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Local Farm-to-Table Chicken vs. Fast Food Chicken

Freshly packaged chickens from triple Strand Ranch!

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

- Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

The quote above was said by a Dutch philosopher in the 1500’s. It is generally believed that he drew inspiration from a statement made in the 4th or 5th century CE. Needless to say, this concept has been understood for an incredible amount of time. The phrase can be interpreted in several ways. This can generally be understood, however, as a predecessor to the '“big fish in a little pond” cliché. It’s easy to be great when the subject is surrounded by substandard examples of itself.

We can see countless examples of this concept in the kitchen. Free-ranged eggs from the grocery store are better than the cheaper eggs beside them. Backyard eggs that aren’t raised on pasture are better still. Eggs from chickens that have been truly free-ranged on pasture, raised on quality feed, and that are hormone and antibiotic-free, are the best. These variations in quality make a significant difference to any dish. They also impact our health.

Examples of the health benefits of eggs from naturally-raised chickens, when compared to mass produced eggs:

• Less cholesterol

• Less saturated fat

• More Omega-3s

• More vitamins B, D, and Beta-carotene

While backyard chicken eggs are usually better than the eggs one would buy from the store, they aren’t always as good as they could be. Chickens are what they eat, so if they're fed low-quality feed and aren't given the opportunity to pursue natural forage, they won't produce the highest quality egg.

Some people accept substandard foods, and that’s OK. Those that don’t cook at home, for example, aren’t likely to scrutinize the ingredients in the meal from the local restaurant. This is inevitably a coping mechanism. We might never eat out if we thoroughly looked over the items on our plates at our favorite eateries. Most of these establishments don’t limit their products to fresh, all-natural ingredients. How could they? They would likely go broke if they weren’t charging fine dining prices.

Consider KFC as an example of this. One franchisee claims to have used and sold 32 whole chickens on a busy day. Other reports show sales much higher than this. There are approximately 23,000 KFC locations in the world. Assuming chickens are selling for .80 cents per pound wholesale (, that would cost KFC nearly $600,000 every day to buy chicken. Chickens grown like the healthy one in the scenario above command a much higher price. Red Rangers, for example, typically sell for $6.50 per lb for whole processed birds. If KFC bought that quality, without incorporating wholesale costs that would be unattainable from small and manageable farms, it would cost them $4.8 million per day just to buy the chicken.

This information changes the way we see our food. KFC doesn’t get chicken for .80 per lb due to their merit. They pay that price because that is what the chicken is worth. The intent of this article is not to diminish the public image of KFC or similar establishments. It is important, though, to fully understand what we’re eating. When buying ingredients, we typically get what we pay for. While most of us seem to enjoy fried chicken, that doesn’t necessarily mean that these fast food restaurants use the best ingredients, they simply make chicken that we enjoy eating.

The ingredients we use are of the utmost importance if we’re attempting to prepare the best dish possible, but it isn’t the only way to ensure success. As with life in general, we get what we give. Buying fast-food fried chicken may satisfy us, but chicken that has to be properly tended for 5 hours is going to induce a much more memorable experience, for example.

Comparing a meal from KFC to one produced following hours of concerted effort in the pursuit of chicken bliss is silly. Fast food chicken exists in the land of the blind. It only has to be slightly less substandard than the other chicken establishments. The quality of the meal is better if the better ingredient is purchased, and the effort given is an investment in the result. When you pay for the best ingredients around, and you devote yourself to creating the best dish that you possibly can, then you will have no interest in being the one-eyed king. You will be the king or queen of your own temple, and you will help your loved ones rule theirs as well.


chicken fast food healthy eating organically natural farm to table farm fresh

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