Monday, April 12, 2010

About organic chicken

Since I have started this blog people have found it a lot of different ways.

1. I read a lot of other blogs and comment there and then people check out my blog.
2. People search for a picture of Genesis on Google - I linked to a Genesis picture in my blog post "Prove Yourself" - how exactly that works, that I get about 3-6 hits a day through this picture, I do not know but if I ever start a blog for my professional photography stuff, I might have to link to that picture on there too.
4. People put me on their blog roll on their own blogs (thank you!)
3. People Google something and find my blog. Those can be all kinds of stuff like:
"How to become a nanny in Italy" (Sorry, no info about this here but I can help you if you ever want to become a nanny in Chicago!)
"Cup of coffee" (I do write about that!)
or weird ones like "bad boy anal beads" (seriously - I don't know how somebody found my blog googling that but the fact that I just wrote this down will probably bring more people googling that term to my website)

But one search term that leads a lot of people to my blog is "Organic chicken" or "Pasture chicken in Chicago" and so I thought it might be a good idea to give you more info on the subject. I have become a lot more knowledgeable since my last post on the subject, so if you are still looking for an organic, pasture chicken (who are allowed to run freely, outside, eat grass and bugs instead of seeds) - here are a few tips:

*Go to farmers markets - they are the easiest way to find pasture chicken - ask the people who sell the meat - they are usually also the people who raise the chicken. If you don't get straight answers, it's probably shifty and not what you are looking for. If they seem like they don't know what "pasture" means, find somebody else to buy your chicken from. If they can show you pictures of how their animals are living or if you have a chance to look up their farm online and you see that the animals are running around freely - you have a winner.
*Go to - this is a website that will show you which farmers in your area sell organic and/or pasture meat, eggs and diary. It will also tell you when the farmer is where, so you can track them down.
*Once you find an organic farmer but you don't live right next to them - find out when and where you can find them, where they have drop-offs - and then stock up. We have a tiny freezer but I could easily fit two whole, big (5 pound) chicken and a pork shoulder in there. And that didn't even fill up half my freezer. If I buy a big thing of bacon, I freeze it in bags of three or four strips which I then defrost when needed.
*If you have a chance - go to local food fairs. I went to one about a month ago and I got a ton of information. I even bought some stuff there (there were about 4 meat vendors).
*Consider joining a CSA - you essentially buy your way into a farm and you get part of whatever they reap - veggies, fruit and often also meat. Just make sure it's a good farm and you can afford it in the long run.
*Be careful and consider what exactly you are looking for. What is important to you? That your family doesn't eat food that contains antibiotics or that the animals you are eating had a good life? For me - both are important and thus I make sure I know both are covered. But if you are mostly concerned about what goes into your body, buying amish chicken or normal organic chicken from the butcher or grocery store will do. Make sure that it says "Has never been fed antibiotics". As I have said before - Amish chicken is NOT pasture chicken! If you buy a chicken in a grocery store and it doesn't say "pasture" or "grass fed" on it - it is not "pasture" or "grass fed" because you can be sure they would want you to know about that and have you pay extra for it if it was. Also - I have never actually seen a pasture chicken in a store in Chicago.

Now - eating pasture diary, eggs and chicken is a lot more expensive than eating normal chicken - I won't lie. But it's a decision you have to make for yourself. I went years saying "Yeah, I am all for animal rights if it wasn't so expensive to eat organic". And then I read Michael Pollans "In Defense of Food" and I thought to myself, I keep on talking about it, why don't I do it? At the same time I was sick of eating the same food and feeling like crap and not knowing what is going into my body, so I changed everything.

You can do it too if you want to. It costs more but it will also make you less wasteful. I use every part of the chicken. I even use the intestines that come with it (I bake them and then put them in with the carcass when I make chicken stock). I get about 8 servings of chicken out of one bird, plus about 8 cups of condensed chicken stock which is better than any store bought stock. I cook big amounts and then freeze for the days that I don't have time to cook. I cook vegetarian a lot. I plan out meals for the week, including lunch and breakfast. In the end, I am not sure it costs us that much more because we waste a lot less. I used to throw tons of stuff away all the time because it went bad and I hardly ever do that anymore.

So if you want to do what I (and a lot of other people) decided to do - give it a go. You can always ask me if you have any questions about it!

Now I am going to go and try to find out more about objects to put up your behind, so I am prepared for any upcoming questions.

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