Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Feb 11, 2011 02:19 PM

What's Amish Chicken?

Yes, I know it's chicken raised by the Amish.

But is it discernably better (or different) than, say, a free-range chicken?

Or an "organic" bird (whatever the hell "organic" means)?

I was at a deli that raved about its chicken soup made from Amish Chicken stock. And, I mean raved about it.

I wasn't in the mood for chicken soup, so passed. But it did pique my interest about these Amish birds.

Do tell, please.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. When I lived in the city (Philadelphia), we had an Amish Market a block away. Essentially, the chicken was what is now marketed across the country as organic--the Amish do not believe in hormones, steroids, whatever they put into farmed chickens these days.

      The difference is noticeable (you'll never find a package of 2 split breasts weighing 2 pounds). I liked it better, you could simply grill a breast with salt and pepper and it was delicious.

      Hadn't really thought about it until I saw this post. I moved away from this market and recently bought some breasts from Giant. Grilled them last night with just salt and pepper and . . .tasteless. Much cheaper, but not worth eating. Now I finally know why people say chicken is bland--Amish chicken is really very tasty. (On the plus side? My cat liked the Giant chicken, so she's happy.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: gaffk

        Just going to add:
        The chickens are not necessarily free range- Back in 2005, one of the largest Amish producers (Miller) was still caging their chickens, though I think they either have more than one line, or have changed, because they count as "cruelty free"

        As for organic, as Gaffk pointed out, they refrain from adding harmful stuff to the feed, but as far as I know, no Amish properties have been reviewed or certified as Organic. Good enough for me!

      2. As you said, it's chicken raised by the Amish. It's a marketing term now. I grew up in the heart of PA Dutch country, with lots of Amish and Old Order Mennonites in the area, and never heard of
        "Amish" chicken at the farmer's markets/grocers that I frequented. True, the Amish don't typically add "the nasties" to chicken, but there really isn't anything else particularly special about those chickens.

        1. They're very plain. ;)

          Yes, alas, it's a marketing term at this point, but my local butcher's chickens, which are in fact raised on Amish farms, are much more flavorful than grocery store birds. According to the butcher, they're not quite "yard birds," but are raised in a pretty traditional way -- able to roam and peck, not given any nasties, generally let be -- on reasonably small family farms. Preferable, IMO, to an "organic" bird trucked halfway across the country, if for no other reason than that my dollars are staying in my community.

          1. It is purely a marketing term. The idea that the Amish are always organic in what they raise is beyond false, and I have heard this from the mouths of Amish farmers themselves - a group that have recently decided to go fully organic. In fact, the Amish of Lancaster Co. have been some of the most rigid in sticking to damaging farming practices and have resisted environmental protection laws, claiming "religious freedom" when they do get caught and fined.

            I live in Lancaster Co., so I am definitely not making this up. I am also not trying to bash the Amish. There are many wonderful things to respect about the culture, but they are not a perfect society, and they are trying to make money to support their families, just like anyone else. The idea that Amish farmers are somehow "better for the earth" just because they don't use tractors is ridiculous and I am continuously amazed that this myth continues to spread.