Chickening Out

Finally the books I put on hold through the King County Library System came in: Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and The Joy of Keeping Chickens by Jennifer Lynn Megyesi. But there they sat on the hold shelf all week before a poor librarian had to reshelve them, probably muttering under his (or, more likely, her) breath. But what can I say? After talking chickens, researching chickens, visiting chickens, and whipping my children into a let's-get-chickens frenzy, my zeal has since evaporated. For two main reasons, really: (1) who is gonna build/buy the darned coop; and (2) chickens poop. I might have gotten over the former if everyone who had chickens or knew about chickens didn't feel compelled to warn me about the latter. My sister warned me. A friend's father who still suffers from chicken lung (!) warned me. A friend who currently has teenage chickens in her garage marveled at their output. Even Mr. Jay McPherson (see picture) of Tiny's Organic told me he moves his mobile chicken coops twice a day because "they make a real mess." And Tiny's has acres and acres to pasture those chickens out in East Wenatchee.

So no more chicken dreams for me. I'll continue getting my eggs at the Market, and I was always going to continue getting my chicken-for-consumption there, since, if I couldn't handle loads of chicken poop, I certainly wasn't going to try slaughtering and plucking some Buff Orpington my children had named.

Both the Thursday and Saturday markets will have frozen chicken available. Having visited Skagit River Ranch, I've personally seen their chickens and turkeys happily ranging and foraging, and I'm getting better at cutting up a whole chicken into parts. In addition to Skagit, Tiny's Organic is now offering their own free range organic chicken and turkeys, and their chicken is available whole or in packages of certain parts. While Skagit raises chickens in "classes," all one breed per class, so they can keep track of age, Tiny's offers your basic Cornish Cross. Jay reports that chicken sales have been so brisk that his brother is encouraging him to double the size of the operation, which sounds like a good idea to him, since Jay finds poultry more exciting than his father and sister's fruit-growing operation. As with Skagit, buyers can pre-order Thanksgiving turkeys when the season rolls around. Tiny's raises six heritage breeds which require six months to mature, rather than the typical three-month breed found in the supermarket. If you're interested in signing up for a Tiny's CSA, the deadline is approaching. The mid-season CSA in August will offer both produce and chicken. On the website you can also pre-order your chicken for pick-up at the Market. Easy peasy. No coop, no poop!

If any vegetarians are still reading this post, I do have some news tidbits that may be of greater interest:

  • Honeyoe strawberries are in at Hayton Farms. This early variety really does have a honey flavor. Leslie's personal favorites will be in in about three weeks.
  • Autumn Martin's Hot Cakes now offer some vegan options: a caramel sauce with coconut milk and a chocolate done with coconut and hemp milk! While I can't resist butter, I sampled the vegan options and found them very tasty.

That's it for this week! See you all again at the Thursday Market. As always, feel free to comment with news and tidbits.