Today we drove out to Springport High School to pick up 8 pasture raised chickens. Springport has a lovely FFA program where the students have been raising pastured chicken to sell to local communities. For starters, they are tasty! The chickens are smaller that what you normally see in the store, but for good reason. The chicks are given no steroids or antibiotics. They are given feed the first 4 weeks of life, but after that they are put out to pasture for the next four weeks and they eat off the fields. They are butchered and you get them young and fresh. They look the size of what chickens should probably look like. No colossal giant chicken breast here! Chickens were not meant to be the size of dogs! The meat is sweet and tender and the drippings are delicious. They make an excellent gravy.
Nate and I love this program because of the delicious chicken, but for other reasons too! First, we are supporting business from our local community. Second, the students learn important experience in business. At the end of each batch of chickens, students figure out their costs of raising the chickens, determine their profits and make adjustments to their asking prices to support the purchasing and raising of the next batch of chicks. What valuable life lessons they are learning that they will probably remember and apply for the rest of their lives! Lastly, Nate and I love supporting businesses that make better choices in food health. We would like to see lots of changes in the way food is raised and processed in our country, and the best way to make change is to use our hard earned cash and support those businesses that line up with our values.
For a little info on the dark side of white meat, click here.
So I encourage you to do a little research in your community and see if you can find some local ways to get your meat fresher and cleaner! I think you will be happy if you do. Check out the Internet, ask around at farmers' markets, chat with local farmers, etc. It might take a little work, but once you find your connections, spread the word!