"Heritage" is being co-opted by industrial poultry & livestock companies to capitalize on the nostalgia invoked when they use the word.
Become a more informed consumer so you know what you think you are buying is what you are buying.
Q. What is authentic heritage livestock & poultry?
A. Purebred for many generations makes authentic heritage deeply historical. It cannot be historical if it is a hybrid (cross of 2 breeds) that cannot reproduce in its own image. "Many breeds used in large scale agriculture have been specifically selected for intensive production including rapid growth, feed efficiency, continuous milk or egg production, or other targeted production characteristics. Heritage breeds have genetics that are more “well-rounded.” While breeders may select their animals for certain characteristics, they’re not selected so narrowly so as to lose other valuable and biologically important characteristics. Heritage animals are the animals that you’d find on your great-grandparents farms. Heritage is an umbrella term that embraces pure breeds of livestock and poultry with deep histories in the United States. These are animals that were bred over time to develop traits that made them suited to specific local environments. Because these breeds have been developed and selected over time, they tend to have better disease resistance, are well-adapted to their environments, and thrive in pasture-based settings." ~ Livestock Conservancy
Q. Why buy authentic old-fashioned heritage?
A. You are an active participant in shaping the future of agriculture by preserving biodiversity and strengthening the regional sustainability of your local food shed.
You help preserve biodiversity in poultry and livestock genetics for the future by supporting these old fashioned purebreds.
Taste the delicious intensity and range of flavors that result from slow growth that graced the plates of yesteryear.
The old-fashioned heritage livestock & poultry are capable of being be harvested at a variety of ages which broadens the range of flavors and textures you can experience on your plate. The older the animal at harvest, the more intense the flavor of the meat but the texture increases as well resulting in each harvest age providing a unique eating experience.
For the ethical eater, not all animals need to go to the plate - the heritage breeds are capable of living "normal" lives, reproducing naturally and are unlikely to out-produce what their bodies are physically capable of supporting. We keep only the highest quality individuals to produce future generations while the remainder are sold to homesteads/farmsteads or grace your table.
You support your local farmer's efforts to strengthen local food shed sustainability by reproducing purebred livestock & poultry on farm
Q: How do I know I am buying authentic heritage poultry or livestock?
A: There are rules that govern the usage of the word "heritage" in marketing!
If the animal is not registered or eligible for a breed registry, it is unlikely that it can be labeled "heritage".
If the breed of poultry is not listed in the American Poultry Association "Breeds/Varieties" pages, it is unlikely that it can be labeled "heritage". "Heirloom" breeds, Orlopp Bronze and Freedom Ranger chickens are NOT "heritage".
TheFood Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is the government arm that monitors the usage of terms on labels and in marketing which states that "heritage" is a "breed claim" that must have documentation to back it up.
Registration certificates for Old Time Farm's American Milking Devon Cattle breeding herd meets the FSIS documentation requirements.
Old Time Farm's Partridge Chantecler chicken and Standard Bronze Turkey breeding flocks are certified by the American Poultry Association as being "standard-bred" which meets the FSIS documentation requirements. Poultry is a little different as there are no breed registries keeping records of pedigrees and purity so a trained poultry judge must look at the birds and determine that they meet the certification standards set forth by the American Poultry Association to make the breed claim or qualify as being "standard-bred". More information about the certification program can be found here
According to the FSIS, to make a "breed claim" on a label: "Breed claims refer to the declaration of a specific breed of livestock or poultry. Examples of this type of claim: Angus, Wagyu (American Kobe), Hereford, Berkshire, Duroc, Muscovy, Silkie, and heritage poultry, pork or beef breeds." Documentation needed:
A signed and dated document that substantiates the breed claim, e.g., an Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) G Schedule or a certificate from a breed organization
A written description of the product tracing and segregation mechanism from time of slaughter or further processing through packaging and wholesale or retail distribution;
A written description for the identification, control, and segregation of non-conforming animals/product; and
Documentation to support the breed by phenotype (for example, hide color) or genotype (traceable to one registered parent or two registered grandparents with a breed association)
APA Standard Breed Heritage Chicken must be from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century; whose genetic line can be traced back multiple generations; and with traits that meet the APA Standard of Perfection guidelines for the breed. Heritage Chicken must be produced and sired by an APA Standard breed. Heritage eggs must be laid by an APA Standard breed.
Naturally mating Heritage Chicken must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating. Chickens marketed as Heritage must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.
Long, productive outdoor lifespan Heritage Chicken must have the genetic ability to live a long, vigorous life and thrive in the rigors of pasture-based, outdoor production systems. Breeding hens should be productive for 5-7 years and roosters for 3-5 years.
Slow growth rate Heritage Chicken must have a moderate to slow rate of growth, reaching appropriate market weight for the breed in no less than 16 weeks. This gives the chicken time to develop strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass.
Chickens marketed as Heritage must include the variety and breed name on the label.
Terms like “heirloom,” “antique,” “old-fashioned,” and “old timey” imply Heritage and are understood to be synonymous with the definition provided here.
Abbreviated Definition: A Heritage Egg can only be produced by an American Poultry Association Standard breed. A Heritage Chicken is hatched from a heritage egg sired by an American Poultry Association Standard breed established prior to the mid-20th century, is slow growing, naturally mated with a long productive outdoor life.
Why Old Time Farm?
Selective breeding of heritage poultry and livestock for:
Ability to thrive in our northeastern climate
Vigor, soundness, correctness of structure, hardiness and health
Classic production traits
Breed characteristics and to breed standard
Long productive life
Resistance to disease and parasites
Poultry and cattle to meet the definition of Heritage as defined by the Livestock Conservancy and the FSIS.
Our focus is on livestock in need of conservation!
Thank You!! Your purchase helps conserve these rare breeds!
1919 Harrisville Rd Stoneboro, PA 16153 724-316-0148