The pasture-raised chicken operation at Dan Boffo and Kristen Kilfoyle’s farm in Newport, New Hampshire

It’s that time of the year again…chicken season!

Chicken is the most popular meat in the US–in fact, it recently surpassed beef for the first time in over 100 years.  Unfortunately, our chicken is only available seasonally…but we promise it’s worth the wait!  And there is an important reason why it’s not available in January.

Walden chicken is pasture-raised—meaning the birds are raised outdoors in movable open air shelters (note that this is very different from the term “cage-free”). However, winter temperatures and snowfall (especially in New England!) mean barren land. Although hens can lay eggs in movable winter hoop houses, we want our broiling chickens to grow up with full access not just to soil, but also to living pasture. We let them develop at their natural pace—unlike several store brands that use antibiotics and other additives to encourage faster growth. 

Why do we care so much about the pasture? In short, pastured chickens are happier, healthier, and tastier. “Pastured” is the latest of several poultry terms striving to close loopholes to sustainable, humane farming. For example, the term “free-range” intended to allow chickens “access to the outdoors” and move away from factory farming. Yet, beneath these surface intentions are a plethora of loopholes left to be interpreted by the farmer. Many well-intentioned commercial scale operations use free-range in good conscience. Others slap a “chicken door” on the side of a 100 foot-long warehouse to allow chickens a few square feet of dirt.

Pasture raising chickens has been shown to decrease bacteria content and increase Omega-3 fatty acids—specifically Eicosapentaenoic acid. These compounds are at the forefront of health supplements such as fish oils, and play an important role in regulating metabolism and lowering inflammation. And the chickens are eating them as a result of a more varied diet that contains forages grasses and insects. 

We believe this is the best method for all involved (the chickens, and you too) and it also happens to produce the tastiest chickens that are well worth the wait.

For more on the science, see here or here.

To try some of this elusive chicken, sign up for your own share!