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Once raised by small-scale family farmers and bred for hardiness, survivability and FLAVOR, many heritage breeds have been lost to mass-market industrialization. Our RAFT alliance partner, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, is leading the way to bring these rare, diverse breeds back to US farms and tables.

Rare breeds have unique qualities that make them suitable to small farm pastures. That also means they need special (or at least different) treatment in the kitchen. Just like we’re learning that we can’t prepare a grass-fed burger like a grain-fed one, we can’t prepare a Pineywoods steak like an Angus, or roast a Buckeye chicken like an industrial one.

How do we learn what to do? Before you start raiding the shelves of used bookstores looking for pre-1950’s cookbooks, ALBC is coming to the rescue later this year with a Rare Breeds Recipe Book. They are creating the book by hosting a rare breeds recipe contest.

Are you already familiar with cooking a particular rare breed? From now until September 1, you can submit recipes to ALBC. The first place winner will receive a free registration to their national conference this November in Houston. To learn more about the contest, click here.

If you’re the experimental type and want to test your rare breed recipe creation skills, use LocalHarvest to find a producer of a rare breed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste and start cooking!