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Organic Chicken

Where can I buy fresh organic chicken? I have been disgusted with Ralphs' chicken the last two times I got it. I think it was foster farms. I hate the smell, it makes me sick when I open it and then I don't want to cook it. This last one, I had it in the freezer for two days, let it unthaw in the fridge for a day, opened it and almost barfed. I threw it away.

How much would a whole chicken cost at maybe whole foods, or erewhon? Does trader joes have organic or free range chickens?


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  1. Whole Foods has good ones, Erewhons are tasty but sometimes overcooked. I'd say they hover around $8??? Bristol Farms also has good ones, not sure if they are organic or not though...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Quesera

      I'm sorry. I want them raw. I want to cook them.

      1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

        In addition to WF and BF, you can go to Wild Oats as well as Vicente Foods, both in Brentwood.

      2. re: Quesera

        Got one at whole paycheck today, it was $2.29 a pound! Ouch! Thanks for all the recommendations, I will try all of them soon enough.

      3. Trader Joe's does carry them, at least in our area. They have two kinds - one is organic and free range and the other is one of the two (I forgot which, since I don't buy this one).

        They're worth a look, anyway - since they're a lot better deal than WF, even if they're on sale at WF... unless you want a larger bird, in which case you're stuck with WF.

        1 Reply
        1. re: salutlemonde

          TJs' free range roasters go for $1.59 in Sacramento. It's my standard bird.

        2. I buy them a couple times a month from a guy who sells eggs and whole chickens at the Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Venice Farmers Market. His name is Tomas and I cannot recall the name of his stall. At the Wednesday SM market, he is located on 2nd Street, south of Arizona, as you approach the parking structure. He charges about $9 for a chicken and it's a good organic chicken. It's quite a contrast to those big-breasted chickens at Ralph's that seem like they'd fall over before they could even take a step. (cue: some joke about the similarities between these chickens and the Hollywood bar scene...)

          1. Trader J has these terrific Kosher chickens...plump, free of crap and flavorful.
            we dont get the organic. we get the TJ carried Kosher. I forget the brand.

            1 Reply
            1. re: peterboy

              used to be EMPIRE which TJs is no longer carrying allegedly because the weights were sometimes less than stated. now it's AARON'S which i like better. the EMPIRE was not always fully plucked and so it takes longer to clean.

              MARY'S ORGANIC or NATURAL from whole foods is my favorite. we also buy her heritage turkeys every thanksgiving. ROSIE is also good.

            2. Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of getting one today, though it seems like it might be too hot out to cook.

              What is the difference between "free range" and "organic?"

              6 Replies
              1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                Organic refers to the foods the chicken consumed.

                Free Range means the chicken had the ability to walk, not raised in a small cage, according to an article in the Berkeley Wellness Letter, free range does not mean the chickens are free to roam/free to eat bugs/grasses.

                From your original post, you seem to not like the smell of cleaned chickens. I don't think that has nothing to do with the chicken's diet, but rather the packaging. So, look for unpackaged chickens.

                A free range chicken (Fulton) at my Nor Cal market costs ~$2.49/lb or ~$10, $1.89 on special. I would guess an organic chicken would cost a few dollars more.

                1. re: Alan408

                  You can get Rosie's organic chicken at both Whole Foods and Gelsons. I get those regularly and a whole chicken runs about $6-$8. I haven't noticed any type of unpleasant smell when I buy/cook with this chicken.

                  1. re: burbankfoodie

                    Costco has organic chickens now. I believe they're $1.99/lb.

                    1. re: Wolfgang

                      Costco seems like the best deal...Sprouts has Rosie's for $2.99/lb.

                    2. re: burbankfoodie

                      I second the Gelsons organic chicken. Whenever I make my fried chicken for guests, I always buy the Gelsons organic bone-in breasts and thighs. It's great. Definitely give it a try, could be cheaper than Whole Foods (I can't remember the price off the top of my head or if it was Rosie's in particular...).

                    3. re: Alan408

                      A USDA organic chicken must be "free range"--that is, it must be raised with access to the outdoors. If you want a chicken that's been raised on bugs and grass, look for "pasture raised" if you can find it. It's not a defined term, so know your supplier.

                  2. The whole paycheck chicken was fantastic! Very delicious. no odor or weirdness. Thanks again to everyone.

                    1. I got a delicious jidori chicken at mitsuwa mkt

                      1. Farmer's Market poultry on the westside of the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax across from the tea stand. Great poultry of all kinds, really fresh. Great prices, they'll butcher it how you want and the guys are super friendly.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: PinotPlease

                          the two reeal true organic chickens in the U.S. are the Jidori and the Rosie. The Rosie are big and fat like turkeys but are dry...the Jidori are smaller, but are juicy and delicious due to their feed. I recommend the Jidori, and for the remark that 2.29 a lb. is a lot, the Jidori from my purveyor costs $1.81 a lb....so no real love their....Go Jidori if you must have your clean version of the dirty bird.

