How many times have you heard “If you knew how your food was produced, you wouldn’t eat it!”? That statement was never more true than when applied to chicken produced in the industrial and vertically integrated system that puts those boneless skinless breasts on your grocers meat counter. Possibly no animal is more abused before slaughter or adulterated after slaughter than the humble chicken.
Our chickens are raised in the model pioneered by Joel Salatin of Polyface farms. We purchase day old chicks that spend their first two weeks in a brooder as they feather out in preparation for moving out to the pasture. There they are placed in pens measuring 8’ X 16’, covered on one end and open to the sky on the other. We would prefer to let our broilers free range like we do our layers but they just aren’t very fast. The pen is there to keep predators out, not broilers in.
The Feed Mill
They are fed a ration we grind fresh for them containing only natural ingredients, no growth stimulants, hormones, antibiotics and no soy. Each day the pen is moved to fresh grass which the chickens relish as they do the occasional bug or worm that crosses their path.
After 6 to 8 weeks on pasture, we bring them in for processing and here’s another place where the difference between our chickens and industrially produced ones becomes remarkable. Rather than use the mechanized system prevalent in their way of doing things which commits atrocities that are “remedied” only by dipping the carcasses in chlorine baths, we process ours by hand.
First we render the bird senseless to pain by “debraining” it, a technique wherein a small knife is inserted into the base of the brain effectively shutting down the sensory nervous system while keeping the autonomic nervous system operating so that the heart pumps and the bird is thoroughly bled out.. Once it is properly bled out, it is scalded and put in a plucker to remove the feathers. The bird is then eviscerated by hand and inspected twice before being placed in a tank of constantly running well water to cool down. After the cooling period, the carcass is given one last quality control inspection before being bagged and labeled ready for your freezer.
The taste and texture of our birds so far surpasses anything you can buy at your local grocer, that you will think you are eating a different species, or actually the species chicken used to be.
We also have turkeys available for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. They are raised much like our broilers except when they get a little bigger and can outrun predators, they are allowed to free range.
We process birds several times throughout the summer and early fall so don’t forget to choose which batch you want on the order form.