Ensure future deliciousness - eat heritage birds
November 22nd, 2012
10:15 AM ET
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Editor's note: Peggy F. Barlett is Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology at Emory University and a Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed project. She is former president of the Society for Economic Anthropology and Chair of the Emory University Sustainable Food Committee.

Last week, I sat down with colleagues and students to an early Thanksgiving meal prepared by my university's cafeteria. Along with our winter greens, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, and pumpkin grits, we ate a roasted "heritage breed turkey."

Accolades ensued: "To me, all turkeys taste the same—except for this one—I can tell the difference," said William Payne who works in the medical school. The local greens from Georgia farms were "really, really tasty," said a first-year student from the Atlanta area and her friend from Tianjin, China.

The meal was Emory University's fourth Heritage Harvest Feast. The turkey that had everybody talking was a Narragansett, a heritage breed native to Rhode Island. Along with Bourbon Reds, Narragansetts have been saved from extinction by farms like the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Kansas, where Emory's turkey's come from, and by the efforts of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving rare breeds of livestock.

The Heritage Harvest Feast is not only an occasion for thanks and a good meal, but it also is part of a commitment to building a more sustainable food system. Sustainability depends on variety. To preserve variety, we need to grow it and want to eat it!

Read - Bring heritage breeds to holiday table

Previously - 5 reasons to buy a heritage breed bird

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    Wild Turkeys are awesome. Smart, skittish, and shiny.

    I've been fortunate enought to walk around them a few times.

    They seem to have a sense of humor, too.

    And they taste good, too

    November 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  2. john b abbott

    wild turkeys run loose in philadelphia, pa

    November 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
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