By Richard Turcsik
FLYING THE COOP
Everyone has head the expression “a chicken in every pot.” If Andrew deCoriolis has his
way, look for that to be replaced with “a heritage breed chicken in every meat case.” deCoriolis is the director of strategic projects and engagement at Farm For ward, a Portland,
Ore.-based organization that seeks to implement innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering and advance sustainable agriculture, and expand the sales of humanely raised chickens, turkeys and other poultry.
Over the past five years, Farm Forward has worked with noted Kansas heritage breed
poultry farmer Frank Reese, Jr., owner of Good Shepherd Ranch, to help him grow
his business, and now the two have joined forces to form the Good Shepherd Poultry
Institute to lend Reese’s knowledge to other farmers around the country.
“We believe the Good Shepherd Poultry Institute will be a very important resource
about disseminating knowledge about slower-growing heritage birds, and training new
farmers, breeders, chefs and communicating with the public,” says deCoriolis. “We really
hope it serves as the hub for the rebuilding of a heritage poultry industry in America.”
When it comes to supermarket implications, deCoriolis sees similarities between poul-
try and heritage pork.
“Look at the growth of heritage pork over the past 10 years,” he says. “It began with
chefs but now has grown to be a huge retail product that is taking a meaningful slice of
the retail market. If the growth of slower-growing chickens takes off, I think they will
be increasingly available in retailers. Heritage turkeys from Frank and other farmers are
already selling in retail and are doing incredibly well.”
Farm Forward will work with Reese to grow the heritage bird movement and will
work to carry on his vision and legacy. Farm Forward plans to build educational build-
ings, including a test kitchen, for farmers, industry officials, retailers, university students,
missionaries and eco-tourists at Reese’s farm in Lindsborg, Kan., about an hour north of
Wichita. As the heritage bird movement grows, deCoriolis expects distribution to grow,
prices to drop and major processors take on heritage lines.
“The whole idea behind the Good Shepherd Poultry Institute is preservation of heritage breeds and to get people again to raise standard bred poultry,” says Reese. “Our main
goal is to teach people how to breed, market and improve the quality of standard-bred
poultry, and to reintroduce them into the market again. The general public does not
understand industrial chickens and how radically different they are from their ancestors.”
‘SHROOMING UP TO THE
The Mushroom Council has launched Blenditarian.
com, an online hub that captures the growing popularity of restaurants, cafeterias and kitchens for “The
Blend”—the practice of blending mushrooms with
meat for burger and other dishes.
“Over the past year, The Blend has transformed from
a trend into a movement, with excitement spreading
from chef to chef, school to school and consumer to
consumer,” says Bart Minor, president of The Mushroom
Council, based in Redwood Shores, Calif. “Every move-
ment deserves a name and a home. We consider a
‘blenditarian’ a person who wants to do better, whether
it’s making better choices for their health, for the planet
or for the enjoyment of food. We’re excited to introduce
Blenditarian.com for people to not only join a like-
minded community, but also share and define what it
means to be a blenditarian.”
According to the Mushroom Council, The Blend, a
concept developed with the support of the Culinary
Institute of America, has to-date been menued
by hundreds of universities and K- 12 school districts
Since 2015, the James Beard Foundation has conducted an annual summer-long “Blended Burger Project”
competition featuring more than 500 restaurants menuing their take on The Blend. Consumers have voted more
than two million times for their favorites.
Blenditarian.com offers recipes, nutrition facts and
sustainability information. It also features opportunities
for blenditarians to share their own stories and images
illustrating why they adopted The Blend lifestyle.
Frank Reese, Jr.