Heritage breeds of livestock were created to solve a historical agricultural problem, production need or developed in a specific region – just like heirloom seeds. Also like heirloom seeds, they are rare and in danger of going extinct, which leaves our regional food reproduction and food security in remote corporate hands.
Traditional & Natural
Traditional agricultural values focused on animals being vigorous and healthy, able to thrive in the local region and forage on local pasture, natural reproduction and maternal instincts, and, most of all, reasonable production expectations that favored a healthy long-lived animal.
Modern industrial agricultural production arose in the 1950’s when the creation of highly specialized animals to produce the maximum amount of “protein” in the least amount of time, with the least amount of inputs, in the least amount of space no matter the cost became the focus.
Small-scale Local Food Security
Historically, our food reproduction and genetics were in the hands of many small-scale farmers across the world, which provided immense genetic diversity for animals and plants as well as regional isolation in case of a disease outbreak or natural disaster which can easily impact the entire nation’s food supply today.
A mere handful of corporations in the entire world own the modern parent stock or “genetics” for specialized industrial food production animals. In essence, our food production and reproduction is in remote corporate hands where results to shareholders and corporate profit are the main goals, not regional food security or animal welfare.
Lost along the way to maximizing corporate profits and reducing the cost of food was the genetic diversity, natural reproduction, strong immune systems, ability to thrive on pasture, basic maternal and survival instincts, intelligence, unique quality meat/eggs/fiber/feathers and trainability offered by the old fashioned, multi-purpose locally reproducible heritage breeds.
Heritage Breeds at Old Time Farm
Key Values of Heritage Breeds:
Biodiversity – Rare and valuable genetic traits lost to industrial agriculture endeavors are preserved for the future when you support the conservation of purebred heritage breeds and heirloom seeds.
Healthier –Strong immune systems are passed from mother to young in local born or hatched animals making them naturally resistant to disease and less likely to need antibiotics.
Ethical - Heritage breed conservation follows the traditional production cycle where many animals born became parents for the next generation and only selected animals are harvested for the plate.
Humane - Self-sufficient and hardy for many generations, heritage breeds thrive in small-scale pasture based production. They eat normally, reproduce naturally, are lively and active, and free of painful skeletal problems unlike industrial animals created to gorge on food, requiring artificial insemination to reproduce, who grow at accelerated speed and are born to die at a certain age are prone to suffer.
Improved Flavor - Slow growth and wide range of harvest ages allows for a rich depth and unique range of flavors you cannot find in find the commodity consistency of fast growing industrial animals and plants. The flavors and textures are what chefs like Julia Child raved about missing when our agricultural methods changed to fast and specialized production in the 1950’s.
Truly Local - You strengthen local food security by supporting truly local farms raising livestock & poultry from birth to harvest and plants whose seeds can be saved for the next season.
Help Conserve Rare & Endangered Breeds
When you buy products created from pure heritage breeds, you become an important contributor to the work of preserving these old fashioned endangered animals and the time-tested genes that make them unique and beautiful. Conservation of their proven genetic traits is critically important to the future of animal welfare, agriculture and food security.