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Where to find organic, lightweight chickens?

virtual balboa Apr 1, 2011 10:22 AM

This seems like a potentially dumb question (apologies if so). But I wouldn't be asking you guys if I wasn't stumped. So:

Lately I've been roasting a lot of chickens at my house. Trying different recipes, methods (for the first time i ripped out the wishbone this past Tuesday). Love making them and I'm kind of trying to perfect it.

Anyway, nearly every recipe I've seen calls for a chicken that weighs between 2 to 3 pounds. When I go shopping I almost always come home with a bird in the 3.75 to 4.5 lb range. I've never found a bird that was organic/free range/etc that weighs under 3.5 lb. I've tried Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Bristol, etc. I don't even know how much weight matters when it comes to roast chickens, aside from cooking quicker and potentially more evenly?

I'm willing to bet I could find smaller chickens at markets like Ranch and Superior, but ideally these birds would be free range/organic/blah. I live in Northeast LA.

Any help at all appreciated! Thanks much!

  1. n
    NYCnowLA Apr 1, 2011 12:08 PM

    i like to roast a chicken under 3lbs too so i beg the butcher at Whole Foods to give me one that they are planning to use for their rotisserie they are always under 3lb. They are not always willing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NYCnowLA
      virtual balboa Apr 1, 2011 02:34 PM

      neat idea! what would you say yr success rate is?

      also, i thought about McCall's in Los Feliz but might be real expensive?

      1. re: virtual balboa
        NYCnowLA Apr 1, 2011 05:06 PM

        if one person says no...ask someone else :) also tell them you do this all the time. they always seem to have new people so they might not know it's ok to sell the chickens, pre-rotisserie. i would say i have a 90% success rate but i have not asked recently.

    2. b
      Bruce Kerr Apr 1, 2011 04:31 PM

      Being a roast chicken fan for at least 55 years, the finest chicken I have ever eaten is from Healthy Family Farms -- Available only at some of the farmers markets. I think you can find them on a website. I find them on Saturday and Sunday in Santa Monica, but I'm sure they sell at 3-4 others in the L.A. area. I have actually been to their farm in Santa Paula, and the chickens really do scratch in the dirt. P.S. I think they are in Larchmont on Sunday and So Pasadena on Thursday. If you like the chickens, try and reserve a Thanksgiving turkey.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bruce Kerr
        shf66shf Apr 1, 2011 05:29 PM

        Healthy Family Farms is at Larchmont on Sunday. In addition to the other markets Bruce Kerr listed. The booth at Larchmont is managed by a knowledgeable, funny and really nice guy name Steven. In addition to outstanding chicken and eggs they sell beef, lamb and pork. The best pork chops I have ever had!! Thick cut and really mild taste.

        1. re: Bruce Kerr
          taiwanesesmalleats Apr 1, 2011 05:44 PM

          I don't believe the chicken from Healthy Family Farms is technically organic. They are however, fully pastured and not fed soy which I actually hold in higher regard.

        2. j
          JudiAU Apr 4, 2011 11:20 AM

          We like a smaller bird to roast as well. Husband uses a modified "Zuni" method.

          Most of the farmer's markets have birds in the correct size range. No one else seems to...

          Both Kendor and Healthy Family Farms...

          1. t
            Tom_Fountain_Valley Apr 4, 2011 12:48 PM

            Try Mother's Market. We have them in Orange County, but I am not sure about LA area though. But they have chickens lighter than 3.5 lbs. I get mine close to 3.0 lbs.

            Mother's Market
            10928 Valley Mall, El Monte, CA 91731

            1. Das Ubergeek Apr 10, 2011 04:35 PM

              Lily's Eggs at the various farmers' markets has 2-3 lb. chickens for sale.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                taiwanesesmalleats Apr 10, 2011 05:13 PM

                How do they compare to the chickens from Healthy Family Farms? I recently tried their fertile chicken eggs and prefer them to the eggs from HFF.

                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                  shf66shf Apr 10, 2011 05:41 PM

                  Healthy Family raises their chickens outdoors. The chickens eat a diet of bugs, worms, grass and the farm mixes their own feed mixture without soy. They sprout the grains and legumes for digestibility. Their eggs and chickens are delicious! Honestly the people over at the other tables at the farmers' market selling eggs and poultry are not very specific about how the animals are raised. Go see Steven at Larchmont on Sunday for Healthy Family Farms. He is sooo knowledgeable, friendly and courteous. Larchmont is getting better vendors than they had in the past.

                  1. re: shf66shf
                    taiwanesesmalleats Apr 10, 2011 09:16 PM

                    Yes, I know what HFF is about. I buy a chicken from them weekly at the Saturday SM market. I was merely inquiring what experiences others had with the chicken from a different vendor.

                  2. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                    Das Ubergeek Apr 10, 2011 09:49 PM

                    I have never had the chicken from HFF.

                    I don't buy the chickens from Lily's either anymore, because I have an organic poultry store directly across the street from me and I can go there instead.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      OCEllen Apr 11, 2011 12:24 PM

                      And what market?

                      1. re: OCEllen
                        Das Ubergeek Apr 11, 2011 01:29 PM

                        Lily's? They're at dozens of farmers' markets. I see them at Irvine but I know for sure they are at Studio City too.

                2. c
                  citizenx Apr 10, 2011 06:26 PM

                  Try Coportunity or Bobs Market in Santa Monica.

                  1. Moose Apr 11, 2011 10:01 AM

                    Olive Fresh on Oxnard & Whitsett has amazing little chickens usually in the 2-3lb range, and at $1.99 per lb, can't be beat. I'm not sure if they are organic, but they most certainly are all natural, and don't have the ratio of fat most birds do...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Moose
                      JudiAU Apr 11, 2011 10:08 AM

                      All natural is a meaningless standard in chicken.

                      1. re: JudiAU
                        mstinawu Apr 11, 2011 01:34 PM

                        Or more generally, if it's not "USDA ceritified organic" it all pretty much doesn't mean much!

                    2. v
                      virtual balboa May 3, 2011 10:06 AM

                      just wanted to do an update on this. i went ahead and tried many of the suggested chickens and the winner (for me) is....

                      HEALTHY FAMILY FARMS!

                      With the caveat that Mary's "pasture raised" chicken at Whole Food seems almost as good (little gamier but that's ok), and was definitely cheaper. And since the South Pas Farmer's Market conflicts with a class I'm taking, I'd be more likely to buy Mary's as a rule. HFF--which seems to have a *somewhat* larger breast and cooks a little more evenly--for special occasions/guests.

                      Also, Mccalls' in Los Feliz had a good, lightweight chicken, but it was expensive and not close enough to warrant the hike out that way.

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