It is said that chickens are the gateway drug to farming. I’ve always wanted to farm, and when I started years ago with just a truck and a shovel, chickens were the obvious choice. Crops need good soil, and chickens are the engine to fuel the soil building process on small acre holdings. The key to this process though, is having them on the ground that you garden on, not in a barn. While compost can be made from a barn style production system, the birds are healthier, and the soil is regenerated when you can range them on pasture. In my operation, I like to range the birds on pasture for a few years, then work that area into garden for a few years, then rotate to the next area, and so on.
What’s important to know as a consumer though, is that pastured birds are superior to barn raised birds in health, taste, and environmental impact. When a percentage of a birds diet is from fresh, live plants on pasture, you can see the yellowing of their skin and fat from all the phyto-nutrients they are ingesting. Are the birds you buy from the health food store, the meat shop, or colony raised on pasture? Most likely not. There are few of us who go to the effort to move birds around to fresh grass on a regular basis. Those that do, will post pictures of that fact so that you can rest assured you’re getting the product you expect.
When you sit down to the table at The Honey, Garlic, and Pie Fest, you get to experience the taste of pastured birds, and how wonderful they really are. Once you’ve tried, it’s hard to go back. Enjoy your meal!