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Why Free-Range & Organic Chicken?

B rowsing the poultry section at your local supermarket, you're likely to see labels boasting “free roaming” and “all natural” chicken. But don't be fooled by these marketing ploys: the USDA does not recognize these terms as official classifications. Most chicken producers do not share our passion for ensuring quality and so resort to these misleading labels.

What is organic chicken? What is free range chicken?

At D'Artagnan we are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality meat and poultry available. We don't hide behind flimsy marketing. Instead, we establish lasting partnerships with farmers to ensure that we can offer products that meet our high standards. In fact, we were among the first to promote organic and free range chicken even before the USDA offered such designations.

It's a sad fact that conditions in conventional chicken farms are epidemically inhumane and unsustainable. These farms use cheap feed and cramped conditions to boost efficiency, allowing farmers to produce chicken en masse. Because of selective breeding, their chickens grow quickly and are usually ready at the 5-6 week mark (roughly half the time it takes an organic chicken to grow). The meat on their bodies grows disproportionately faster than their bone structures, sometimes resulting in chickens that are too weak to support their own weight. Often, these chickens are confined to spaces no larger than a standard sheet of computer paper for most of their lives.

At D'Artagnan we believe this is simply not an ethical, nor effective way to produce quality food. We are proud to support farmers who are committed to masterful and responsible animal husbandry because it yields the best product in the most humane fashion.

Reared in the bucolic setting of Pennsylvania Dutch country, all of our chicken meet the USDA standards for organic and free range certification. For a chicken to be certified as “organic” it must be fed only organic grains, chlorine-free spring water, and no genetically modified organisms (GMOS), animal by products, protein supplements, growth hormones, tranquilizers or antibiotics. The USDA's “free-range” designation requires that chicken be allowed to reach the minimum age of 8 weeks and that it forage freely, with access to the outdoors and natural light. Also, the chicken must be housed in a shelter that affords 1.5 square feet per bird.

We are happy to promote this method of chicken rearing because we know it results in a healthier, leaner and better tasting bird. Our organic free range chicken have a rich, buttery and savory taste with a distinct texture that you’re bound to enjoy. We recommend preparing a traditional coq au vin or chicken and tarragon. But no matter how you prepare our organic free range chicken you will be supporting humane, sustainable and high quality food.