Where to Buy Free-Range Chickens

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

France's Bresse chickens are not exported to the United States, but an American version of the breed, Heritage Blue Foot Chicken, is available in frozen form by mail order from D'Artagnan, a purveyor of free-range, organic and heritage meats. (They're $21 for a 31/4- to 4-pound bird at www.dartagnan.com.)

For those who would rather buy local, perfectly delicious free-range organic chickens are available at Washington area farmers markets or can be bought directly from producers and at some large grocery stores.

Regular meat eaters might want to become a member of Polyface Farm's buying club. Polyface is in Swoope, Va., 150 miles south of Washington, but you can pre-order by e-mail and pick up meat every six weeks at designated locations closer to the city. (For more information, visit www.polyfacefarms.com or call Joel and Teresa Salatin at 540-885-3590.)

Large food stores also offer viable options. Whole Foods Market sells its own brand of all-natural chickens for $2.29 per pound and Bell and Evans organic chickens for $3.29 a pound. The distinction they make is that the former is grain-fed and the latter grass-fed. Both are antibiotic- and growth hormone-free and are never shipped frozen.

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