Updated: Jan 28, 2019
Is there truly local pasture raised chicken available in the winter where you live? If you live in the Northeast, local chicken that is truly pasture raised will come frozen and not fresh...Why, you ask?
As a pasture based livestock farm operating in the Northeastern United States, the four Seasons dictate our farming cycles. Revving up in the spring, peaking in the summer, slowing in the fall and resting (sort of) in the winter. It's this cycle that has us hustling and bustling to make sure we do everything we can to get ready for the inevitable "lean time" we call winter. During winter we don't raise any chicken at all!
Why don't we raise chicken in the winter?
We would love the luxury of raising our Certified Organic pasture raised chicken all year round, however due to the four seasons we must raise ALL years worth of chicken during spring, summer and fall, because the pastures would be quickly ruined in the attempt to raise
chicken in the winter on the pasture. We work with nature in our farming practices, and during the winter the pasture needs to rest. Truly sustainable pastured raised chicken in the winter is unheard of if you live in the Northeast USA.
What is truly pasture raised Chicken?
Our definition of truly pasture raised chicken from our own research, experience and practices, is that the chicken is raised in a divers sustainable way on open air pastures while foraging the ground of bugs and vegetation. The pasture then takes on the chicken manure as nitrogen and uses it to continue to grow thick healthy that will provide the needs of more diverse bugs and other grazing animals. All working together symbiotically.
In the winter, the ground rests. The grass is not actively growing in a way to keep up with grazing animals. it's not taking in as much nutrients. It's dormant. While the grass is dormant it is impossible to successfully raise chicken the same as we do in the spring, summer and fall. If you find "Fresh Pasture Raised Chicken" during the winter in the Northeast then that chicken is either not local or most likely not raised sustainably.
But, What happens to all the animals during the winter? Good question! We ONLY raise our chicken during spring, summer and fall and hope that we raised enough to last the majority of the winter. We put the larger animals on what we call "sacrificial paddocks" outside. We feed the ruminate animals Certified Organic hay all winter until they are let back out on actively growing sustainable pasture come spring again.
This is what it takes to work with nature in the Northeast when producing grass fed meat as a pasture based livestock local sustainable farm. We are so fortunate to have the local supports and customers who understand this cycle.
We do offer our seasonal chicken in our farm shop all year round! You will find it frozen during the winter, and fresh during the spring, summer and fall as we
process it each week on our farm! There is nothing fresher or tastier than if you did it yourself!