These beautiful and delicious birds have bloodlines dating back centuries. Their ancestry began in Central America; then the first explorers brought them to Europe; and the first English settlers in turn brought them to America. These Black Spanish Turkeys were then bred with the Wild North American Turkey and the elegant result was The Standard Bronze. Now there are nine Heritage Turkey breeds with romantic names such as - Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Jersey Buff, Slate, Black Spanish, White Holland, Royal Palm, White Midget and Beltsville Small White. All are recognized by the American Poultry Association in its 1874 Standard of Perfection.
Slow Food has adopted four of these breeds for its Ark of Taste Project- the Narragansett, the Bourbon Red, the Jersey Buff and the Standard Bronze.
T h e B o u r b o n R e d
Photo by John Churchman courtesy of the Heritage Turkey Foundation
These handsome birds are the antithesis of industrialized turkeys, which can barely walk and are quickly bulked up to produce birds with abnormally plump breasts. Heritage turkeys freely forage in pastures and can actually fly. As a result their muscles are exercised and they put on layers of natural fat. The end result is a turkey that has a firmer texture and deep, rich flavors - the essence of turkey.
Where can you buy Heritage Turkeys :
Pollo Real - at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market
Gallinas Del Sol Farm
Heritage breed turkeys, guinea fowl, squab, pheasant, geese too!
Talus Wind Ranch
And, if you have a hankering for a divine Heritage Turkey Salad or Sandwich
Stop in at Vinaigrette - November 18th through December
They are featuring Heritage Turkeys on their amazing menu...and ALL proceeds will be split between - SLOW FOOD and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) - earmarked for Heritage Turkeys!
And they have designed a very cool silkscreened t-shirt and hoodie for this promotion; and all proceeds will go to the ALBC. Good job Vinaigrette!
And remember, when you buy a Heritage Turkey, you are not only celebrating and preserving magnificent birds, you are also preserving the Heritage of Turkey Farming.