The Founding Fathers’ Favorite Breed of Sheep

The Founding Fathers’ Favorite Breed of Sheep

A lot has changed since July 4th, 1776. Our country went from a nation of small, local, agrarian economies to one of behemoth, multinational corporations and industrial agriculture on a massive scale. We prefer the former, ourselves. Not only has the agricultural system transformed dramatically, so have the livestock themselves.

Not all is lost, however. There are still small family farms raising livestock like they did back when our country was in its infancy. They even raise the same breeds the founding fathers favored, in particular the Tunis sheep. The breed originated in Tunisia and is reputed to be more than 3000 years old. Referred to as fat-tailed sheep in the Bible, the color ranges from tan to red with the occasional white spot on the head and haunches. John Adams mentioned the breed in his diary in 1782 noting its exceptional taste. Thomas Jefferson ordered a herd be imported from Tunisia because he loved them so much, and George Washington bred them too.

Up in Vermont, our friends at the Tamarack Sheep Farm dedicate their lives to raising these rare breeds of heritage sheep. For the first time in the history of Heritage Foods, we are carrying hogget, which is meat from sheep in its second year. Read more about hogget here, and shop our selection of lamb and hogget here.

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