In today’s Monday Mission, I explain that I’ve done well with milk, meat and eggs for years, but my butter and cheese have left a lot to be desired.
Unfortunately, I took a big step back recently on chicken. It’s a huge struggle for me!
The one thing “my farmer” doesn’t grow is meat chickens. I just haven’t found a good source since moving to a new foodshed, although there is one farmer at the local market that sells pastured chickens, but I don’t think they’re organic. Trouble is, it’s only once a week, and they’re only whole birds.
If I miss the market day, I miss out. And…I miss the ease of chicken breasts every so often.
I admitted in my green confessions that I sometimes cave and buy conventional chicken. Eeek. I’m trying to stop!
I felt so guilty that I got duped into buying Smart Chicken at Meijer. It’s super expensive, $5.99/lb. for chicken breasts, and I realized that it wasn’t even organic or pastured! Blah. The website has some decent greenwashing, a little bit of real-washing, and some really, really good intentions. I honor the company’s commitment to sustainable practices, letting the birds run around, and reducing their carbon footprint. That’s super cool. However, the chickens still eat corn and soy, and they’re still inside.
I would pay a small price increase for Smart Chicken, but not three times (plus) over regular store chicken.
I was happy to at least find an option at Costco in their organic chicken breasts. They’re the same price per pound as the “Smart Chicken,” but at least are organic. I know that means little compared to being able to be outside for real and eating feed that is natural for chickens, but it’s better than nothing. It’s an extravagant purchase and one that will help to kill our real food budget for this year, I’m sure, but for convenience’s sake – and avoiding eating out on days like today when two kids woke up sick – it’s a purchase I’m willing to make.
What kills me about the whole chicken thing is that I think a local farm where I used to get meat has pastured, organic chicken breasts for $6/lb. That price used to take my breath away and I thought I’d never pay that much for meat, but now that the ground beef has gone up (again) to $5/lb. – and our income is getting more comfortable – I’ve been slowly loosening my frugal standards. I wish that farm was closer! I need to figure out how to get up there every so often for chicken…
Most of the time, which used to be all the time for a few years, I only bought whole chickens. They were the least expensive AND I knew I always wanted the bones for chicken stock. When I bought store chicken last summer while living with the in-laws and really out of my foodshed, I almost always bought bone-in breasts, hacked off the largest part of the meat for grilling, and then made stock in the crockpot out of the bones. In fact, the meal I made while in labor was fresh chicken stock and meat made into chicken rice soup after church and before the dash to the hospital.
Where do you source your chicken? Do you ever get chicken breasts?
This is part of a 10-day series on Sourcing Quality Animal Products.
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