This year, many of your customers may be looking to align their eco-political beliefs with their Thanksgiving menus. While heirloom turkeys may not conjure up the same sparkly image as other heirlooms, consumers who purchase them are helping to preserve biodiversity from generation to generation.
Most modern turkeys—including those raised organically—are highly hybridized, affording American consumers the uniformly colored white meat and large breasts they prize. Less important, apparently, is the fact that the ability to fly, run or mate (or, according to some, taste good) has been bred out of these Large Whites, which account for more than 95 percent of the turkeys sold in the United States.
Heirloom turkeys, on the other hand—including Bourbon Red, American Bronze, Jersey Buff and Narragansett varieties—taste like the game they are. Breeders include Good Shepherd Ranch, Lazy S Farms, Riffel Family Turkey Farm and the Rita Eichman Farm. The price premium for heirloom (also known as heritage) turkey is high—about $4 a pound, compared with 39 cents a pound for conventional birds—and availability is still low, but improving. Slow Food USA and Heritage Foods USA are among the groups working to raise consumer awareness as well as the population of heirloom breeds.
A Sweet Deal
Looking to offer your customers an indulgent chocolate treat without the carbs or the sucralose? As the Democratic nominees have said, help is on the way. New Zealand researchers found that when tagatose—a prebiotic sweetener derived from the milk sugar lactose—is added to chocolate, the result is a candy with a very low glycemic index. GI is a measure of how rapidly blood sugar rises immediately after eating a particular food, and is expected by many to supplant traditional carb counting. High GI foods are thought to raise the risk of obesity and adult-onset diabetes. Tagatose is generally recognized as safe in the United States. So far, only a handful of products with tagatose have come onto the market, but that could change any time.
Cook Up Cancer Relief
A book has been re-released to help people with cancer prepare nutritious meals that may also help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the disease and its treatment. Eating Well Through Cancer (Wimmer Cookbooks, 2001) offers 200 recipes divided into sections based on the side effects and symptoms a cancer patient may experience during treatment. Written by chef and cookbook author Holly Clegg and cancer researcher/oncologist Gerald Miletello, M.D., the book embraces a ?never sacrifice taste? philosophy while offering tips, menus and nutritional information. The meals are designed to appeal to people with cancer and to their families as well.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 10/p. 68