I have been spending a lot of time in Northern Georgia this spring and summer and one of the greatest benefits comes from the local farms. I have been able to buy a wide array of food from vegetables to eggs to chicken to beef to pork directly from various farms. In several cases, I get to see the farming in action and learn about how they farm and what is important to them. I prefer to buy produce that is not treated with pesticides and eggs and meat from animals not treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. The local farms around here have provided me with that option and I love supporting these hardworking families in their efforts to provide people with healthy and tasty food.
One of the farms on my list is a chicken farm. They are called Holden Creek Farms and raise chickens for eggs and for meat. Their small, family owned farm works differently than the big guys which is one of the many reasons I like it. Several times throughout the year they have chickens to sell so you have to visit the farm on pick-up day. It is rare to be able to visit the place where your food was raised and see the next batch running around in the pasture. The Holden Creek Farms chickens get a lot of freedom to graze and enjoy the sunshine which sadly is not the norm. After speaking with the owners, Patrick and Sarah, I was delighted to learn of their commitment to non-GMO feed for their chickens which is a good thing for so many reasons.
How do they taste? Well, I think this was possibly the first time I had a fresh chicken that had not sat in a shipping truck and then a grocery store for some undetermined amount of time. That was very clear when we feasted on the first one. I brined the chicken (I soaked it in a salt water and sugar solution) which is recommended for free range poultry.
The second one I marinated in a mixture of oil, egg, apple cider vinegar and spices. It was as good as the first one, but the marinade definitely added a set of new flavors to the mix. My husband loves this technique for making chicken but it does require more planning as you marinate for hours vs. brining for a much shorter amount of time. Here is a link to the Cornell Chicken Recipe. As an aside, I went to Cornell and in my 4 years there never heard about Cornell Chicken but there are lots of website posts about this recipe.
If you get the chance to try local, pastured chicken I recommend taking advantage of that opportunity. It is tasty, much better for the environment and for the chicken (I realize their fate is determined however, their life in the pasture is much nicer than at a traditional chicken farm).
The farm photos above are from the Holden Creek Farms website as I did not have my camera with me when I picked up my chickens. I will bring it next time!!