Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Animal Welfare Approved Program Sponsors Thanksgiving Dinner in New York

Animal Welfare Approved is sponsoring a Thanksgiving meal in partnership with the Food Bank For New York City's Community Kitchen of West Harlem, located at 252 West 116 Street, Manhattan. The dinner will be served from 1:00-4:00 pm on Wednesday, November 26 for an estimated 700 low-income New Yorkers.

The meal will feature roasted heritage breed turkeys from Frank Reese's Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Lindsborg, KS. Chefs will also prepare dishes using drumsticks and wings from these birds to demonstrate that it is possible to cook a healthy, nutritious and delicious meal on a budget using high-quality value cuts from humanely raised animals. Leading the kitchen that day will be David Schuttenberg, head chef at Cabrito and Nate Gross, head chef at the Food Bank's Community Kitchen.

The kitchen will open at 6:00 am to allow time for the heritage birds to be slow roasted for the meal and for the fresh vegetables from Greenmarket farmers to be prepared. A film crew from will tape the preparation of the meal for educational use, so that others can learn how to prepare value cuts from these slower-growing, pasture-raised birds

Heritage turkeys were once critically endangered, but Frank Reese, a preeminent turkey expert, developed his Heritage Turkey Project in 2002--in partnership with Patrick Martins of Heritage Foods USA--to continue these lines, raising his turkeys under the Animal Welfare Approved program's high-welfare standards. Good Shepherd turkeys live their lives on pastures where they forage, graze and fly (behaviors that conventionally raised birds are not able to do). Good Shepherd's turkeys have consistently been voted the best tasting bird on the market by chefs and food writers alike.

The New York Times' 2006 blind tasting, conducted by Marian Burros, confirmed that the white and dark meat "delivered the essence of old-fashioned turkeyness. The white was succulent; even the richer dark meat was tender." Heritage Foods USA distributes Good Shepherd Turkeys in New York City.

"We are honored to work with the Food Bank during this holiday season and to partner with Good Shepherd, Heritage Foods,, Cabrito and Greenmarket, to prepare and share a meal that features meat from humanely raised turkeys and vegetables from sustainable family farms that sell their products at Greenmarkets across the city," remarked Animal Welfare Approved program director Andrew Gunther, formerly of Whole Foods Market.

Gunther continued, "People are waking up to the truth about the way farm animals are raised, and better understand the confinement systems prevalent today. We are very proud that the Animal Welfare Approved food label has been noted for assuring consumers that animals have been raised with the 'most stringent' animal welfare standards available, according to the World Society for the Protection of Animals. We are the only program that prohibits confinement and dual production."

Doors open at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, November 26 at the Food Bank For New York City's Community Kitchen of West Harlem, located at 252 West 116 Street, Manhattan. Information at

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