Friday, August 19, 2011

an extension of dinner

Every 2 weeks from the end of March until the beginning of September we get a shipment of chickens. Day old Jumbo Cornish Cross to be exact. And from June until November we have fresh, whole chicken available for purchase. Sometimes they are frozen, but we work hard to balance so that the birds are fresh.

It takes us 8-9 weeks to bring a bird to full size. Every day Homer moves them in their secure pens..pens that keep most predators out. In the very early spring the peepers go into a peat lined brooder, with plenty of water and 2-3 heat lamps. As the days and nights warm up we constantly monitor the temperature on the small birds, as either extreme will cause losses. At this time of year, it is perfect weather for brooding chicks, so they go right onto the field in a short pen that is moved, gently, on grass. An extension cord extends the brooder lights if the temperatures warrant use at night.

And then they are ready for the next step, where they go from being birds on the field to birds ready for consumption.

They are loaded into this trailer and then through the process.

Visitors..other farmers..will say "oh yes, those are the birds that get so big their legs break" our birds are walking around. More than once I have asked another farmer to stop and look at these birds..aren't they walking? aren't they supporting their weight on their own 2 legs? Other farmers will also comment on how filthy these birds get. I have to ask them again to look at our flocks..and ask if they see them filthy or are they clean, healthy, strong and well proportioned?

And once dinner is completed, there is no question. These birds smell clean, like the outdoors, when removed from the bag to cook them. The remnants in the pan stay slippery, stay liquid, never harden up. Chicken stock made from the carcass has an aroma that is fresh and a taste that warms the heart.

Dinner preparation. We love every step of the process.

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