We are very excited to announce that 2015 will see the inaugural season of our poultry CSA share, what we hope is the first of many! Our pastured poultry CSA share runs from May through December, and will consist of approximately 12 lbs. of meat per month, packaged as whole birds, for a total of approximately 100 lbs.
At Providence Farm, we raise exclusively heritage breeds of poultry. While I could write at length about how and why we have chosen these breeds (you can read more on our Why Heritage Breeds page), the long and short of it is that our heritage birds are healthier, livelier, and in the end just plain better tasting than any others you will find locally. Of this we are confident. Our slow-growing birds are raised on fresh pasture, allowed to forage freely and supplemented exclusively with non-GMO grains, and are processed in small batches on our farm. This ensures that the utmost care is taken from start to finish, resulting in a truly superior product.
The poultry share is designed for the adventurous eater and cook. By participating, you will receive a variety of poultry species in a variety of ages and sizes, giving you the opportunity to experience first-hand the seasonality of meat production and allowing you to consume poultry the way very few people can nowadays. Where once meat chickens were prepared using different methods at different times of the year to reflect the inherent differences in the birds, in today’s world of industrial sameness and cheap throwaway commodity chicken such differences no longer exist—except with our old-fashioned heritage breeds. Each month’s share will come complete with a newsletter containing information on the birds offered that month, photos, cooking tips, and other interesting info.
Why a CSA?
There are many advantages of the CSA model, a few of which we will briefly touch on. One, it facilitates seasonal production and consumption, which is the backbone of good land stewardship and sustainable farming, and consequently sustainable cultures and communities. This benefits everyone. Two, more directly, it is mutually beneficial for farmer and consumer alike. We, the farmers, get capital for our production up front, at the beginning of the season, allowing us to produce good food without going into debt and without the persistent worry of finding a market for our product. You, the consumer, are rewarded for your up front payment with a discount off the retail price, plus a discount on additional purchases at our market booth or from the farm. You also have the guarantee of good food and a darn good reason to expand your kitchen repertoire. Three, it gives the customer a direct connection to the farm, giving the customer a more in-depth look at how his or her food is raised, and facilitates a longstanding relationship between farmer and eater.
As often as possible, the offerings of any given month will be fresh, not frozen. This gives you the opportunity to prepare and consume a truly fresh meat product, as well as the option to freeze what you want for later use. Even for the items you freeze, we strongly recommend that you thaw and use them as soon as possible to experience the seasonal nature of the individual birds.
The CSA Season
The season starts in May with a share chock full of our tender and delicious poussin, or “spring chickens.” You can think of these as “Cornish hens,” though we prefer the French term to further differentiate them from what you’ll find at the supermarket. The poussin are 8 to 9 weeks in age and weigh approximately 1 lb. each, a comfortable serving size for an average adult.
In June the main batch of chickens will have grown a fair bit bigger, and the share will reflect this, with young “broilers” harvested at around 12 weeks of age and weighing in the ballpark of 2 lb. each. This terminology hearkens back to the days prior to the advent of industrial chicken production when birds of this age were deemed perfect for hot, fast cooking under the broiler or on the grill.
By July the chickens will be at their peak of growth, the optimal time for processing. These would be best known as “fryers,” and will weigh in at around 3 lb. each at 16 to 18 weeks of age. As now is summer grilling season, we will also include a few more of our poussin to round out the share.
The chickens in the August share will be “fryers” as in the month before. But we’ll finally be able to add some species variety by including a couple of pond-raised Muscovy ducks in the mix. Muscovies are known for their rich dark meat, more akin to beef than poultry.
The September chickens will be “fryers” once again. Though we doubt you’ll get tired of these delicious birds, we’ll throw in something unique to keep things interesting. We’ll make no guarantees at the outset, but if all goes to plan this will be a couple of guinea fowl, a bird indigenous to Africa and commonly eaten in France and Britain. Guineas are similar to chickens but with more dark meat and a richer, fuller flavor reminiscent of game birds.
By October colder weather will be on its way, and the month’s share will reflect this. The chickens will be large birds known as “roasters,” processed at 20 or more weeks of age and weighing in at 4 to 5 lb. each. These make a great centerpiece for a belly-filling autumn meal. The share will be rounded out by a couple of stewing hens, retirees from our egg-laying flock, which are delicious in slow-cooked dishes like chicken and dumplings.
November’s share will consist entirely of one of our beautiful, old-fashioned, slow-growing heritage breed turkeys. These are the birds of yesteryear and are about as far from a Butterball as one can get. You’ll never look at turkey the same way again.
What better way to celebrate in December than with a pasture-raised heritage goose as the centerpiece to an old-fashioned Dickensian Christmas? If you’re not feeling up to roasting a goose, we will be more than happy to substitute a turkey, a couple of big roasting chickens, or even a larger drake duck, subject to availability (though, naturally, we’d love for you to try the goose). Depending on the size of the goose, the remainder of the share will be filled by your choice of chicken (poussin, broilers, fryers, or roasters).
Thus ends the poultry CSA season. We will aim to keep our freezers full of chickens and other poultry through the winter, to keep us selling until the first batch of the next spring is ready, and because we’re confident that after a few months of eating our delicious slow-growing heritage birds you’ll be rather reluctant to go back to whatever you were eating before.
The chart below displays approximate amounts and weights received per month. The numbers in parenthesis are the number of individual birds of each offering.
|Bird #1||Lb.||Bird #2||Lb.||Total Lb.|
|August||Fryer (2)||6||Duck (2)||8||14|
|September||Fryer (2)||6||Guinea (2)||5||11|
|October||Roaster (2)||8||Hen (2)||4||12|
Cost & Pickup Time
Cost for the poultry share is $475.00 for approximately 100 lbs. of poultry meat. That’s 15% off the retail price of the component items purchased separately. In addition, by becoming a CSA member you receive 10% off all additional poultry purchases from our farmers market booth or from the farm. Though the first CSA pickup isn’t until May, the farm work and expenses will start by March at the latest. Therefore, we respectfully ask for at least half payment by March 15th, with the balance due by the May pickup, though we can work with you on a payment schedule if need be.
Please make checks payable to:
5147 Pleasant Hill Rd.
Seymour, MO 65746
Pickup is the first Saturday of each month, at our booth at Farmers Market of the Ozarks, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.