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Farm raised/dressed chickens

  • b

I'm fed up with boring, tasteless supermarket chicken. Do any of you know of any farms in Massachusetts, preferably near the Boston area, that raise and dress (slaughter) their own chickens for sale? I’m most interested in small scale, organic farms. I see a lot of fresh eggs for sale on the farm, but can’t find anyone selling chickens. Turkey, duck, goose, rabbit, beef, lamb?

Thanks,
Bottomless

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    nomadfromcincy

    I have heard that Heirloom Harvest farm has something along those lines. I'm not sure if you can buy a single chicken (as opposed to buying weekly), but here is the website so you can investigate.

    Specifically, I heard from people who are buying a CSA share that they are also considering a chicken and eggs share.

    Let me know what you find out.

    Link: http://www.heirloomharvestcsa.com/

    1. s
      Science Chick

      Owen's Poultry in Needham is pretty good. Not strictly organic, but when I inquired they claimed that they don't use hormones or antibiotics. Haven't had their chicken, but I did get a fresh turkey from them last Thanksgiving and it was one of the best birds I've ever prepared. And while you at it, you can stop by Volante Farms right down the street for some farm fresh produce!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Science Chick

        I second Owen's. Another option I use occasionally is Dewar's, a butcher in Newton Centre. Although expensive, Dewar's quality is unbeatable.

      2. Wilson Farm, Pleasant St, Lexington, raises and dresses their own chickens. They are infinitely more tasty than supermarket chickens and cheaper too. This is a third generation family-operated business according to an article in a local magazine last year, and sure enough, the kids are there helping out on holidays. Don't think the chicken is organic though.

        4 Replies
        1. re: GretchenS

          I agree that the chicken is tasty from Wilson's, but the other day I asked where the chickens come from and they come from a farm in PA. Their own chickens lay the eggs that they sell. I am also not convinced that the chicken for sale at Owen's is from MA (or their farm) although I just bought many pounds of it and it is good too. The food project lists Owen's turkey and eggs as being MA grown.

          1. re: GretchenS

            Sadly, Wilson Farms no longer raises the chickens that they sell. They started outsourcing about 10 years ago. I have inquired about the conditions, feed, etc that these chickens receive, but no one is able to tell me. I still buy their chicken, since it is the best I can find. I would love to find a local provider that doesn't use antibiotics or soy feed.

            1. re: smtucker

              I agree: Wilson's is where we get our chx becuase it's the best we can find flavor-wise, and reasonably priced. But you're right, I've asked for details about who supplies it, the conditions, etc, and no one's been able to provide info to me. Even so, it's so much better than supermarket chx.

              1. re: litchick

                I emailed Wilson's about their poultry, and here's the response I got:

                Wilson's Farm's fresh chicken needs are currently being met by three East Coast vendors, all of whom meet our high quality standards and practice animal friendly procedures. Although the chickens are not "free range," they are raised in spacious climate controlled pens . . .

                And then the letter goes on to name the suppliers: Bell and Evans, Allen Family Foods, and Mountainair Farms. I did a search and found this link on Allen Family Foods: http://www.upc-online.org/wpost/99112....

                In other words, if one person can thrust 10,000 chickens into a live hang in one 8-hour shift, then this chicken is not animal or worker friendly. Too bad - the chicken is really good.

          2. Mayflower Poultry in on Cambridge Street in East Cambridge has immaculate poultry from its farm in the exurbs. Kept on ice, not stewing in a bag. I doubt it's organic, but that does not necessarily mean any improvement in flavor (there are plenty of organic birds that have less flavor than non-organic, sad to say), but their birds are reliable. And they have fresh capon available regularly....

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S.

              Mayflower as far as I know does not actually own the farm at least since the current owner took over, but the Poultry is from New England farms and not from a national distributor. In addition to the Capon, they also have stewing chickens fresh not frozen which make an incredible broth. They also will bone roasting chickens which is a lot more convenient than doing it yourself... And backs and necks to add to stock. Most places sell frozen rabbit, but they have it fresh. They have the most massive jumbo eggs you have ever seen (that might not be the best sign as far as organic, etc, but they are as tasty as Wilson's eggs). They do buy some things processed, so its not all "live poultry," but they do claim that its still freshly killed (within 3 days I believe).

              Its a basically an independent wholesaler, with good retail service and a quality, but not necessarily organic product.

              1. re: itaunas

                Thanks for the update. I find their products often superior (both in terms of quality and of course price) to what you will find in specialty or fancier food stores. Mayflower doesn't sell you food glamour or a story for a price - they just sell very fresh and well chosen poultry in a place that smells the way poultry and butcher shops used to smell (in a good way that most people today don't know anymore, sad to say).

