Poultry Purchase Program Now Available at Organic Farm School

White meat eaters can feast on avian “field workers” as part of an ongoing breeding program at the Organic Farm School.

The educational organization located near Clinton offers its stock of broilers to buy for a chicken dinner. The birds are raised on pasture, moved daily, and on a soy and corn free diet.

The chickens, which are of the Freedom Ranger breed, also played a vital role in the upkeep of the school farm. They make a living by providing fertilizer and pest control, and are affectionately referred to as “field workers”.

In addition, the hens bring an educational component to the table of the students of the farm-school.

“It’s a way for us to be really intentional with them and their lives,” said Shannon Waller, a student. “We raise them as soon as they are babies and have special homes for them at every stage and monitor their food intake. “

And when the birds have reached maturity, they are eaten by the students.

As part of their education, student breeders learn how to dress chickens. Judith Feldman, executive director of the Organic Farm School, said it is essential that all farmers learn this skill. Even if they plan to strictly have laying hens, in the event of death it is a good idea to have a back-up plan.

“This is an important part of becoming a farmer – you just have to know that if you are going to use these animals for the benefit of your soil and crops, you have to know how to treat their deaths with dignity and use it,” he said. she declared.

The students harvest the chickens on the day they are to be picked up by customers.

“They have a lot of really wonderful days and a really bad one,” Feldman said of the chickens. “But it’s done just as quickly and also ethically and painlessly, both for them and for the students.”

Ethan Zierke, another student, agreed.

“It really is a time of wakefulness and awakening for many of us who eat meat regularly,” he said.

The next batch of birds will be ready for the plate in about five to six weeks. Customers can book online at Organicfarmschool.org/chicken. A deposit of $ 16.50 on the chicken must be made in advance. The price is $ 5.50 a pound and the size of the birds ranges from five to seven pounds. The total price will be paid upon pick-up.

In addition, customers can buy hearts, gizzards, livers or legs of the chickens.

Feldman has estimated that there will be around 140 birds available for purchase. Since the students are doing all the harvesting, all the customer has to do is bring the meat home.

When cooking, Zierke said that the simpler recipes are the best, especially for this breed of bird.

“With chicken, people tend to want to add tons of spices and fat,” he said. “These chickens have so much flavor in themselves that a simple roast chicken is super good.”

The organic farm school follows regenerative practices.

“This farm still needs a lot of work to become truly regenerative and resilient as we want it to be,” said Feldman. “It gets better every year and a big part of it is having cattle on the farm because they cycle the nutrients for us. ”

She added that theirs isn’t the only breeding program on Whidbey. Kevin Dunham raises turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. Cory Fakkema butchers and sells cattle, lambs and pigs. Mark and Melissa Stewart also sell chickens and turkeys.

“All of these people are a very important part of our food system,” Feldman said.

Reservations can be made online to secure a chicken for the next harvest. (Photo by Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

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