Monday, August 9, 2010
Last week we harvested the 48 Freedom Ranger Label Rouge chickens. We picked them up from the processor on Friday, all but 2 frozen, and now they are in our freezer. They are sizable! Half of them, the hens, are between 3.5 and 5 pounds. The rest are between 5 and 6, with a few even topping 6 pounds
On Saturday night a few friends joined us to celebrate Cadence's last night before leaving for Mexico. We grilled the two fresh chickens, first tucking garlic cloves and thyme beneath the skin.
We were eager to compare these highly-acclaimed chickens with the heritage heavy-body broilers we raised last year. The verdict is: awesome! These chickens were meatier than most of last year's chickens (they grew much more slowly --after a full summer they only reached about 3.5 lbs.) Last year's chickens ranged far and wide, had very dark meat and and were very lean and muscular -- as one friend described it it, they were Lance Armstrong chickens. The Freedom Rangers had more couch potatos personalities and really enjoyed eating above all else. They did range freely, but only went as far as the close pastures, and sometimes you had to make them go out and play. They had the authentic farm-chicken taste but the meat was a bit more tender than last year's birds. They they grilled up picture-perfect (sorry, no photo!).
Our celebration dinner featured lots of yummy farm fare: squash blossoms stuffed with cream cheese and homemade pesto or roasted garden beets, then dipped in a light beer batter and deep-fried; tomato-basil salad with fresh, home-made mozzarella; strawberry ice cream (mozzarella and ice cream both courtesy of LaFonda and Cadence.) Delectable potato salad, key lime pie and wine brought by our guests rounded out a wonderful feast.
Nothing beats delicious; lovingly home-made and home-grown food, with dear friends, on a warm summer, evening under the stars.