Learn about the breeds we sell

Breed statistics courtesy of the Livestock Conservancy

Pork

Red Wattle

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States 

Origin: 18th Century Louisiana by way of New Caledonia

Flavor Profile: Described as a cross between pork and beef, Red Wattle is floral and robust, concentrated and bold

Producers: A consortium of 18 Amish families in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas

History: French colonists brought these hogs to New Orleans as a favored meat breed. The Red Wattle eventually would populate the forests of Texas where they were rounded up and brought to the great slaughterhouses of Chicago. Recognized by their signature wattles that hang from the jowl, the Red Wattle resembles Kunekune pigs of New Zealand.

Gloucestershire Old Spots

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States 

Origin: 19th Century Indiana by way of Berkeley Valley of Gloucestershire, England

Flavor Profile: Described as a charcuterie pig with a delicious milky fat

Producers: Craig and Amy Good outside of Manhattan, Kansas

History: Descended from the native old English pigs of western England, this pig was mentioned as early as the 1780's. The spotted pig forages on fallen orchard fruits and other farm by products. Despite their signature oversized floppy ears which hang over their eyes, this gentle pig is hearty and self-reliant. 

Tamworth

Threatened: Fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States

Origin: Rossville, Illinois by way of Staffordshire, England by way of Ireland

Flavor Profile: A premiere bacon producer, Tamworth meat is fruity, earthy, clean, mineral, root, sweet & tender

Producers: Doug Metzger and Craig and Amy Good in Kansas

History: The only native red breed to England, its heritage traces back to the wild pigs of Middle Age Europe. A slow growing breed, the Tamworth is active and hearty. Traditionally raised in the woods, the pig's long angular snout makes it an excellent forager — Tamworth pigs do not confirm to industrial agriculture needs.

Berkshire

Origin: 1823 Kentucky/ Illinois by way of Western England and outside London

Flavor Profile: Sweet with depth of flavor, Berkshire pork is balanced and the most universally loved of all the Heritage breeds

Producers: David Newman and a consortium of 12 family farms in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa

History: For years the Royal Family kept a large Berkshire herd at Windsor Castle — our Berkshire pigs are traceable back to these old English genetics. This would eventually become the most popular Heritage breed of pig in the United States because of its supreme marbling. Prized by the Japanese who imported it as "Kurobuta" pork, the Berkshire is recognized by 6 white spots at the tip of its feet, nose and tail.

Duroc

Origin: Eastern United States and corn belt by way of the Guinea coast of Africa

Flavor Profile: Duroc meat is crisp and clean — known for great marbling and polished texture its taste is approachable on the palate.

Producers: Craig and Amy Good outside Manhattan, Kansas

History: The Duroc is an older breed of American domestic pig that has become one of the most popular breeds because of its great taste and strong genetics, but pure Duroc is very hard to find. Durocs are a red pig strain developed around 1800 in New England and reputed to trace their ancestry back to the early red pigs of Africa. Durocs are especially valued by farmers for their hardiness and quick but thorough muscle growth.

Large Black 

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States

Origin: 1920s Eastern United States by way of Essex, Devon and Cornwall England possibly by way of Naples, Italy

Flavor ProfileFirm, sweet, savory and delicate

Producers: Larry Sorell Northern Missouri

History: Cabbage Hill Farm in New York was a leader in creating a US Breed Association for the Large Black, which is renowned as a delicious fatty pig breed. A large amount of fat and black skin led to the demise of this breed, which is now on the rebound from the highly threatened list.


Lamb


Dorset Horn

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States 

Origin: 1860 Oregon territory by way of England 

Flavor Profile: Olive, lavender, sweet, round 

Producers: Tamarack Sheep Farm, Corinth, Vermont 

History: The Dorset Horn is a breed of sheep that spread over Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and most of Wales during the 1700s. Once popular with English aristocracy, the Dorset Horn has seen a steady decrease in population since the inception of industrialized agriculture. Dorsets tolerate heat well— heat tolerance contributes to the rams’ ability to breed earlier in the season than rams of other breeds. The Dorset Horn is able to give birth three times a year, which contributes to the Dorsets profitability and appeal for farmers who are familiar with heritage breeds.

Tunis

Watch: Fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States 

Origin: 18th Century Eastern United States by way of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt 

Flavor Profile: Earthy, minerally, buttermilk, light, silky 

Producers: Tamarack Sheep Farm, Corinth, Vermont

History: The Tunis 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. George Washington bred them too.

