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Apr 1, 2011 10:22 AM

Where to find organic, lightweight chickens?

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!

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  1. 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

      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

        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. 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

        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

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

              6 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                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

                  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

                    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

                    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: OCEllen

                        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.