                          1. re: chefthisguy

                            agree, chefthisguy. I recently switched from Rosie to Jidori. Much tastier than the Rosie, which I always brined if I had time. Jidoris are much juicier.

                            1. re: budlit

                              Did WF used to use Rosie's for their rotisserie birds?
                              I used to like the dark meat but found the breast meat to be sawdusty.
                              Last week I noticed the rotisserie bird I bought was from Mary's and the white meat was much better than before.

                              1. re: Wolfgang

                                agree with the wolf. MARY'S chicken are very good and the white meat is always moist. i've found the jidori's can vary in quality by farm/ranch.

                            2. re: chefthisguy


                              What do you mean by "reeal true organic"? There are plenty of other chickens labeled "organic" out there; what's the difference?

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                their feed is organic too... I hear that the feed of other organic's are not always what they seem....if you can find the Jidori's I guarantee you will love them. They recommend that they are to be eaten as close to being put down as possible.

                                1. re: chefthisguy

                                  By the way, Jidori is a generic Japanese term for "free range."

                          2. Ewww - that rotten egg smell?? I have had a couple of raw chickens over the years that smell like rotten eggs when you open the package (even if it wrapped for me by the butcher because it was unwrapped in the case) and I always thought that meant that the chicken was spoiled and that we shouldn't eat it. I always took those back for a a refund.

                            My mom buys the Foster Farms at Ralph's and loves it. You may have just gotten unlucky a couple of times. I would talk to the butcher there and see what he thinks. I bet he'd even open the package for you at the store before you buy it.

                            At Whole Foods, I buy the Rosie's chicken, which they used to label clearly in the case as Rosie's but now I think it's just called "organic" on their sign. I do not like the taste of their other chicken, Mary's. The only bad thing about Rosie's is that if I buy the breasts only, they are huge and take forever to broil.

                            At Gelson's, I like the Shelton chickens. They are smaller than Rosie's, plenty of flavor.

                            1. An update. I have tried Costco's (i forget the name) and Erewhon's (shelton brand) and both were delicious. Both about $10 for a whole chicken. I also tried the foster farms at costco and it was delicious as well. Maybe this ralphs by me is the problem. Still want to try the guy at the Santa Monica farmer's market.

                              1. Trader joes whole organic free-range chicken is $15.
                                I also keep my own grass fed chickens for eggs. And I must say, when you have had a baby chick till it's full grown for 6-8 months, which is the TIME it takes for it to grow up meat ready and are AWARE of the COST of feeding these all eating, big appetite chickens, along w the care and clean up: $15 is NOT a lot. My own chickens would cost $50 EACH if I was going to sell one, just to cover the cost of feeding one for 6-8 months. The fact that chickens are sold for as little as $5 is scary to me, HOW they can manage to make it that cheap while still getting a profit. Nothing good I imagine..! Further more when you have TASTED the difference of what a grass fed organic free range chicken taste like, it will be enough to convert anybody for good. The taste, smell & look is clear, clean and fresh. Food for thought...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Healthyhappy

                                  TJ's organic free range bird is by the lb, and I try to pick the smallest one. It's also extremely water logged compared to the ilks of Vikon/Jidori.

                                  Beautiful girls you got there, though. What layer feed are you using now?

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Thank you! The cheapest my husband could find is Swanson farms layer feed.It's a corn, soy, wheat, b vitamin etc product w no chemicals, hormones or antibiotic. It is not organic food.
                                    Up until now, we would spend $20 every 2-3 weeks to feed 6 growing chicks ( they eat A LOT!). Plus a supplement purina chick grit. They free room our entire yard, which is the typical urban sized small yard, and they are now preferring & eating mostly fresh vegetables ( fresh corn, fresh celery , fresh parsley, fresh lettuce) AND grass plus all the wild bird seeds we got for the wild birds.. They LOVE their own leftover eggshells which I save & crush in my hand for them ( a easy healthy calcium supplement..). As well as what ever grasshoppers, worms, flies, spiders etc they are able to catch ( they will leap into the air to catch them & they r great hunters). They frankly prefer fresh foods when having a choice between fresh veggies & processed feed. So since they eat so much our family of 4 leftover table scraps r not enough to satisfy them.

                                    A rich more natural chicken diet w less processed corn meal is the chickens own preference, so I am more prone to the " grass-fed free to roam" method because the chickens thrive so much this way as well as lower the cost slightly for processed layer feed because they no longer eat through a 25lbs bag as fast now that they are 7 months old. the nutritional value of their eggs and meat is Better on grass fed. We are obviously not feeding certified organic ( although I like to if my husband wasn't so cost aware) but our chickens are by far superior in taste, smell & look than any store bought I have seen or tasted. Just their vitamin K & D RICH orange egg yolk and clear ( non cloudy whites) speak for themselves.