Navajo-Churro

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States 

Origin: 1500s Navajo Country and the mountains of New Mexico by way of Spain 

Flavor Profile: Rich, earthy, tangy, sweet, mustard seed, spicy, herbaceous, silky

Producers: Antonio Manzanares in the Navajo Country

History: The Churro was brought to the Americas in the 1500s by the Spanish. The earliest domesticated livestock in the New World, it quickly became integrated in native culture and cuisine. The Navajo-Churro produces excellent wool and meat. It was Navajo women who owned the sheep, the grazing rights and the wool, which was an important source of income. The Navajo-Churro existed in great numbers until the 1860s when the United States government targeted their populations while at war with the Navajo.

Turkey

The turkeys we eat today originally came from Central America, were brought to Europe, domesticated there, then reimported back to the United States where they were crossed with wild turkeys. The descendants of these turkeys are the ones that would eventually be certified by the American Poultry Association as standard breed starting in 1873. The books the APA published each year since, called the Standards of Perfection, would become the template of what poultry production in America would be for the next 100 years, until industrial farming took over.


The flavor profile of heritage breed turkeys are almost identical because they all descended from the Bronze Turkey. Compared to industrial turkeys, Heritage turkeys have a flavor profile that is a deep, rich, dark turkey taste, with an aroma that will fill your house. Heritage turkeys are universally acclaimed to be the tastiest birds on the market today. 

Bronze Turkey

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Rhode Island

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The first standard bred turkey in America. Developed in the 1840s and first shown at the first American Poultry Association show in 1873 in Buffalo New York the Bronze became the foundation for all domestic turkeys in the United States. It is known for its shimmering, coppery, gold color.

Narragansett

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Rhode Island, United States

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: A descendent of the Bronze turkey that was developed in the Narraganset Bay in Rhode Island in the 1850s and 1860s. Producers there liked the color pattern, a silver turkey with a golden tail, and selected for it. Driven by wagon to supply the New York market, this breed would become famous around the country.

Bourbon Red

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Bourbon County, Kentucky

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch

History: Around 1890, Mr. J.F. Barbee started selecting for a dark, red, mahogany feather pattern by crossing the Buff turkey with the Black turkey. Originally called the Chestnut Red, the breed remained relatively unknown but when the name was changed to Bourbon Red it greatly increased in popularity.

White Holland

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the US with 7 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Ohio, United States 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: A genetic mutation of the Bronze turkey that produced an all-white pattern in the feathers was given the name White Holland by the American Poultry Association in 1873. Originally made popular in Ohio, white feathers would become the way of the industry over 100 years later.

Black

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the US with 7 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Maryland and Virginia 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The Native Americans throughout Mexico and Central America highly prized Black turkeys. The turkeys brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus were Black turkeys and some people still call them “Spanish Black”.

Chicken

New Hampshire

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: New Hampshire and Eastern United States 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: Red Feathered chickens were a desired trait and farmers started to select for them in the 18th Century. It was not until the early 20th Century that this breed was distinguished from the Rhode Island Reds. New Hampshires are renowned as a dual-purpose chicken, excellent egg layers and meat producers.

Barred Rock

Threatened: A 100% authentic historic Barred Rock are almost impossible to find 

Origin: New York State 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The Barred Rock is the foundation of the poultry industry and was raised by the millions from 1870 -1950. They remained king of the industry until they were replaced by the industrial Cornish. They say the original Barred Rock has never been beat in a tasting contest. As an animal it is hearty, tough and reliable as well as beautiful to look at.

Jersey Giants

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: New Jersey

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: In the 1890’s the Black Brothers bred for a very large roasting chicken for the New York market. The Jersey Giant was created as a replacement for turkey that easily fit into a New York City oven. It is still the largest of all domesticated chickens.

Cornish Game (Old English Game)

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the US with 7 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The history of the slow growing Cornish game is ancient and it was originally known as the Old English Game hen. The Cornish Hen was originally developed at least 1000 years ago as a fighting bird, which is where they got their names as “gaming” chickens. They were eventually given the name Cornish because they were the preferred breed in Cornish, England, where they were loved by royalty.

Columbia Wyndotte

Threatened: A 100% authentic historic Columbia Wyndotte is almost impossible to find

Origin: New York

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: Developed to live in upstate New York and in cold climates, this bird is known for its great amount of yellow fat, prized by chefs for its flavor. While there are Wyndottes that can be traced back 100s of years, the American Wyndotte was accepted into the American Poultry Association in the 1890’s. The breed comes in different colors including silver laced, white, and black.

Rhode Island Whites

Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the US with 7 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Rhode Island

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: Part of the movement to improve the quality of birds from 1910-1930, the Rhode Island White was originally developed to be raised as a hearty dual production bird in the cold climates like Maine and Vermont. They have small combs and small wattles making them less susceptible to frost bite. A very unique breed, they were recognized as a pure breed in the 1920’s.

