Time seems to have flown by since we started doing these seasonal newsletters in 2020, can you believe we are already up to Autumn 2022. We are pleased to report that thankfully the weather has set us up for another wonderful season. We are incredibly grateful that these heavy rainfalls haven’t done any damage to us, or the chickens and we are sending all our well wishes to those currently affected by the floods. So, what’s been happening with us? Around this time last year, we were very appreciative that Feather and Bone Providores (wonderful supporters of ours) brought their entire team up from Sydney for a farm visit to get a detailed insight into what we do here. So, when the opportunity arose for us to do the same with The Zin House team we enthusiastically said yes.
The Zin House is a fabulous restaurant in Mudgee, that we have provided chicken to since 2017. Eating at The Zin House is always a special experience, its nestled within the gorgeous views of Lowe’s vineyard and of course the food is absolutely divine. They have always been a wonderful supporter of the values we like to live by, choosing to use local and ethically produced food. So, it was absolutely no surprise that they wanted to do a farm visit to see what we do. It’s always a great opportunity to get to show people how we do things, they not only got to see the chickens out in the open in their grassy box gum woodlands, but they also got to see our breeding program and processing facilities. Thank you so much Zin House for your ongoing commitment of supporting local farmers, we love what you do! The teaching opportunities this Autumn didn’t stop there, we have also been grateful for Tempe Cropper who briefly joined our team. Tempe is a vet student from Wagga University, who chose to do one of her placements with us. It is always wonderful getting to see our right-hand Kaitlyn Budd in her element, and she truly was mentoring Tempe.
Instead of a recipe this time round we thought we’d switch it up and do an instructional video about how to break down a chicken. We think knowing how to cut up a whole bird is an incredibly useful skill for so many reasons. First and foremost, we believe consuming the whole animal is the most ethical way to go. There is a growing movement of late, where the consumer is starting to negotiate more equitable and sustainable ways to consume meat and navigate the cost of industrialised production. And for us the clearest pathway seems to be following these two steps; one consciously choosing where your food comes from and two leaving nothing to waste. If you pick and choose popular portions from butchers and supermarkets, it begs the question what happens to the rest and whose responsibility is it to make sure it’s not wasted? A lot of butchers rather than purchasing whole carcases and breaking it down to resell take the safer route and purchase “boxed meat” which generally is the popular cuts already broken down and wrapped in plastic. And like a social media algorithm, every time you “click on”/purchase these cuts you are reinforcing the supply of this portion and potentially narrowing the range of your future available choices. One of our favourite quotes from Laura Dalrymple and Grant Hilliard’s book The Ethical Omnivore is “You are not just buying a product; you’re casting a vote for a production system and the sort of world in which you want to live”. If you’d like to learn more about this, we highly recommend checking out their book.
Using the whole animal is not just beneficial to the collective, there are also so many positives to you the individual. It is a much more cost-effective way to purchase meat as those popular cuts often have a large mark-up. Also purchasing the whole bird spreads the cost as you get so many more meals out of it. Before the meat bird industry started importing cheap fast-growing breeds (check out our Summer 2022 newsletter to learn more), chicken used to be considered a luxury, so nothing was wasted. Meaning there are some really delicious recipes out there. Offal used to be a household staple with wonderful pates, stir-frys and broths. If you are looking for a recipe there is a great hearts and liver bolognese recipe in The Ethical Omnivore. Not only are these underused parts yummy, but they are also good for us, chocked full of the right vitamins for our bodies. Our last selling point is despite what people might think, it is actually super easy to do. We have posted the video of Bryan cutting up the chook to our Instagram – click this link to check it out (https://www.instagram.com/tv/CcmANTIpoSf/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=)
Kim and Bryan Kiss, Grassland Poultry