With spring well upon us, we just wanted to take a moment out of the day to remind you to think heirloom vegetables and heritage animals.
As our dear friend and colleague Gary Paul Nabhan commented recently about heirlooms:
"Heirloom vegetables and fruits are the liveliest hand me downs on the face of
the earth! They have been supremely selected for flavor and texture by the best
home cooks, and for their adaptations to place and culture by the best farmers
He goes on to say:
"Their stories tell of humankind's most intimate and lasting relationships with particular landscapes. Collectively, they offer us diversity in the face of climatic uncertainty in a manner than most new hybrids can't surpass."
Preserving heirloom's and heritage animals is such important work and what's more, such a wonderful way to expand the flavors of your menu.
Our own board member, Evan Mallett, the chef/owner of Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Black Trumpet Bistro thinks, "we have found our success as a result of our commitment to these vegetables and breeds." Customers love the stories and the taste of these almost forgotten regional specialties and featuring these ingredients a great way to set your business apart from the competition.
Thanks to the work of culinary professionals like you, foods once nearly lost to time are now revived and increasingly commonplace--varieties like the Jimmy Nardello Pepper, the Gilfeather Turnip, and White Sonora Wheat.
So, as we head into the summer of 2012, we urge you to try out a an heirloom like the interestingly named Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, or the Sibley Squash, see if you can't find a regional fish like the Lake Michigan Whitefish, or if you can get your hands on a Mulefoot Hog, or a Silver Fox Rabbit. If you do use heirlooms or heritage breeds we would love to hear about it. Remember, biodiversity isn't just vitally important, it's delicious.
The Chefs Collaborative Team
P.S. Remember to check out our blog post on National Geographic and the importance of preserving variety in our foods.
A few heirloom and heritage resources:
Seed Savers Exchange
Slow Food Ark of Taste