Our pastured broiler chickens have been dispatched to the Great Beyond.
It was our second go at both Broiler-Raising and Broiler-Butchering and it must be said that we’ve dramatically improved on both accounts. This batch of chickens, grown big and strong on pasture, was a fierce lot of birds. They were robust. They were thriving on abundant sunshine, grass, fresh air. And they were dispatched with the same reverence with which they were raised.
The deliberate action of taking responsibility for the raising and killing of 70-odd birds was not one that we took lightly, and the 2-day-long process offered plenty of time for introspection. It was a gift, really, to be smacked in the face with the brutal reality of our survival, to see this link of the food chain under a microscope. To see the consequences of our food choices for what they are, unfiltered by the veil of grocery store packaging. To witness firsthand the transformation of our food from vibrant animal to ‘meat’ without the editing out of the blood, the feathers, the offal. We make choices everyday in what we choose to put into our bodies, and our choice to sustain ourselves and our children with meat in addition to vegetables and grains is one we make unapologetically. To be able to personally accept the responsibility for this choice is a privilege; we are blessed with land and ample resources to sustain a modest portion of our food chain. We nourish the pasture with our grazing animals, cycling the fruits of the soil through those who eat of the earth back again. Witnessing this symbiotic loop of nourishment is one of the greatest rewards we reap, a spiritual source for sustenance that complements perfectly the sustainable nature of our physical sustenance.
Just when I felt as if I had wrapped my brain around all of this, understood better the implications of our choices, the first of our customers began arriving to pick up the birds they had reserved. Transferring the chilled birds from the cooling tank to vacuum-sealed bags, into the hands of some of our closest friends, I glimpsed a view of a much bigger picture. I was able to witness the service we were able to provide to these friends, taking responsibility for a portion of their food as well as our own. They were ecstatic, radiantly grateful for the opportunity to source clean food aligned with their own food values. And in their hometown. Clean, green, local. I can’t begin to express how satisfying it is on so many levels to be able to provide this for our own family, much less the families of many others.