By: Renee Dake Wilson (Jan 1, 2010)
After some deliberation, I have just renewed my 1/2 share of poultry CSA for 2010. Here's my story.
It all started when October came and I had only one Rainbow Ranch Farm chicken left in my freezer, but needed 2 to learn how to cook enchiladas from a friend of mine. I bought two Trader Joe's Natural chickens and was BLOWN AWAY at the visual difference: size, color and fat content especially. The stock we made from those chickens had to be strained for fat several times, unlike our new normal of fat-free stock from the Rainbow Ranch Farms chickens. This stark contrast set me up for the "chicken-off."
We have a few friends who enjoy our breed of food intensity: going local, organic and whole for everything possible. We invited over two like-minded friends, and one friend with only a passing interest in food. We broiled yams and steamed chard from our vegetable CSA, and baked three contestant chickens: 3.5# Rainbow Ranch Farms "100% Buddhist style", 4.5# Mary's air-chilled from Whole Foods, and 6.5# Trader Joe's Natural. Once again, the visual contrast was stark. They were definitely small, medium and large, and you could see the yellow fat in the Trader Joe's chicken. We carved them onto three platters and served everyone "blind", without knowledge of which chicken was which. After some wine, a lot of discussion, and seconds and thirds, the decision was unanimous: the Rainbow Ranch Farms chicken was by far the best. The Trader Joe's Natural chicken was flavorless, although tender and juicy. And the Mary's chicken was a good middle ground.
All this is as you know and expect it to be I'm sure, but what a great affirmation of our belief that local, organic, whole, natural foods are best for health and flavor. Thank you for the part you play in that.