American Originals: The Rich History of American Bison and Turkeys


10 Million years ago : Turkeys appear in North American geologic record. They are the only domesticated animal from North America.

500,000 years ago : Bison crossed the land bridge from Eurasia to North America

1428 : Turkeys were kept by the Aztecs and they were used the feathers to make capes and cloaks– specific color patterns were praised

1873 : APA association established the 5 purebred standard turkeys: Narragansett, Standard Bronze, White Holland, Black, & Slate.

1901 : Due to over hunting Bison numbers declined to 541

1917 : Frank’s genetic line of turkeys arrived in Kansas

1947 : Frank Reese began raising turkeys in Kansas

1997   Ted Turner founded the Turner Endangered Species Fund dedicated to preserving bison and other animals

Some more about the Great American Bison…

BisonBison meat is the true native North American meat. Sixty million bison once roamed the great planes of this land and sustained Native Americans. When the Transcontinental Railroad was built across the country in the 1800s, the bison were split into Northern and Southern herds. The Southern herd included animals from Texas, eastern New Mexico, eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and southern Nebraska. But by the dawn of the 20th century, the total bison population had dwindled to less than 1,000. Thanks to conservation efforts, bison are slowly recovering. The Southern Plains herd that exists today was started in the 1880s by Charles Goodnight, a wealthy American cattlemen. His wife urged him to save five calves at a time when hunters were killing bison by the hundreds of thousands.

Grass-fed Bison is naturally leaner than other meats but the fat it does have is mono-unsaturated making it much healthier while not sacrificing any of the flavor. The leanness of the meat requires low and slow cooking.

 Some more about Heritage Turkeys…


Frank Reese has the “oldest continuous breeding and producing flock of Standard breed (heritage) turkeys in America.”  The same old heritage turkey line has been in Kansas since 1917, unchanged for 97 years. For 50 years Norman Kardosh held the title of raising the oldest flock of Standard bred turkeys. He inherited his flock from his Mother and uncles. His mother got her line of Bronze turkeys as a wedding gift in 1917 and Norman considered that the start of his line of Bronze turkeys. When Norman Kardosh was dying he asked Frank to take his flock and to continue the tradition of caring for his historic line of Standard turkeys. Hopefully in 3 years we can celebrate 100 years of breeding these wonderful and productive heritage turkeys in Kansas and across America.  This is part of saving bio-diversity and TRUE sustainability.




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