Antiques Roadshow: The Heirloom on Your Plate

I went to this workshop because the container gardening workshop was over-full. Like, “Glad they didn’t have a fire marshal walk in” full. “Sardine can” does not even begin to describe it.

The “Antiques Roadshow” workshop was really nice, and kind of low-key. I didn’t expect to learn much, because it claimed to be about why preserving the diversity of farmed plants & animals was important, and I’ve already heard a lot about that.

And, truth be told? I didn’t. I didn’t hear much about the importance of keeping a diverse “genetic bank” for a species due to disease or poor adaptation to a climate. I didn’t hear much about flavors. I heard little on cultural reasons to keep diverse food types (something I expect to learn more about as I read Gary Paul Nabhan and Deborah Madison’s book 1. I learned more about the Chicago Rare Orchards Project (CROP), which sounds both fascinating and a bit doomed (given the talk on the urban agricultural zoning issues the day before).

Basically, it was a great spot to wind down a bit, and learn a little while I was at it. Also to learn where I am getting my Thanksgiving turkey this year. Much more interesting and relaxing than the market and demos would have been. Plus, there were much pretty pictures and more fun stories, I think.

If you have any more curiosity about resources and heirloom plants or heritage breed farm animals, Grant Kessler (the moderator of the panel, and not actually a participant) has put together a resource guide. I haven’t checked out all the links, but it’s a good place to start.

Note: 2015-03-17 I refound this post, and saw several links were screwy, from back when the blog was elsewhere. So I edited it, and while in here, I added an affiliate link. As always, anything that goes to Amazon, are affiliate links. This means I get a tiny percentage if you buy the linked items or other things via Amazon after clicking, assuming you do not click someone else’s affiliate link between mine and purchase. Your purchase price won’t change. And if you do for charity, they stack. Basically, this is fabulous.

1 Sadly, the rancher told me that was the last year they were raising Bourbon Reds. However, if you like dark meat, as I do, this is a heritage breed worth looking for2. Same if you’re looking for generally smaller turkeys. Bourbon Reds tend to be smaller, and more proportional in their light to dark meat ratios. The farmer said they also tend to have a greater meat to bone ratio in an article in a 2010 Edible Chicago article about animal welfare (not at Family Farmed Expo). Also, they tend to be DELICIOUS.

2 This is also a breed worth looking for if you are concerned about “endangered” heritage breeds of animals, apparently. John Caveny mentioned that they’re a breed so few people are raising that the breed is actually in danger of dying out. So, if it sounds tasty to you, and you’d like to support increased genetic diversity of our farm animals, go check ’em out. This goes double if they sound tasty to you and you live in New Mexico. Why? Because Caveny gets his poults from a farm in New Mexico, so I know the state has some somewhere.