Monday, July 2, 2012

Factory Farm vs. Pastured Poultry: a Side-by-side Test!

We just had our first batch of pastured poultry processed this morning, and I was eager to try one side by side with a store-bought, factory-style chicken.  I must say, I was shocked at the difference; not so much in appearance, but in taste and texture.

I bought the smallest chicken our local Meijer store had, which was over 5 1/2 lbs.  Ours was about 3 1/2 lbs.  For the sake of giving you a true side-by-side comparison, I did not edit these photos in any way.

Store-bought on left, ours on right

In the roasting pan.  A little butter in the cavity along with some celery.  Sprinkled with salt and pepper...that's it!  Wanted to really taste the "chicken" flavor.

Our chicken, done!  Notice the beautiful, even browning on the skin and nice proportion of the legs to the breast.

Store-bought, done.  This bird has such huge breasts that the skin was split, leaving it to dry out during roasting.  Also notice how the whole bird seems puny compared to those giant breasts...I have no idea how that poor bird could even walk.  

I shredded a bit of breast meat from each bird to show the difference...ours on the left, store's on the right.

I think the most shocking difference to me was the difference in texture between the two birds.  The only way I can really describe it is that our pastured chicken had substance, where the factory-farmed bird mush.  See the difference in the photo above?  Now don't get me wrong...ours was not "tough" in any way.  Just a very satisfying meatiness.  The mushiness of the other bird struck me as seeming really unnatural.

And how about taste?  Ours was, once again, far superior.  About the only flavor present in the store bought chicken was the salt solution they get bathed in before packaging.  In fact, the breast meat closest to the bone in the middle of the bird pretty much had no flavor at all.  The pastured chicken, on the other hand, had a rich "chickennish" flavor all the way through, in both the white and dark portions.  

Hands down winner?  Our organic pastured poultry!  We'll be running another batch starting in August, so give some a try!


  1. Oh my word! You had me chuckling when you were talking about the chicken's "giant breasts". Just too funny :P Your chicken certainly DOES look tastier :)

    1. I made me giggle too:)

  2. What breed were you raising?