Fresh Focus: Eat More Chicken

It’s been scorching hot outside, and Charlotte Fresh has been trying to keep cool. Hopefully, you are too.  It’s a good option to use the grill so you don’t heat up the house. One terrific meal to cook up on the grill if you have a rotisserie attachment (and a little bit of time) is a roasted chicken.

New Town Farms chicken on the rotisserie

New Town Farms chicken on the rotisserie

There are many local farm sources that offer great quality chicken, some even organic.  We recently roasted a three-and-a-quarter pound Poulet Rouge organic chicken from New Town Farms based in Waxhaw, N.C.  Not sure if this Poulet Rouge is the same as “Poulet Rouge Fermier” grown on other small farms throughout the Piedmont, but if so, it is a long-necked heritage breed from France that takes longer to raise, giving the chicken an elongated breast, a more distinctive taste and translucent skin.  I found that when I was rubbing butter on it and under the skin, that I could see through the thin skin as I was working, but it didn’t break.  The chicken was delicious fresh from the rotisserie.  This week at Matthews, New Town Farms will be offering frozen whole Redbro chickens for sale.  What little I could find researching Redbro, the Redbro Cou Nu (red feathered naked neck) breed from France is being raised here as “Poulet Rouge Fermier.”  So they seem like the same breed, or at least similar.  I will have to talk to Sammy K. at New Town Farms to understand the distinction, but I’ll bet the chicken tastes great.  It’s rare to get a New Town Farms organic chicken since they’re usually spoken for by CSA customers, so treat yourself to one if you can.

New Town Farms Organic Poulet Rouge

New Town Farms Organic Poulet Rouge

Here are some more local chicken sources to try:

Baucom’s Best – Union County, N.C. (featured at Matthews & Cedar Walk)

I mentioned before that Baucom’s Best started producing chicken in late spring.  They have two kinds, both terrific:  the Premium Pasture and the House Special.  The Premium chickens are raised on pasture and given fresh green grass to forage everyday, supplemented by all-vegetable feed. As soon as they are old enough to leave the brood house, they live outside in the fresh air and sunshine. No animal by-products, antibiotics or growth hormones are added to their feed. Baucom’s Best House Special Chickens are fed an all-vegetable feed that is specially blended to meet their nutritional needs with no animal by-products, antibiotics or growth hormones. Chickens are humanely raised in the safety of a poultry house, where they have plenty of space to roam freely.  All of Baucom’s Best poultry is processed at a USDA Federally Inspected facility where they are cooled through the process of air-chilling, preserving the natural flavor of the meat and preventing the absorption of extra water and cross contamination. Baucom’s Best is available in a variety of different cuts such as boneless/skinless breast, thighs, drumsticks, buffalo wings and whole birds. They also have chicken backs and necks available for making stock.

Red Dirt Ranch – Ellenboro, N.C. (featured at Atherton Market)

This is a small family farm focused on pasture-raised poultry and eggs.  All birds have access to grass, bugs and sunshine. The meat birds are raised in pens that are moved twice a day to fresh ground. Laying flocks are free range in the winter and range fed in the summer.   The birds’ diet is supplemented by locally sourced grain.  While not certified organic, they do use organic practices.  Red Dirt Ranch offers whole birds, bone-in breasts, leg-thigh combo, wings, cornish game hens, broth backs, livers, eggs.

Windy Hill Farm – New London, N.C. (featured at Atherton MarketCharlotte Regional Farmers Market)

I’ve had Windy Hill Farm’s porkchops before, and they were delicious.  All of Windy Hill Farm’s animals are all-natural & pasture-raised. They have been “raised outdoors, on pasture, free to root, scratch, dig and forage for food.” They do not receive growth hormones or antibiotics. I haven’t had the chicken, but plan to try it soon.  They’re one of the providers who can get you a fresh chicken if you order ahead of time.  Most other farms bring the chicken frozen.  Windy Hill also offers pastured beef and pork.  Pre-orders for Thanksgiving turkeys are being taken through this Saturday, June 26.

Gilcrest Natural Farm – Iron Station, N.C. (featured at DavidsonCharlotte Regional Farmers Market)

Gilcrest Natural Farm is dedicated to producing high quality heirloom vegetables, pasture-raised chicken and beef, and free range eggs. They do not use any synthetic pesticides, growth stimulants, hormones or antibiotics on their pasture, gardens or for the livestock. Gilcrest Natural Farm offers pasture-raised chicken in the form of whole chickens, split breast, leg quarters, wing packs, necks and backs for stock, and livers.

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2 Responses to Fresh Focus: Eat More Chicken

  1. Ryan Joyce says:

    Unfortunately this is not the Poulet Rouge Fermier. Joyce Foods in Clemmons, North Carolina is the only producer of authentic Label Rouge chickens in North America. We import a breeder flock twice a year from France and raise these birds following the Label Rouge program. We process them in a USDA inspected facility. During a recent audit of our plant by The Steritech Group, an independent third party auditing firm, we achieved a Superior rating in Good Manufacturing Practices with a score of 95.9% and a score of 99.6% in Animal Welfare Practices. We believe our Animal Welfare score is the highest ever achieved by a poultry processor.

    The Good Manufacturing Practices covers all of our Ashley Farms, Tanglewood Farms, and Epicure Reserve products. The Animal Welfare Practices covers our Epicure Reserve products, which includes our Poulet Rouge Fermier (chicken), Poussin Rouge Fermier (poussin), Pintade Fermiere (French Guinea), and Faisan Fermier (Pheasant).

    These birds are humanely raised on our farms in houses that provide natural sunlight and ventilation and two to three times the space of commercial chickens. Strict attention is paid to the catching, loading and transporting of our birds, and our process insures the humane slaughter of every bird.

    We’ve found out there are a lot of farmers claiming they have the genetics of our breed and charge around the same price. Unfortunately, the consumer is paying a high price for an imitation breed, and most of the time these imitation birds are not processed under USDA inspection.

    • Ryan – Thanks for taking the time to comment on the Poulet Rouge Fermier breed. To be clear, New Town Farms said “Poulet Rouge” and “Redbro” and I inferred the connection to Poulet Rouge Fermier. We’ll encourage New Town Farms to respond per the distinction, if they wish. Please be careful about making broad statements that any local farms are not processing under USDA inspection rules unless you have hard evidence of specific cases.

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