By Analiese Paik
It’s just gotten easier to prepare a feast that more closely resembles the one served at the first Thanksgiving. Take a step back in time, pre-industrialized food, with the Ark of Taste Thanksgiving Collection. This collection, available through a collaboration between Slow Food USA and Heritage Foods USA, is for real cooks, foodies, epicureans and sustainable food lovers in search of flavor – forgotten flavors.
Embark on an adventure into the culinary history of our country by serving foods from Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste at your Thanksgiving dinner. The Ark is a living catalog of rare and wonderful foods that will make your lips smack and taste buds sing. As you serve them to family and friends, enrich everyone’s enjoyment of the holiday meal with each ingredient’s fabulous back story. Did you know, for example, that wild rice is not actually rice, but a wild, aquatic grass similar to corn that is native to the US?
Introducing the Ark of Taste Thanksgiving Collection
Choose from four collections, one of which does not include a turkey.
The turkey that will sit at the center of many tables this Thanksgiving is the descendent of the wild birds that thrived in North American wildernesses centuries ago. Far from the bland meat of the Broad Breasted White or the stale seasoning of pre-packaged stuffing – the flavors of the Ark of Taste are as robust, surprising, and eclectic as this country we share.
We invite you to celebrate the unspoiled prairies, forest, deserts and shores that those ancestral turkeys knew and the humans that have loved and relied upon those landscapes for generations.
Slow Food USA and Heritage Foods USA are teaming up to curate a very special collection of foods from the Ark of Taste to create a memorable holiday feast.
These foods – way more than just turkey – carry the histories of places and peoples who have made this land home. Sourced from good, clean, fair producers, these foods are also building a more sustainable, delicious, and diverse world for all of us.
*A portion of the sales from the Ark of Taste Thanksgiving Collection will support the work of Slow Food USA.
Q. What foods are included in the Ark of Taste Thanksgiving Collections?
- Heritage Turkeys from Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Kansas
- Anishnaabeg Manoomin (wild rice) from Native Harvest in Minnesota
- White Sonora Wheat Berries from Hayden Flour Mills in Arizona
- Blonde Beauty Dates from Shields Date Garden in California
- Jacobs Cattle Beans from Baer’s Best Beans in Massachusetts
- American Native Pecans from Missouri Northern Pecan Growers
- Sourwood Honey from Mike’s Honey Bees in North Carolina
- Shrub from Tait Farm Foods in Pennsylvania
Q. What if I don’t want a turkey?
- One collection includes only delicious plant based foods.
Q. Can I order items individually?
- Sure! Call Heritage Foods USA at 718.389.0985 to check on availability. Purchase of individual items will not include a donation to Slow Food USA
Q. Can I order a bigger turkey?
- Yes! Call Heritage Foods at 718.389.0985 with your request.
Q. What is the Ark of Taste?
- The Ark of Taste is an international catalog of endangered and delicious foods. Learn more here.
Q. What are the stories behind these foods?
- Learn more about all the foods on the Ark of Taste here.
Q. Why are the collections so expensive?
- The poultry industry has been profoundly affected by industrialization, from the way birds are bred to the way they are raised, slaughtered, and stored. The turkeys in our collection are ideal examples of Slow Meat – raised humanely and with care. Heritage turkeys are smaller birds that take longer to mature, therefore are a greater investment on the part of the farmer. Unlike the industrial system that pays farmers an average of 50¢ a pound for turkey, we ensure that the producers supplying these products are getting a fair return for their labor.
- Like the turkeys on the Ark of Taste, the grains, fruits, beans, nuts and other foods in this package are endangered too. They are not only rare, but require a special dedication and commitment on the part of their growers that make them premium products. Slow Food USA is committed to working towards a future when a sustainable food system is integrated with an equitable economy able to sustain all of us.
- Each purchase also includes a donation to Slow Food USA to support our Slow Meat campaign and Ark of Taste program.
Q. Where else can I find these foods?
- Farmers near you are likely growing these foods, and more, from the Ark of Taste. Search for a producer near you at Local Harvest or contact your local Slow Food chapter for suggestions of reputable producers. (Editor’s Note: Each year the Fairfield Green Food Guide publishes a guide to heritage turkeys, both for Fairfield County, CT and the country. 2014 guides will be published late October.)
Q. Is there a special offer for Slow Food USA members?