Delaware Chicken

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The Delaware is a cross between the New Hampshire and Barred Rock chickens resulting in a “Delaware pattern” which is a white feathered bird with black barring on the tail, neck, and flight feathers. The Delaware was created because farmers wanted a white feathered bird for the market that was also delicious: New Hampshires and Barred Rocks were the meat kings of the time.

Waterfowl

Aylesbury Duck

Critical: Fewer than 500 breeding birds in the US with 5 or fewer primary breeding flocks

Origin: Aylesbury, England 

Flavor Profile: A bouncy texture and rich creamy fat, robust flavor with nutty and herbaceous notes 

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The Aylesbury Duck reached its peak popularity in the late 1800s when thousands of ducklings were sent from the town of Aylesbury to London and served at the top restaurants of the day. Since then, the breed was crossed with other breeds like the Pekin, which fared better in industrial settings. If it were not for a few dedicated farmers who kept it pure, it is likely the breed would have disappeared for good. This is the original Christmas duck.

French Dewlap Toulouse Goose

Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US with 10 or fewer primary breeding flocks 

Origin: Toulouse, France

Producers: Frank Reese, Good Shepherd Ranch 

History: The original Foie gras goose, this was the goose of wealth and royalty, praised for the large amount of meat and delicious fats they produced. It has a grey back, grey neck a bright orange bill with a pure white underbelly. Known for its extra large size and heavy feathers it also has a Dewlap, a pendulous skin appendage that develops under the throat of the goose — very unique trait to the Toulouse.

Goat

Oberhasli

Recovering: Breeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded watch category numbers 

Origin: 1900s imported to the Unites States from Bern, Freiburg, Glarus, and Graubunden in Switzerland 

Producers: Joseph Hubbard, Shannon Creek Farm, Kansas 

History: These breeds originated in the mountains and hills of the Swiss Alps. Their color pattern is called chamoisee and the breed is well known internationally and is numerous in Switzerland. A breed association for the Oberhasli was formed in 1977 and they are a proud member of the American Dairy Goat Association.

Boer

Origin: 1987 imported to the United States by way of South Africa 

Producers: Luce Guanzini and Mark Baustian of Highwood Farm, New York, and Jim and Jean Bright, Bright Farm, New York 

History: The development of the Boer goats came about when European imports were cross bred with “indigenous” stock in South Africa. The product of this cross breeding produced short haired goats with light red heads that were hardy, adaptable animals that produced a delicious meat.

Alpine

Origins: 1950s imported to the United States by way of France 

Producers: Luce Guanzini and Mark Baustian of Highwood Farm, New York, and Jim and Jean Bright, Bright Farm, New York

History: Color pattern is not the defining trait for Alpine goats, instead they have been breed with a focus on their size and production. They are a larger breed and are excellent milk producers. The breed originated in the Alps and they are hardy, adaptable animals.

Beef

Akaushi/Angus Waygu

Our Heritage Wagyu steaks are a cross between the revered Japanese Red Cow, known as Akaushi, and one of America’s best lines of Black Angus. Akaushi Beef is the Japanese Red Cow, a national treasure in Japan. Through a loophole in the Trade Act of 1992, three bulls and eight cows left Japan escorted by armed guards in a custom equipped Boeing 747 for the Texas heartland where they are still treated like a treasure to this day. The elegant marbling of the Akaushi blended with the bold beefy flavor of the Black Angus results in a steak that is juicy and tender, a genuine testament to the difference that comes with well-raised animals.


So, what makes Akaushi beef so healthy? It has a high ratio of Monounsaturated fat, Oleic Acid and Conjugated Linoleic acid, all the elements that help to fight LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol. Akaushi Beef has the lowest cholesterol of almost any meat sold in the USA, according to studies conducted by Texas A&M, Penn State and the Journal of the American Heart Association. Add to that the good news of the meltingly tender texture and luscious beefy flavor and this is truly a steak you can't get enough of. 

Pure Akaushi Waygu

This beef grades three levels above prime! These steaks are as tender as butter with silky specks of fat in every bite. Akaushi are bred purely in only one or two places in the United States. Our Akaushi are sourced from the very same family of farms that first brought the breed to the States, Akaushi being perhaps the most marbled beef in the world.


Slow Food USA Ark of Taste

At Heritage Foods USA we support family farms raising rare breeds of livestock – knowing that genetic diversity and gastronomy are important. We have partnered with Slow Food USA to promote their Ark of Taste project, an international catalog of endangered foods. We are proud to feature a selection of these products for sale year round.