The chicken rocks and so does the Ziplock vacuum packer.
No kidding -- best gadget in my kitchen.
No kidding -- best gadget in my kitchen.
Okay, so, I haven't actually tasted this chicken yet. But I can tell it rocks. Err...it's gonna rock. How do I know? Well, first of all, the fat on it is yellow. YELLOW, people, like the color that butter is supposed to be. You know when you pick out a paint color called butter yellow and it's, well, yellow? That's what butter looks like when it comes from free range grass-fed cows. And that's the color of the fat on this chicken. Not white like the chicken I used to buy from Safeway. Not ivory like the chicken from Whole Foods. Yellow. So, that's one way I know this chicken's gonna rock.
The second reason I know it will rock is because it came from a small family farm. My farm, in fact. Can I call it that? I own a share. They call me a shareholder, so can I say it's my farm? I'm going to go ahead and take that liberty. The chicken comes from MY farm. Grant Family Farms. And I know how they raised this chicken. They let her run around outside. They let her dig in the dirt to eat bugs. They let her eat the bruised broccoli and rejected kale that humans didn't want (and really, with kale, how can you blame them?). The chicken pictured above wasn't stuffed with soybeans, corn, and antibiotics and slaughtered at six weeks of age. If chickens were wild and lived in Colorado, they would try to live how my chickens lived. In fact, if chickens ran wild here in Colorado, they would probably try to break into Grant Farms to live with the chickens there. That's how great these chickens had it. I can't wait to eat them. But I'm gonna have to wait. Because I've got a freezer full of pork, a quarter beef hanging in the slaughterhouse and waiting to be cut up and added to my freezer, and a bunch of fish waiting to be eaten. So we'll have to pace ourselves and find a way to spread these six chickens over the next year.
Yes, I only bought six chickens from my farm. I really intended to get more. When I found out that Grant Farms would be raising chickens, I thought I'd buy like twenty. But then we got the beef. And the pork. And we've got half a lamb, two turkeys, a goose and a duck coming, too. All for our 21 cu ft freezer. Do you think we'll make it? I think we might.
Here is what excites me the most about filling my freezer with all of this happy meat. When I make goals that have to do with food, they don't usually last long. Like, when I tell myself I'll only eat 1700 calories a day, that goes out the window after about a week. When I try to grind up flax seeds and add them to everything I eat, that lasts about two days. I can't even take vitamins regularly. I suck. But this, this eating happy meat? I'm good at this. I think it's because I know that it really matters. It matters to my body, it matters to the environment, and it matters to the animals I'm consuming.
When I decided last December that I would no longer eat factory-farmed meat, it was a bit of an adjustment at first. For a few weeks we didn't eat much of any meat. As I worked through the process of finding happy meat, it became a rhythm. It turned into a habit and our former way of life was quickly forgotten. Now that we've got a freezer full of happy meat, I can only imagine that this process will get easier. Unless I take the next step. And what would the next step be? Well, for us the next logical step is to eat only wild meat. Meat that we've caught ourselves, with the exception of salmon. I won't be catching salmon any time soon.
We've met one person here in the Springs who only eats wild meat. Elk, to be specific. He does it because he worked in a slaughterhouse when he was young and can't imagine eating anything that has been through that process. I thought that eating only wild meat would be impossible for me. Until I read Merle's Door. (As a side note, if you like dogs AT ALL you will probably LOVE this book. Up there with The Omnivore's Dilemma, I think Merle's Door is a MUST READ.) Ted, the author of Merle's Door, only eats wild meat. He catches fish and hunts grouse, elk, and antelope. And he makes it seem so...natural. So natural that I'm actually considering taking the NRA's Women on Target class, a free hunting class for women. Yes, I'm serious.
Maybe a few years from now my 21 cu ft freezer will be full of elk and I'll look back at this post and think, "Argh. You were so dumb back then, Hillary." For now, though, I'll enjoy my chicken and its yellow fat.