A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Expensive is that Free Range Chicken?

I buy my meats from Hidden Stream Farms--Eric and Lisa Klein & Family. They raise their beef on organic pasture and free range their pigs and chickens. Others who've tried their meats/poultry agree--world class food!!

I've often heard others say they'd like to buy free range poultry, but it's too expensive.  Actually, factory-raised chicken is unrealistically cheap considering the farmers' cost and time that goes into it; and there's a definite difference in the quality and taste.  Take the time to watch the video "Food Inc." and you'll never buy factory-farm-raised poultry again!
Good poultry is valuable and should be treated as such; it's not what you pay for it--it's what you do with it.  My story may illustrate that:

I approached the Hidden Stream Farm stand at market and ordered a large chicken.  Didn't check the price; I already knew I wanted to try one of their chickens.  Grandpa Klein (Everett) dug around in the cooler and came up with a 6+ pound chicken.  "Perfect" I said.  When he stated the cost, I began to slow in writing out the check as it dawned on me I was spending almost $19 for only one chicken.  I hesitated, but knew I was already comitted.  My mind raced over and over "Almost twenty dollars for ONE Chicken!!"  I cut my shopping trip short; and as I slunked back home with chicken in tow, I kept asking myself "What was I thinking".  My throat got dryer with each step when I realized I would be telling Dave, my husband, I spent around $20 at market and had only one chicken to show for it.

Not one to dwell on misgivings; I decided to stretch portions and keep track of how many meals I was getting from this truly "gold-en" chicken.  Here's the tally:  six large individual pot pies; four generous chicken-gravy-over-biscuit suppers; four servings of chicken stir fry over rice; two hoagie-style chicken sandwiches; six bowlfuls of chicken noodle soup and at least three quarts of rich, free-range (no-fat) chicken broth.  Thats 22 meals, plus the broth. With a quart of free-range, no-fat chicken broth retailing from $4.00-$6.00 in stores, I could take at least $12.00 off the top, leaving my cost at around thirty cents per meal.  Considering this was for the healthiest, tastiest chicken I could buy (and never worry about chemicals, antibiotics, e-coli and such); I was relieved (and sold)!

Moral of the story:  It's not what you pay for it; it's what you do with it.

So, how many years have I been buying chicken from Hidden Stream Farm?  Pictures tell the story:
 Andy Klein (3) helping mom, Lisa Klein, load meat in my freezer.

Andy Klein (11) and Grandpa Klein at Plainview Farmer's Market

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