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Best fresh (uncooked) chicken

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What is the best brand of fresh chicken in the Bay Area? I am looking for a very natural taste, preferably raised cage free and organic. Too often, chicken looks and tastes like it was pumped up with growth hormone..tasteless and out of proportion to its natural size. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Lung Kong Chicken @ ranch 99

    1 Reply
    1. re: mm

      I've found Lung Kong chicken to be fatty and gristly, though tasty. I prefer "huang mao" chicken (also available at 99 Ranch as well as in Chinatown).

      The fresh, whole birds in Chinatown are usually from Petaluma Poultry (which used nothing but "sustainable" raising methods) and, I'm guessing, are Rocky Jrs.

      In general, Chinese markets tend to cater to people who are serious about tbeir chicken.

      Link: http://eatingchinese.org

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      Andy Copeland

      I get a Hoffman Ranch chicken everytime I can get one. Brings new meaning to the phrase "Tastes like chicken!"

      5 Replies
      1. re: Andy Copeland

        OK next question: Where do I get one, preferably in the south Bay?

        1. re: Anonymousse

          Try calling Draeger's in Los Altos. I don't know if they have this particular brand, but they're bound to carry something high quality.

        2. re: Andy Copeland
          Joan Kureczka

          Don't know any South Bay locations, but they are at the Ferry Plaza market most Saturdays. I concur heartily with the recommendation regarding Hoffman chicken's quality.

          1. re: Andy Copeland

            Hoffman organic chickens, most definitely. I get mine at Magnani's in Berkeley. Rosie's whole organic chickens are an OK substitute - I just roasted one I bought at Andronico's on Sunday (Magnani's is closed on Sundays) and it was pretty darn good, though a little less flavorful than Hoffman.

            1. re: zenduck

              Hoffman chickens hands down

          2. rick's meat in el cerrito has santa rosa chicken. it is inside giovanni market at the corner of potrero and liberty. go over thursday and you can try his fresh smoke ribs brisket and chicken. the beef are from harris ranch. call to order the smoke meat a head of time.

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              Morton the Mousse

              Cafe Rouge meat market in Berkeley sells quality poultry. I like the Hoffman Farms birds and am curious about the Heritage Farms "heirloom chickens;" although I have yet to splurge on one.

              1. I like Fulton Valley Farms chicken. It's got a nice texture and flavor. I'm not sure if they're certified organic, but they claim not to use antibiotics, hormones, etc. and to let the chickens roam. I've bought their chicken at Lunardi's and at Piazza's, and it's not much more expensive than the nasty frozen, packaged, chemical-ridden stuff. It's also the chicken that Roli Roti uses, I noticed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Joy

                  I live in Santa Rosa and have been eating Fulton Valley chicken (under a succession of names) for 25 years. I like their chickens better than the more expensive ones. They have real flavor, even the white meat.

                2. Just want to revisit an old topic to see if there's any news since. I stopped by Magnani today to get a chicken. The staffs were wonderful as usual, but the bird itself really disappointed me. The chartboard indicates that the chickens are now from fulton farm or something like that, I can't remember too well. When I brought it home to make my usual noodle stock, it reaked of this weird chemical smell (medicinal, I don't know how to describe it, my nose is very very sensitive to it though). I used to buy whatever chicken that was on sale at your regular store, and the broth would smell just like that. Does anyone have a similar experience? I have had good meats from them in the past, and my good friends continue to buy from them for the last 15 years or so, but today's chicken was a bummer.

                  I find Trader Joe's organic or free range chicken very good. It smells wonderful when cooked (boiled, broiled, roasted), and one small chicken actually has a lot of flavor. Berkeley Bowl's Happy Dan's comes up second, but not as flavorful. I think I used to get Hoffman Farm's chicken somewhere, but I can't remember the flavor anymore. I just know Trader Joe's chickens are right on.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: idlehouse

                    The Cafe Rouge butcher shop sells Hoffman Farms, and occasionally Heritage.

                    1. re: Morton the Mousse

                      Ditto the Hoffman Cafe Rouge chix. The ones they salt and pepper and let them marinate for a couple of days are heaven for a lazy bum like me.

                    2. re: idlehouse

                      I think the best chicken I've had is "Smart Chicken": http://www.smartchicken.com/wisc.html

                      Because there's no water added, it has a better flavor and texture. I think the specialty chickens in the Asian markets are worth checking out -- they're from breeds that are kept of flavor, not for Partonesque breasts.