Preserving the Legacy of Frank Reese

Preserving the Legacy of Frank Reese

The passing of the torch is an expression symbolizing the carrying on of the Olympic spirit. Since ancient Greek times, passing the torch relates to succession, mentorship, and the continuity of traditions. When a torch is passed, know-how and the philosophy of making and creating are taught by one person to another.

Frank Reese, the foremost poultry expert in the world and the maintainer of the last American Poultry Association certified hatchery in the States, has spent his career traveling the country rescuing rare flocks of turkeys and chickens for which no succession plan existed. If not for Frank’s work, many breeds would be extinguished from the face of the earth. Frank just turned 74, and until recently the same situation was at risk of happening to him and the birds that reside on his Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Plymouth Rock Heritage Chicken

Frank’s first mentee, Brian Anselmo, died tragically over a decade ago and it took Frank years to find someone else with the dedication and ability to carry on his work of preserving rare poultry breeds. 

In 2012, Frank came across an aspiring young farmer, Jed Greenberg, who now, after hundreds of hours spent training by phone and in-person, seems destined to inherit the responsibility of preserving the breeds Frank has painstakingly maintained over decades. Jed has slowly learned the art of breeding and growing rare birds including selecting which birds' genetics should represent the next generation. He has learned how to meticulously hatch and grow the birds while protecting them from illness. Jed is also the Director of the Good Shepherd Conservancy whose mission is to find more new farms to raise various rare breeds including the Narragansett and Standard Bronze turkey and Barred Rock and Rhode Island White chickens. Jed also runs his own Chosen Farms which raises heritage chickens and turkeys in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including kosher birds.

Explore our collection of heritage poultry.

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