Chicken is our most popular selling protein, and we go through a lot of it, so it has been challenging to find a small, pasture-based chicken farmer that can accommodate our volume as well as our customer demand for consistency.
Then Primal Pastures, a small pasture farm in Temecula (see more of it here), just started delivering fresh (rather than frozen) chicken for wholesale customers, so we wanted to get in on that! Last week we got in 16 whole, fresh birds, and they were perfect. The flavor and tenderness is comparable to other organic chickens on the market, but the difference of Primal Pastures Chicken (and why they are priced twice as much as their organic counterparts) is how they are raised. Interested to learn more? Read on!
In the worst kind of (cheapest) chicken coming from conventional, Big Ag farming, baby chicks are in crowded facilities where their beaks are cut to curb their natural tendencies to forage for food by picking and scratching. When they are crowded, they end up severely plucking at each other, and without sharp beaks, they do less damage.
So cruel, so legal, and that’s just the start. Please read more of what is allowed in “certified humanely raised” chicken to understand why we have been searching for a transparent chicken farm.
As you can see in the above photo, Primal Pasture chicks have plenty of room to move around and their beaks are intact.
Here’s another shocking fact: the only formal regulation on birds labeled “free range” is that there is a cut-out in a wall that leads outdoors. However when these “free range” feed houses are so overcrowded, the birds can’t possibly get outside. Nevertheless, the label is still granted, and you, as a consumer, are horribly mislead.
Farms like Primal Pastures, who actually do give free range (as you see above) are not labeled any different than the birds that are horrifically cramped.
There’s more! As for the “organic” label you see on chicken at the market, that just means that the feed is organic and antibiotics are not administered at any time of the bird’s life. It says nothing for the quality of their life, or their movement, just the quality of their feed. Again, the consumer is simply hoodwinked. If pets were in these horrific environments, arrests would be made.
We really wanted to look for the alternative, and took it upon ourselves to visit Primal Pastures to see their operation for ourselves. Chicks, as you can see in the photo, have lots of room to move around, explore, play, pick and scratch, and get outside as you see in the photos.
Above you see more mature chickens in their chicken tractors that get rotated each day so chickens can forage fresh grass and worms. It takes longer for them to get to market size on this diet, but it is healthier for them and for us, and it is the definition of sustainable farming practices as their waste becomes fertilizer for new grass to grow, rather than get washed away as pollution.
As you see, sheep and cows (see more of them here) also share this land at Primal Pastures so that they work together to fertilize the soil and provide nutrients for each other. Cows and sheep graze on a section of pasture and then chickens follow, then even pigs who will eat everything that the other animals won’t.
In most feed houses, chickens are given a space about the size of an oven or less, and never feel grass, eat worms or feel sunshine, regardless of their accompanying labels. It feels like a scam, if you ask me. We want to support higher standards, but it costs more. Forgive us! We work to ensure that the animals we use for meat led a very humane life and are fed food that is natural. This costs more!
If you’ve read this far, you, like us, value knowing where your food comes from, and who your farmer is. You can Place orders for your own Primal Pastures chicken available frozen online, or order from us. It’s the chicken we are serving.