So I found a local farmer who has a little farm stand where she sells raw cow's milk, farm eggs and fresh fryer chickens (she's also the one who will process the birds for me when the time comes - $5/bird for butchering, cleaning, bagging and tagging). So, as I embark on my own chicken adventure this summer, I thought I ought to pony up the dough and taste the potential before going for it myself :)
Now, I want to preface this by saying that I'm not really considering raising cornish x or other meat birds - my goal is to find a good DP breed since the chickens are primarily for eggs and I thought we'd just let them raise chicks and eat the extras. But what this woman sells is meaties, so I'll give it a shot! Maybe I can be converted to Team Meatie!
On May 1st she had just processed 100 birds.
I drove up and saw the next batch of birds, another 100, in their tractors out near the driveway. They were well cared for, lively and active (probably, maybe, 2-3 weeks old or so?), running around and interested in me and what I was doing. Their tractors were hoop style and spacious enough for them to run around with lots of room. They were clean and not stinky or bad to look at at all. Not sure if they were cornish x or some other type. I'll have to ask her. They looked like cornish x to me from the pics I've seen.
Her "stand" is basically a large fridge off the barn, with milk, eggs and meat inside, bagged and all well labeled, with a price list and a box on the wall to deposit the money. Honor system.
So I snagged 2 dozen eggs ($4.50/dozen), 1/2 gallon of raw milk, and a 5.5 pound chicken! I was STUNNED at the price of the chicken. $27! She charges $5/pound. Wow. And she sells out every time, and fast! I'm definitely looking forward to raising my own for less, lol.
So we made eggs for dinner (we did a breakfast dinner), and they were DELISH! My daughter (age 7) was floored and cleaned her plate. The yolks were ORANGE! And the eggs, when I fried them, held together and seemed somehow...thicker? No "eggy" smell or sulfur smell, like store bought eggs have. Really wonderful - the difference was obvious!
As I unwrapped the chicken in order to salt and herb rub it in preparation for roasting it tomorrow, I immediately noticed the lack of odor. Store bought meat always has a distinct aroma to it when you unwrap it. This chicken was totally odorless and just looked incredibly fresh. Not fatty at all either. This is going to sound weird but it was really quite beautiful, lol!
So tomorrow it goes in the oven to roast for dinner. I can't wait to devour the crispy salty skin, turn the leftover meat into chicken & dumplings, and the carcass into stock! I'm squeezing every red cent out of that $27 chicken, lol.
I'll update with my impressions tomorrow night, after we eat it!
Edited by EricaD - 5/4/12 at 9:47pm