This season I have decided to order some pasture raised meat birds for our freezer. I am still not sure about raising them myself in that I might get too attached and not be able to send them to slaughter when the time came. I also have yet to find a butcher in my area that will process other peoples birds due to disease concerns and liability.
I did find a great CSA near our home - Chicken Thistle Farm - that will raise and process the birds for you. They are a small, sustainable farmstead in upstate NY who offer meat, eggs and produce as part of a completely transparent system of operation. People who place orders or who are thinking about placing an order, can come and visit the farm any time to check things out. You can see your chickens, pigs, turkeys, etc in their natural environment and see exactly how they are being raised and treated. That is paramount to me if I am going to be eat meat. Buying organic at the store is good, but this is even better.
"Fresh, healthy, local food raised the way nature intended, transparently, pasture to plate."
No antibiotics, hormones or growth enhancers in their chickens is one of the main reasons that I decided to order from them. And I am not alone. They sold out FAST. I was lucky to get my order in. It seems that more and more people are coming to terms with their food and truly wanting to be part of their food system and know where their nourishment is coming from.
I want to be able to drive a half hour up the road and be welcomed by a gracious farmer who is proud to let me walk around and view the animals. They are doing things the right way - all the time - not just when it is time to have a "open to the public" day. I want to know that the chicken on my families plate was raised in the best possible conditions with the absence of chemicals and drugs. And I want to know that when the time came, that animal was slaughtered and processed by experienced people who take the stress of the animal into consideration and are humane about its killing. I want to know what goes into the chicken I will eat, because that is what will also go into me.
"Our goal is for the animals that live here to have the best quality of life that animal can have. The freedom to let a chicken be a chicken or a pig be a pig – that’s life on OUR farm."
Their website not only offers up what they have available, but they also have a Project Library where they share ideas and projects that they have undertaken on their farm in hopes that it will help or inspire others. Their Podcast also offers a wealth of information and entertainment, as well as their Coop Cam.
The photos are from their Flickr PhotoStream where they have many more great pictures from the farm.