Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2008 Spring Chicken CSA Newsletter #1

We hope the chickens found you well. It was great meeting everyone and seeing people again from last year.

This flock went through some cold weather but had plenty of fresh green clover to munch on. We grazed them over some of our vegetable fields where clover was planted as a cover crop, and the manure will help to fertilize the summer crops. Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen. We follow organic standards and do not harvest produce from a field where raw manure has been applied for 90 days for produce not in contact with the ground (such as tomatoes) and 120 days for produce touching the ground (such as lettuce).

We have assurances from the processor they will let us know which ones have giblets and which ones don't for next time. Other than that they always do a great job of making the bird look nice and always give us a good product.

Joann and I usually eat one bird per flock just to see how it tastes and whether it's any different from one batch to another. We were happy with this one. We hadn't had much chicken at all since our last flock of Cornish Rocks last fall (other than a couple stewers that made some excellent soup). But this one we found to be nice and juicy like they usually are.

We grilled a whole bird this time. We have a fairly large charcoal grill we acquired from craigslist, so usually we'll make a fire inside the grill out of hardwoods, let the embers die down, put the chicken on and cover it. This is how we cook most of our meat. It's great if you like that smoked flavor.

This time the rain killed the possibility of my finding any dry wood (I need to make a stack and cover it one of these days), so we bought a medium sized bag of charcoal (the plain stuff, not matchlight). I pile the coals on one side and put the chicken on the other side and cover for indirect grilling. It takes us about 75-90 minutes for a 4 lb bird depending on how hot the grill is.

I clean the bird out (the one we kept for us had giblets, which went to the dogs) (be sure to always clean out whole birds with water, just like you would with a thanksgiving turkey). Patted dry with paper towels, rubbed it with olive oil, then with a spice rub I made inside and out. I never keep measurements for my rubs, just add the stuff to taste, but this time I used garlic powder, basil, thyme, savory, cayenne pepper, salt, fresh ground black pepper. Although, the good thing about this chicken is that it doesn't need much spice if you prefer. Salt and pepper is fine and it tastes good on its own.

Next pickup date

Your next batch will be processed the week of April 28, so here are the pickup dates. Please come to the location you signed up for or let us know in advance if you want to switch this time:
  • Wednesday April 30, Carrboro Market, 3:30pm-6:30pm
  • Thursday May 1, RTI Dreyfus Lot, 4pm-6pm
  • Saturday May 3, Carrboro Market, 7am-12noon

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