Many of us may remember a time, not long ago, when we would go to the grocery store to buy “chicken.” The label was uncomplicated, unambiguous and straightforward; we knew that we were buying chicken, and that’s all that mattered.
Today, the story is different. We still go to the store to buy chicken, but we’re greeted with a multitude of options—In what context was the chicken raised? Is the chicken local? Antibiotic-free? Cage-free? Did the chicken eat an organic vegetarian diet?
The options are many and varied—in contrast to the simpler days of grocery shopping—and utterly baffling. The purportedly “all-natural” chicken, for example, suggests a healthy, happy chicken roaming free in a bucolic countryside setting, though in reality the chicken may have spent its entire life in a cage, fed growth hormones and GMO grain loaded with synthetic pesticides, and far from the consumer’s concept of “natural.” To be “all-natural,” says Perdue, one of the nation’s largest poultry producers, the chicken should be free of artificial ingredients and chemical preservatives. Beyond that, the chicken can be raised in the least natural of settings—a cage barely large enough for the chicken’s engorged body—and still qualify as “all-natural.”
Another (intentionally misleading) label, among the many, is the “farm-raised” chicken. Actually, all chickens were raised on farms. The label suggests, therefore, that this particular brand is special—that their chickens lived a carefree, cage-free existence on, say, a small family-owned farm in New England, while again the reality may be that the chicken was raised in the intense confinement of a factory “farm,” spending their entire lives crammed into windowless sheds with 100,000 other “farm-raised” chickens.
At the Coop, we’re excited to offer our members an easy (and ethical) choice of organic, free-range chicken (and we’re not just saying this!) from two small-time farms: Locus Point Farm and Greenane Farms. We’re proud to support these cage-free poultry farms and, offering only the healthiest, happiest chickens, promote the health and wellbeing of both beloved members and feathered friends alike!