Heritage Foods was founded in 2001 by Patrick Martins to preserve endangered species of livestock from extinction. Martins had learned about the plight of endangered foods while working for Slow Food, a non-profit organization created in Italy in 1986, in part to protest the opening of a McDonald’s on the Spanish Steps in Rome, and to bring attention to endangered regional cuisines and ingredients.
Modern factory farming focuses solely on faster-growing animals, and a bottom line that reflects little interest in biodiversity, sustainability, healthy food, or animal welfare. Ancient breeds of livestock are becoming extinct. Right now, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, three-fourths of the world’s food comes from just twelve types of plants and five animals. Such a narrow spectrum is a threat to food security: the implications of such monoculture is blight, either natural or manmade.
Unlike endangered wildlife — which can be saved through foundations, preserves, and responsible zoos —the species that were once the foundation of our food supply get almost no attention, and can only be saved when popular demand increases and farmers have the incentive to raise them. In other words, the only way to save these animals is to eat them.
Call it community-supported-agriculture, or chef-supported-agriculture — thanks to pioneering home chefs and professionals at America’s very best restaurants who champion the ethos of traditional farming, and who understand the delicious difference made by healthy animals raised under the best conditions, Heritage Foods is able to support over eighty family farms, largely in Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Vermont.
Heritage breeds are the very foundation of our agricultural history and gastronomic identity. Each breed comes from a unique culinary tradition, with its own pure genetic line, and boasts a different, wonderfully nuanced flavor. A true heritage breed can be traced back prior to the advent of industrial farming, meaning that they are directly connected to the beginnings of agriculture 5000 years ago.
Industrial breeds, the mainstay of the fast food and supermarket industries, were developed through years of cynical genetic selection and artificial insemination. Desired traits in poultry, for example, include obesity, disproportional breast size, and feathers that come off easily. Breeding for these traits create animals that are unhealthy and need antibiotics. Many are considered "dead end animals" — they die young and are incapable of mating, ensuring that the factory farmer has to return to his corporate master to purchase the animals that will make up his herd or flock for the next season.
Our farmers grow animals that are raised humanely, outdoors, on-pasture, using traditional farming techniques, reproduce naturally, and are never fed any antibiotics or growth hormones. They raise the world’s best meat — and that is not just our opinion, it is a scientific fact. Heritage breeds are more marbled, which means more tender and juicy than any industrially farmed meat. Heritage meats boast a profound taste and depth of flavor that has not been squashed by a corporate culture that only cares about rapid production.
Our line of heritage meats includes five breeds of heritage pork, featured on menus around the country; seven breeds of 19thcentury heritage turkey and six breeds of chicken, raised by Frank Reese on Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch; America’s oldest lamb breeds, raised by Native American shepherds in New Mexico and family farms in Vermont; and steaks from the supremely marbled Akaushi breed, originally from Japan. We feature seasonal meats like goat, duck, and goose. We are proud to supply heritage meat to many of this country’s best artisanal curemasters making country ham, prosciutto, salami, sausage, and bacon in an old world, slow-cured style.
We deliver anywhere with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee — direct to your door! Please call us at 718-389-0985 or visit HeritageFoods.com!