Who We Are

Heritage Foods was founded in 2001 to preserve endangered species of livestock from extinction. Founder Patrick 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 along with curemasters and butchers, 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 fifty family farms, largely in Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Vermont.

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. 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. 

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 19th century 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!

Guiding Values

Heritage Foods USA exists to promote genetic diversity, small family farms, and a fully traceable food supply. We are committed to making wholesome, delicious and sustainably produced heritage foods available to all Americans. In doing so, we will foster the link between sustainable land use, small-scale food production and preservation of the foods of past generations for future generations.


We uphold the American ideals of equity and dignity for all producers and their foods. We are committed to heritage foods of all of the Americas, North, South and Central. We believe that our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness include access to high quality, sustainably raised and traceable foods.


We believe in long-term sustainable relationships with our families, staff, partners, suppliers and customers. We are committed to sticking with each and every breed of animal and plant until they have reached a point that they can survive on their own, without our assistance. We believe that trust and integrity are the foundation upon which our business will be built and that by upholding those values we will ensure loyalty with all who work with us.


We educate consumers about the difference between small family farms and industrial agriculture. We educate consumers to allow them to know where their food comes from and how it was raised. We invest, from our profits, to educate every creed of American on how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals and how to appreciate the wonderful cultures from which those production methods are based.

Genetic Diversity 

We will make previously inaccessible foods available to all consumers. We will work with farmers to bring their foods to market. We value the earth's bounty in all its diverse expressions. We advocate the maintenance of genetic diversity in all foods. We strongly oppose GMO's. 


We believe that it is the right of all Americans to know everything about every aspect of their food supply. We will provide complete transparency with all of our products so our customers can trace the food all the way from their dinner table to the farm that raised it. 


We believe that it is a tremendous honor to represent each and every farmer and producer and that it is our responsibility to represent them in such a way as to be deemed worthy of that honor. We believe that farming is an immeasurable gift and one that we must not take for granted. We will work to make our foods and the land where they are raised available for future generations.

Production Standards 

Heritage Foods USA strives to maintain the vision of its Advisory Board member, Alice Waters, and her restaurant when she writes: 

"Chez Panisse gathers its ingredients from known and trusted purveyors-purveyors known to be committed to sound and sustainable practices and trusted to remain informed and responsive to these values in a rapidly changing society. Our purveyors are committed to healthful products and practices that are pure and natural as possible, without synthetic additives or pollutants and without the unnecessary complexities of packaging or marketing. They are also committed to the conservation of resources, both natural resources like the land and water, and societal resources like the families and businesses that plant and harvest."

Heritage Foods USA believes in respecting the traditions of our past. Our meats and poultry are raised on pasture and are not fed antibiotics and animal by-products. We are searching for sources of non-GMO feed.

Our Berkshire pigs are Certified Humane. www.certifiedhumane.com.

Advisory Board

The Heritage Foods USA Advisory Board makes what we do possible. Their support, both concrete and spiritual, have been an indispensable part of our success. We applaud all their work in life but especially their work in helping preserve biodiversity in the food industry.

Samuel W. Edwards III

Samuel W. Edwards III became involved with his family's business at an early age. Learning the business from the ground up included sweeping floors, chopping hickory wood and cleaning the grease pit. It wasn't long before his father and grandfather began teaching him the art of curing and monitoring Edwards Virginia Country Ham, Bacon and Sausage. Sam III eventually joined the company in the late 1970¹s as the third-generation Edwards to take charge. He focused on the specialty food trade, mail order and the internet site while opening two Edwards Virginia Ham shops in Surry and Williamsburg, VA.

He currently serves as a board member of the National Country Ham Association and past president of The Virginia Meat Processors and the National Country Ham Association. He also is serving on the Governor of Virginia's appointed Specialty Food Advisory Committee. Sam is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Southern Foodways, the DMA and NASFT. He is a Regional Director on the Southern Virginia Community Board for Eastern Virginia Bank and serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals in Surry County. He is also an active member of Olga's foozball emporium and pool hall.

Sam III and his wife Donna have two children Stephanie 21 and Sam IV 20 attending college in Virginia. 

Winona La Duke

Winona La Duke is an Ojibwe community organizer, economist and author who lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. She has worked extensively on Indigenous rights and environmental issues, most recently on the issues surrounding the patenting and genetic threats to wild rice, or manoomin. Winona's four books include Last Standing Woman (fiction), All our Relations, Winona LaDuke Reader (non fiction), and In the Sugarbush, a children's book.

