Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chemical Agriculture 113 - Eat More Chicken

Chickens are highly efficient at converting plant, bugs and grain into a high quality human friendly protein. Chick-fil-a has a lock on the "Eat More Chicken" slogan. But they are right, you should eat more chicken. But what chicken should you eat?

Industrial farmed chicken, those in the confinement buildings, represent the vast percentage of the chickens grown in this country. These chickens are bread to convert the highest percentage of feed to meat. To some extent they are freaks of nature. The breast on these birds are so large they can hardly walk when they are full sized. They don't have to walk very far in their sedentary life as several birds live out their whole life "cooped" up in a very small cage. Chickens are typically full sized at about 8 weeks. So at least their travail is short lived.

There is another model for raising chickens developed by Joel Salatin called pasture raised poultry. Joel talks about the "chickeness" of the chickens. Where chickens on pasture can scratch (exercise), eat bugs (protein) and grass (chlorophyll). Joel has the chickens follow what he calls "salad bar beef", so both species can literally co-exist in the same space. Joel calls this stacking.  The end result is a bird that is content and highly productive.

The flavor of this pastured poultry is amazing. The chlorophyll in the pasture works its magic and the meat has the same omega fatty acids as the highly touted wild caught salmon. This chick filet is truly a health food and the agricultural model is much more chicken friendly and sustainable than the industrial farmed chicken.

You can find this type of chicken at your local farmers market. It isn't bargain basement cheap but it is Oh! so good and good for you.

The Rochester Down Town Farmers Market has several folks that raise chickens this way. Check it out.

Vote with your fork.

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