2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Demand For Rare Breeds Grows
Company president Patrick Martins, co-founder of the company, recently told Time magazine, "Dozens of delicious American treasures with a long history are on the brink of extinction. We must eat them to save them."
At Heritage Foods (www.heritagefoodsusa.com), consumers can order the breed of pork or chicken or beef they want, and they can learn the exact origin of that meat. For example, if you want Berkshire pork or Red Wattle pork, you can order that meat directly and get information about the farmer who produced it. Farmers who sell meat and produce to Heritage foods receive a premium price. Demand is growing. Larry Sorell started raising rare animals as a lark but now supplies 25 Red Wattle hogs a month to Heritage, making it a profitable sideline to his Kansas grain farm.
Some people say the trend toward rare breeds is backlash against the trend of raising vast numbers of just a few breeds. For example, in the 1930's, 15 different breeds of pigs were raised for market. Today, six of those breeds are extinct and only three varieties û Hampshire, Yorkshire and Duroc û account for 75 percent of U.S. production. In the 1920's, some 60 breeds of chickens thrived on American farms. Today, one hybrid û the Cornish Rock cross û supplies nearly every supermarket. A single turkey breed also dominates û the Broad Breasted White. But it has been bred to the point where its breast is so large and its legs so short it cannot breed naturally any more. All breeding is done by artificial insemination.
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