A friend was helping us with our new pet food business; she picked up some chicken for us from a different source when our primary supplier ran out. She kept some of the chicken for herself and began to grind it for her dogs. Immediately she noticed that it was not the same as what she had been getting from me. What we had been supplying her and other customers with was generally farm raised birds that enjoyed at least some time ranging on pasture while the new chicken was from a factory farm. These birds probably spent no time outdoors and didn’t move around much. I won’t even go into what they were being fed.
What she ended up with was chicken mush, like ham salad she said. What she was used to had actual texture, a very different feel and appearance than this new stuff. I told her she now had first hand experience with the difference between the chicken you buy at the grocery store and that grown on real farms.
I spoke to my processor about it as he too was now preparing this chicken for me until he had more of the good stuff. We talked about how some of his customers commented on how his chicken was tough, that is, the chicken that people bought for themselves was not the same as what was at the local grocery. The chicken at the grocery is the same factory farm chicken we were now processing for pet food; we use the pieces that most people here do not like.
My processor was not trained like most of us to eat factory farm chicken as he came from a family that grew much of their own food. I have to be careful when selling our pastured poultry to people who have never had food that did not come from a factory. Most people like the idea of heritage breed animals, raised naturally without chemicals, and they expect the end product to be different than what they normally find at the grocery but they are not really prepared for it. Most aren’t even sure how to cook it. When you add the higher cost of this food to the equation many people will just not bother with it and console themselves with a few locally grown organic vegetables.