How far out of your way do you go for tastier chicken?
Long ago, we noticed that that Whole Foods chicken was worth the extra $. They are less flabby so there is more nice crispy skin when roasted, and generally tastier. We found similar quality at a small supermarket with an actual butcher.
As an experiment, I bought one at the small supermarket, and a pasture raised chicken at the farmer's market for more than twice as much, and cooked them "beer can chicken," side by side. The pasture raised chicken had almost no flab, and was somewhat more flavorful, but lost the match because it was so dry. Duh. It was frozen, but the supermarket chicken was fresh.
Today we roasted a chicken from the ethnic market where the live chickens are in the back. They are not free range or otherwise fashionable. Just local. Wow. Freshness makes the biggest difference. This was the juiciest yet and very tasty.
I have yet to try pasture raised fresh killed. It will require an appointment out of town at the farm, but according to what I have learned so far, it may be worth it.
re: Father Kitchen
FatherK: For a great portion of our 30 odd years in good old Laurel, MD I went to the Amish Market regularly. You make me hungry thinking of their stuff. In order to satisfy my chicken connoisseur, who prefers chicken to turkey, I bought an Empire Kosher (cut up) chicken at Trader Joe's. TJ's isn't too far from me, but I prefer this type bird to the supermarket ones. Baked this Kosher critter for Thanksgiving for my chicken fan. It worked out beautifully. Baked it on high heat for awhile, then lowered the temp covering the pieces with a peach sauce/relish to finish the dish. We no longer live in MD, but in the Southwest, so no Amish market to patronize.
You couldn't be a priest from St. Joe's College in Emmitsburg? Don't mean to be nosy, and you don't need to commit; but sure does make sense based on the distance one would need to travel from the St. Joe's to Laurel. I saw something on TV-Sunday Morning w/Charles Osgood about a priest who teaches cooking and has his own local TV show. Kudos to both of you, your colleagues eat well. Blessings.
About 20 yards, from the generic meat aisle to the kosher foods aisle in my local supermarket.