Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Bought a $22 Chicken

In an effort to support local agriculture and humane farming practices, I bought a free-range, organically-fed-with-non-GMO ingredients, stress-free, hand-raised by Democrats, happy up until the moment of its no doubt bloody slaughter $22 chicken at last Saturday's Farmers Market.




For a five-pound chicken!

When the local farmer plunked the chicken down on the table and asked me to fork over the cash, I couldn't say no. He'd just spent ten minutes describing his superlative farming practices, having his happy customers regale me with their satisfaction, and warning me of the dangers of GMO feed. Did I mention he tried to convince me to buy a $6 carton of eggs? The least I could do was buy his bloody chicken.

But I wasn't--and am not--happy about it. First, on a closer at-home inspection of the chicken's label, it appears that the packing of said chicken occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Which means someone drove that carcass all the way up to Kentucky and back to have it wrapped in plastic. I'm pretty sure I didn't do the environment any favors there.

Second--and I know this is sacrilege to some--BUT THE CHICKEN TASTED ABOUT THE SAME AS A PERDUE CHICKEN. I admit--my tastebuds may be dead. But my family didn't notice any significant difference, either. So any increase in the value or worth of the chicken is, seemingly, invisible to the consumer footing the bill.

Third, a conventionally raised chicken of similar shape and size would cost about $7.00. Spending an extra $15 on a five-pound chicken is just plain foolish when worthy causes like UNICEF; literacy campaigns; and the Red Cross are crying out for financial support. Better to donate the money and insist that conventional farmers engage in better and more benign farming practices than support an inefficient, insupportably expensive local farming process.

This Saturday, I'll be back at the Farmer's Market. I'll buy bread and vegetables and maybe some flowers. I'll enjoy the experience.

But--believe you me--I won't be buying any chickens.


AppyLove said...

I just watched the first twenty minutes of Food, Inc. while visiting a friend's classroom the other day. Perdue plays a sinister role, of course. But I'm equally bothered by the organic bandwagoning of the farmer you wrote about. Did you tell him you have chickens yourself?

Also, the Costa Rica shots look amazing. We'd like to go there next time we take a big vacation.

500Jerk said...

I'll have to look at Food, Inc. Been meaning to do that. (First, I need to learn how to turn on the television.) I DID tell the farmer we have our own chickens, and then he tried to sell me some non-GMO feed for $25.

When you get ready to go to Costa Rica, let me know and I can tell you some good spots.

gracenov said...

Did it taste any better?

500Jerk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
500Jerk said...

Although I guess if I had done a side-by-side taste comparison I might have noticed a difference, but really, the $22 chicken tasted like . . . regular ole $7 chicken.

Now that big side dish of buyer's remorse, THAT? Was something new and not so tasty.