Friday, March 15, 2013

Reflections of "I Work at a Chicken Processing Plant"

An article went viral this week: “I Work at a Chicken Processing Plant.” It tells the insider story about Big Ag  chicken processing. “It smells like a public pool. People lose fingers and hands ‘quite a bit.’ A supervisor will spend 15 minutes making a cart full of chicken carcasses ‘look like they were trying to be sexy’...They [the chickens] are taken to live hang where they get electroshock ‘therapy’ more or less. They go through multiple process to kill bacteria, defeather, pull out the gizzards.”

The story may make you think twice before eating your next chicken. But you don’t have to stop eating chicken - just choose chickens that are humanely treated, eat a healthy diet and are given plenty of space and fresh air. Believe it or not, your decision can affect the way chickens are treated. For example, Whole Foods Market announced this week that they require GMO labeling on all their products. The reason being, according to the company’s CEO, consumer demand: “We’ve seen how our customers have responded to the products we do have labeled,” A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods’ CEO,  told the New York Times. “Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.”

We can vote with our fork for more ethical, healthful food choices at stores and restaurants. When it comes to pasture-raised, natural chicken, look no further than Griggstown Poultry Farm, which specializes in poultry and game. It is located right here in Central New Jersey just off Bunkerhill Road in Griggstown.

Over the past three decades, the farm has become a giant in the state’s Slow Food community. Under the slogan “Field to Market,” Griggstown farm has expanded to become a go-to destination for supporters of healthy, locally grown food that’s produced humanely and naturally. Their farm-raised poultry and game can be purchased at the farm’s own market, at Whole Earth Center and at local farms and farmers markets. The farm houses a USDA processing plant which processes poultry two to three days a week. Recently they opened a new commercial kitchen where they make their famous pot pies and other delicacies. You can go there, enjoy the green pastures and see for yourself how well the animals are treated.

You can read more about Griggstown Poultry Farm in Locavore Adventures. Go out to the farm, get some chicken and try this recipe from the book:

Griggstown Farm Chicken with Apple Cider Glaze, Potatoes and Vegetables
1 whole boneless chicken breast with skin.
Olive oil
1 chopped shallot
1 cup apple cider
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 sprig rosemary
2 leaves sage
2 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
For the potatoes:
1 potato peeled and cubed
1 onion sliced
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper

Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet with the oil. Sear the chicken
skin-side down until brown on medium heat. Turn the chicken over and brown the other side.
Remove the breast from the pan and finish cooking in a 350 degree oven until done, about ten
Add the chopped shallot to the pan and cook until soft. Deglaze with the apple cider, add the
brown sugar and cook until reduced by 2/3 and syrupy. Add the chopped herbs, season with salt
and pepper and stir in the butter. Pour over chicken when you plate it.

For the potatoes:
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender and drain well. Heat the olive oil in a large,
heavy skillet. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil. Let the potatoes
brown in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and let them cook until soft. Add the thyme, salt and

Any of your favorites will work. I like to use sauteed broccoli rabe, baby carrots and baby
zucchini. Look for a variety of colors, flavors and textures to make the dish interesting.

Griggstown Quail Farm and Market
986 Canal Road, Princeton NJ 08540 908-359-5218

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