Pastured Chickens and Grass-Fed, Raw Milk from Family Friendly Farm

Hens on Pasture

Hens on Pasture at Family Friendly Farm

Last year, in an effort to stop buying store-bought, grain-fed animal products that promote Western diseases and inhumane treatment of animals, I searched for farms nearby to purchase products from.  While it wasn’t close,  Family Friendly Farm had an impressive array of products (grass-fed, raw milk, pastured chicken, eggs from pastured hens, pastured veal, and rabbit) that it produces, as well as additional products from surrounding farms, like sprouted grain breads, honey, cookies, and grass-fed beef. 

I was interested in the pastured chickens, which were allowed to roam outside in the sunshine, getting fresh air and exercise in uncrowded conditions, and to eat a varied diet of grasses, bugs, organic grains, and other natural foods chickens eat.  Because the animals are not in a stressful, crowded, factory-farm setting, eating an unnatural diet, the animals are healthy, so they don’t need antibiotics.  Also, there is no need for unethical industry standard practices, like debeaking and tail clipping (of the other animals).  In addition, all the animals are allowed to gain weight naturally without hormones or growth stimulants, like arsenic.  (How healthy can that arsenic be for the animal and the person eating it?)

Today, my husband and I drove down to Cape Girardeau to pick up the chickens I ordered.  The driveway by the farm’s store was full of cars, so parking was a little crowded.  Once we walked inside the old, white farmhouse, I recognized Rachel Fasnacht from her photo on the website, sitting behind the counter.  After I told her who I was, a friend and customer of Rachel’s, who lives nearby, took us out back to the processing area for the chickens.

The defeathered birds were in a big vat of ice water.  The kind woman showed me how the system worked.  She reached into the ice-cold water and pulled out a chicken, which still had it’s neck, and put it on a post to drain and to bag.  I bagged the birds and put the ties on while she picked out the chickens.  I offered to reach into the water, but she said she would finish the job.  After securing five bags, we put them on the scale and wrote down the weight.  Once we gathered up all the birds I ordered plus a few more and put them in the cooler, we went to pay for them.

The few eggs in one of the dairy cases were now gone, which was a disappointment.  Normally, the farm doesn’t run out, but it did today.  Kindly, the man who was purchasing the eggs, which he does weekly, asked if we wanted them.  Although we were grateful for the offer, we didn’t want to take his eggs.  However, there was a good supply of grass-fed, raw milk.  I’ve never had any before, so we purchased a half gallon.  (We just tried some.  It had a wonderfully rich flavor.  As my husband said, “It’s like eating Ted Drewes [frozen custard] without the added sugar.”)

We came home, and I immediately began preparing one of the fresh chickens for tonight’s dinner, one of our favorite chicken recipes Balsamic Roast Chicken.  The taste of the pastured chicken seemed more delicate than store-bought birds.  We greatly enjoyed it, and I even ate the skin, which in pastured animals, contains the healthy, disease-fighting fats.  (Don’t eat the skin of factory farm chickens because the fat is unhealthy due to the unnatural diet of the animals.)  Rachel has a section on the website “Why GRASSFED is best” talking about the health benefits of grass-fed and pastured animal products.

I wish the farm were a lot closer to us because I would be a frequent customer.  As it is, I can only make trips there on occasion.

It was nice meeting you, Rachel.  I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet your husband.  Thanks to you and your family for all you are doing to promote a healthy, ethical, humane environment for the animals and good, wholesome food for us!