            2. not direct from the farm but right in Boston; Savenors and Butcher Shop both have "small farm, organic" chickens from VT or NH.

              1. I haven't had their chickens yet, but I'm planning on ordering soon. They're locally and sustainably grown, but I think you have to pre-order. They are only available once a month from June to October. Something to check out if you don't mind planning ahead!
                Pete and Jen's: http://peteandjensbackyardbirds.com

                Drumlin farms in Lincoln has meat (this is actually the Audobon society), as does Codman Community Farms in Concord. I just went on a scouting expedition for local meats this very afternoon with some friends . . . if you try any of these, let me know what you think!

                3 Replies
                1. re: jenndi

                  Pete and Jen's looks great, but I so cannot buy a pig from them now. A cute photo slide show does not make me hungry....

                  1. re: tallullah

                    We;ve ordered from Pete and Jen's this year on the very strong recommendation of friends who ate their chickens last year. We'll let ya know...........

                    1. re: powella

                      Lionette's Market/Garden of Eden in the SE sells a Vt raised chicken. I've tried it a few times. It's pricey..$4 or 5/lb..and you pay for the head and feet..about $20/chicken

                      For about 1/2 the total price, Savenor's sells these..and they're very good.

                      http://www.giannonepoultry.com/

                2. Giannone Chicken from Quebec is very good. Misty Knoll is exellent from VT. If you go out to the Berkshires, look up Moon on the Pond Farm. They raise a lot and friends who raise even more. And, the American Livestock Breads Conservancy publishes a good directory by state of heirloom breeders. Good Luck.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JasonBond

                    Russo's in Watertown carries Misty Knoll chickens.

                  2. There's a place in Chinatown that has live chickens they will kill and dress for you. I keep meaning to buy from them, i hear they are excellent. Anyone bought from there?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nightsky

                      There used to be two, but not sure both are still there. It's where my mom used to buy her chicken exclusively - she does not trust supermarket chickens, but then again she spent her early years raised on a true farm environment. The chicken is certainly better than your average Perdue, but I wouldn't say it's knock your socks off better. Even my mom used to say that the chicken didn't taste quite right here (this was before the days of shopping at your local farms). Nothing bad, but just bland.

                      1. re: nightsky

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3963...

                        I bought a chicken from them a few years ago. Here's a link to an old post.

                        1. re: 9lives

                          i find kosher chickens from the Butcherie have a better taste and a better smell. I don't buy chicken at the super market but I'd love to find a local farm purveyor. If any one runs across one at the farmer's market, please post. thanks.

                      2. i did forget that Mayflower Poultry always has hormone and antibiotic free chickens and, if you call ahead, will also have organice and freerange chickens (and their eggs are great). I don't know the source of their chickens, however.

                        1. Another suggestion is to check the vendors at local farmer's markets. I know Belmont and Arlington had Massachusetts farmers selling fresh chicken last year but it was exorbitant.

                          1. Seven Acres in North Reading has them and this link is also a great resource:
                            http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/far...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: phonelady

                              If you own a restaurant / foodservice operation and want the best - check out Murray's Chicken.
                              It's available from Sysco in the northeast. Each package has a code which tells you what farm it came from. It's a "never-never" program and the birds are air chilled.
                              The statler (airline) breast have the best specs I've seen from anyone

                            2. These sound great. But do any of these places sell just chicken parts, particularly bone-in thighs or bone-in breasts?

                              1. Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds grow their own chickens. They are in Concord near Verrill Farm. Look at the website for a description of how they raise their chickens. Organic, etc.
                                Also, Owens Poultry Farm in Needham has their own chickens but have never heard them claim organic, free range, etc.

                                -----
                                Verrill Farm
                                11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA, MA 01742

                                Backyard Birds
                                159 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA 01742

                                Owens Poultry Farm
                                585 Central Ave, Needham, MA 02494

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: emilief

                                  I don't think Owens actually raises the chickens they sell for meat (though they do produce eggs). Not sure where they come from, though they are very good.

                                  1. re: nsenada

                                    The Mass Dept. of Agriculture lists them as a farm producing fresh dressed turkeys, chickens and ducks. I got a turkey from them a ways back, and I recall having a conversation with them about how they raise them (hormones, etc). Guess you could always call....

                                2. Tendercrop Farms in Newbury raises and sells their own hormone-free and antibiotic-free chickens, Black Angus beef, and turkeys. We bought a small turkey and whole chickens this past Saturday. The turkey was only 4 1/4 lbs... it was grilled in the Weber for Sunday's dinner. Delicious !

                                  http://www.tendercropfarms.com/meat_a...