 a pound, they can be a bit pricey. But if you compare that to a restaurant meal at Chili’s or the like, it can be a lot cheaper; and healthier.
Companies like Heritage Foods USA help to keep genetic diversity in our animals we consume. Utilizing small community farmers to supply species from inherited livestock, mixed with sustainable farming and free range grazing, they increase the health and well being of the animals. And they certainly prove it in their turkey.
Many of these “green turkeys” are produced at small family owned ranches; one which is located in Virginia named Good Shepard Turkey Ranch. It’s owned by Frank Reese, the godfather of American poultry. He is a fourth generation turkey farmer and winner of countless awards for turkey breeding, the first of which was at the age of five.
He has been a strong advocate for bio-diversity in poultry and has prevented the extinction of countless breeds of livestock and poultry. Many of his turkeys can trace their heritage back to the 1800’s. His turkey farm was the first to be certified by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). Robert F. Kennedy Jr. once said that AWI was the gold standard of how animals should be treated.
And these turkeys are proof of that gold standard. Each magnificent bird is delicious as it is colorful. They take longer to grow than mass produced turkeys, translating to a higher price. A conventionally mass produced turkey takes just 3-4 months to reach slaughtering age. Frank’s turkeys take a half year or more to reach maturity. But you had better order now; they are usually sold out by Halloween.