where to buy organic chicken livers in Boston area?
So over the past few years I've learned from this board about lots of great Eastern MA CSAs, sources for eggs, sources for meat, etc. What about packages of organic, no-antibiotics chicken liver? We love the stuff, and have been buying it in the white tubs at Market Basket, but have been thinking recently that, uh, since the liver filters all the toxins.... probably it's not so great a choice to eat a half-pound of factory-farmed chicken livers all that regularly.
It seems to me I may have seen a national brand in similar little tubs at Whole Foods, and will check there the next time I go -- but I'm wondering if anyone has a source for livers from a local farm. Thanks!
Give Mayflower Poultry (aka Live Poultry Fresh Killed) a call: "All of our poultry is hormone and antibiotic free, and free-range and organic poultry is available upon request."
Just FYI, the liver does not filter toxins. It chemically converts them to nontoxic (or less toxic) compounds, so there should be little accumulation of toxic substances. Levels may be slightly higher than muscle tissue, but not an order of magnitude higher. Also, the "toxins" that you're concerned about probably have little to do with whether the chicken was raised on an organic farm--most studies seem concerned with heavy metals and aflatoxin, both of which can be found in organically-raised chicken. Just something to think about.
Mayflower Poultry Company
621 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA
Thanks, emannths. I've driven past that place more than once but never been in! In case I wasn't clear, I've had no problem at all finding organic poultry in the area -- it's packages of livers I'm looking for especially.
Your description is rather different from what I've been reading elsewhere, and in recipes for chicken liver, etc. so I do appreciate having some different input.
I've never been in Mayflower either, but I figure that if they process their own chickens that they might have livers for sale. I don't know for sure either way.
As for the liver/toxins stuff...it's definitely an accurate description of how the liver does its job. This of what happens when you drink alcohol: it doesn't accumulate in the liver to any measurable extent. The liver chemically converts the alcohol to acetaldehyde and then to acetic acid (aka vinegar).
As I said, some things do seem accumulate preferentially in the liver. But this generally isn't specifically related to the liver's function, and the elevated levels are usually not much higher than the muscle. For me, this seems to suggest that the safety of eating the liver of an animal is similar to eating the meat of the same animal. I don't know enough (and probably no one does) to say exactly how an animal should be raised to make it the healthiest, but it seems to me like the liver is unworthy of special treatment.
One more thing: livers do store preferentially store glucose and some vitamins. Livers of arctic mammals (like polar bears) contain so much vitamin A that they are considered poisonous. Livers of puffer fish are poisonous. Examples like these may be the origin of the assumption that livers concentrate environmental toxins to dangerous levels.