Poultry farming, like everything else in agriculture, requires a biological system which in turn needs diversity to prosper. Recently, conscientious and demanding consumers have been looking for alternatives in heritage poultry breeds.
Finding true heritage chicken is not easy, you certainly won't find it in most supermarkets. It's only recently, and thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated farmers, that the Dark Cornish Chicken and the Barred Plymouth Rock are available in small numbers and at certain times of the year.
The Barred Plymouth Rock: This chicken's lineage is 150 years old, it was the first chicken to be included in the American Poultry Standards of Perfection list, slightly smaller breasted than the Dark Cornish.
The Dark Cornish: Also called "Indian Game", it provided the genes for many of the modern commercial breeds. It was originally developed for its meat which is dark and not unlike pheasant.
The common trait of heritage poultry breeds is their superb flavor and firmer texture. Too precious to be cooked like a plain supermarket chicken, take the time to check out the recommended cooking methods for these meats suggested by top chefs in the web.
Heritage chicken breeds can only be raised naturally which takes three times longer, but the main idea of consuming heritage poultry breeds is preventing their genetic erosion. Maintaining the genetic diversity of heritage breeds is essential for the future, and the best way to do this is by creating a demand for them by eating them.
To find a farm raising heritage breeds of chicken near you, or to order heritage meats online, browse the LocalHarvest website.