It's not a surprise when Rhode Island is on the forefront of nationally, and internationally, important research. But it is something special to celebrate, especially when it comes to the Newport-based Swiss Village Farm Foundation. The SVF Foundation is tasked with saving America's heritage breeds of animals - think the farm animal equivalent of growing heirloom tomatoes.
These days most of our meats and poultry come from one single breed of cow or pig or chicken. But it wasn't always this way. It used to be that Hereford beef was but one of a myriad of types that we used to raise and consume; now it's the majority of beef that we eat. But rare and heritage breeds carry valuable traits such as disease and parasite resistance and heat tolerance.
The SVF Foundation reawakens or keeps alive - through a breeding program with the Tufts University Cumming's School of Veterinary Medicine - hundreds of other breeds so we, as a nation, as a planet, don't lose them.
Founded in 1999 by Dorrance Hamilton and housed on 45 acres in Newport, SVF has begun working with a select few local restaurants such as the White Horse Tavern in Newport. Chefs are excited about exploring the new breeds' flavors and textures. A recent Tamworth pig dinner at the White Horse brought in rave reviews. Keep your eye on local menus for more.