Winona has served as a board member of the Indigenous Women's Network for the past 10 years. She also served on the board of Greenpeace USA (l99l-96) and is founding director of both the White Earth Land Recovery Program and Honor the Earth, a national Native American foundation. Winona ran as the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party in the United States presidential elections in l996 and 2000.

Michel Nischan

As a renowned Chef and best-selling author, Michel Nischan is credited with creating a cuisine of well-being, focused on a respect for pure ingredients and intense flavors without the use of cream, butter, processed starches or processed sugars. The inspiration to explore full-flavored cooking without such indulgences came in 1994 from his son Chris who, at age five, was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. 

Michel Nischan debuted his revolutionary cuisine at Heartbeat Restaurant at the W Hotel in 1997, and was immediately propelled to the forefront of New York's culinary scene. Since then he has continued to raise the bar for delicious and healthful cooking and is continually lauded for his dedication to well-being, organics & sustainability, and cultural food preservation. He has been nominated for a 2004 James Beard Award for his first cookbook, TASTE, Pure and Simple (Chronicle Books, 2003), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller. 

As president of Sources and Resources, Michel brings all of his passion and expertise to a variety of companies and organizations in pursuit of healthful, culturally significant and socially responsible food solutions. Michel's past clients and projects include work with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society Conference, the Ross School, The French Culinary Institute, Song Airways, where Michel is the Executive Consulting Chef for the first all-class airline to offer organic responsible food choices to 30,000 people daily, and Taj Luxury Hotels Group, in India, where he developed restaurant concepts based on well-being. 

Eric Schlosser 

Eric Schlosser, author of the best selling Fast Food Nation, has been investigating the fast food industry for years. In 1998, his two-part article on the subject in Rolling Stone generated more mail than any other item the magazine had run in years. In addition to writing for Rolling Stone, Schlosser has contributed to The New Yorker and has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. He won a National Magazine Award for "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law" and has received a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for Reporting. His work has been nominated for several other National Magazine Awards and for the Loeb Award for business journalism. In the words of Eric: "It's time to reclaim American agriculture from the fast food chains, pesticide makers, factory farms and genetic engineers. Our heritage foods are not only healthier and sustainable, but they taste a hell of a lot better. Supporting this revolution is easy: buy the right food from the right folks." 

Alice Waters 

Alice Waters is the owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. Over the last three decades Chez Panisse has cultivated a network of local farmers who share the restaurant's commitment to sustainable agriculture. In 2001, Chez Panisse was named best restaurant in the United States by Gourmet Magazine. Alice Waters initiated the Edible Schoolyard project in 1995, which incorporates her ideas about food and culture into the public school curriculum. She is author of eight books. Alice is also the International Vice President of Slow Food International and sits on the Board of Directors of Slow Food USA.

Michael Batterberry 

Michael is no longer with us, but he was so important to the beginning of Heritage Foods USA that we include his bio here and encourage you to research him and read his many books. 

Michael and Ariane Batterberry have founded two of the milestone national food magazines in this century: FOOD ARTS, the publication by and for the country's leading food and drink professionals and FOOD AND WINE, one the country's leading consumer magazines. Together or individually, they have authored eighteen books on food, entertaining, and art and social history. Several (The Pantheon Story Of Art; Fashion: The Mirror Of History; Bloomingdales Book Of Entertaining) have been best sellers. The Batterberrys are among the few authors who have had four concurrent Literary Guild selections.  

Michael Batterberry has appeared regularly on CNNFN (CNN's financial network) as commentator on trends in the restaurant industry. He served as introductory host to the Public Television series "Rising Star Chefs"in 1997 and he continues to be repeatedly interviewed by CNN, TV Food Network, Britain's BBC and other European programmers. 

The Batterberrys are in the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in Food and Beverage in America, and were also chosen by the Foundations as Editors of the year in 1994. In 1998 Ariane Batterberry was chosen as Women of the Year by the Roundtable for Women in Foodservice. Michael Batterberry served for six years as a member of the National Board of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is also on the Board of the French Culinary Institute and a Member of the Corporation of the Culinary Institute of America. He was also asked onto the board of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. He was on the Board of Stone Barns and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in 2005.