Suggestions for local poultry?
I've been looking into becoming part of a meat CSA, but my bf and I eat very little pork - and beef almost never. So, we'd like to find a local place to buy our chicken/turkey that's sustainably/humanely raised. I've seen some suggestions for farms - Pete and Jen's, for example - but we tend to cook with a lot of chicken thighs and ground turkey (along with fish) rather than with whole birds. I just saw a mention of Mayflower Poultry in Cambridge - would this be a good place to buy our meat? Or, in order to really go the full mile with local/sustainable/humane, are we better off changing our meat habits? Very interested to know others' opinions. Thanks!
- The original comment has been removed
Stillman's is at multiple farmers markets they sell whole chickens $25-30 depending upon the weight of the bird (anywhere from 3-8lbs.). A bit pricey in my opinion but I was a member of their meat CSA last year and it was good stuff.
Also there's the former Lionettes Market in the South End, now called Don Otto’s Organic and Natural Market.
I think you will find that you will run into more whole birds in this endeavor, but with a little practice, it's pretty easy to "part out" a whole bird into pieces.
It sounds like you've done some homework on this, so expect to pay quite a bit more for local/ sustainable poultry than you would in a supermarket should you pursue this route.
Try the birds at Savenor's. They sell free range chickens, without antibiotics. You could call Savenor's if you want to verify any claims--they have little brochures as well which explain the provenance of their poultry. It is pricey but we buy whole chickens and disassemble them, which makes up for some of the price difference (especially since you can use the remnants to make soup). Occasionally they have ground turkey that is labeled as sustainably raised, but often are out of it at the Cambridge location.
I do believe that a lot of this stuff is meaningful but is ultimately about the peace of mind of the consumer, not the animal. In my opinion it is hard to make an argument that anything that ends with the animal's death is actually humane, but that is a very subjective call and one that much ink has been spilled over. I have come to terms with the fact that in this facet of life I am basically hypocritical, but I try to be less hypocritical by giving more of my money for a somewhat improved quality of life for the bird. That's just my two cents, and not necessarily advice for others to live by.
re: meat inspector
From their site:
"Naturally Raised Chickens
Delectable chicken dishes depend on succulent, flavorful birds. At Misty Knoll Farms, our chickens are free to roam throughout our spacious, specially designed chicken houses, with access to abundant feed, water and fresh air. As a result of this clean, stress-free environment, our birds are healthier and better tasting."
Again, the lines one draws are always highly subjective. Suffice it to say that this is not what you get at the big chicken producers. If that is not enough for a given consumer, that is certainly his or her prerogative. I am sure that they will allow people to visit their farm if they are curious to see with their own eyes.
I don't eat meat anymore but I used to buy from Halal butchers. I was very happy with the product. They are spread all over, but Al Hoda in Cambridge is a good place to start. There are a few in Everett and other communities where there is a muslim populace. I never really got a straight answer from my friends on how they are raised exactly, but I know for sure the lamb was raised properly in NH, and of course, all the animals are killed humanely.
Darn they don't have it the database!
304 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-1315
Here is my yelp review from a year or two ago.
I don't think Owen's Poultry Farm in Needham says anything about humanely raised, but their facility is small. It is local. The barns and buildings seem tidy and the people friendly. They have ostriches and llamas to keep down the predators- all good signs. Give them a call and see what they say. I've had all sorts of chicken parts from them and ground turkey & chicken and I've always been pleased.
Owens Poultry Farm
585 Central Ave, Needham, MA 02494
can you elaborate? It might explain why the grounds are so clean, lol. But there is a pretty large barn where the chickens ostensibly are and you can see the turkeys roaming. The barn is too big for the few eggs they have available daily. In truth, I have not asked specifically since I thought the roaming turkeys and the llamas/ostrich (good guard animals) indicated they had their chickens on site.
Edited to add, I'm positive they don't bill themselves as organic. But oftentimes, that's just because they haven't gotten the right (expensive) paperwork together. Lots of the old-time farmers wouldn't touch antibiotics or other icky stuff because it means they have a sick flock. And a sick flock is an expensive flock. So they follow best practices just because it's less expensive. Not saying Owens does this, but I do recall a similar conversation with Munro Dairy when I lived in RI. They weren't organic but they were horrified when I asked them if they used any hormones or antibiotics.