I have often been asked about the cost of shopping only at farmer’s markets and local farms, versus shopping in the grocery store. I have not kept track of the difference, but I decided to pay more attention. Prior to my No Grocery Store Challenge, I bought prepackaged chicken breasts, some bone in, skin on, some boneless and skinless, and some tenders. Now I just buy whole chickens, even though you can now get parts from Smith and Smith. I hated dealing with the whole chicken at first, but since I’ve gotten addicted to making stock, the whole chicken is essential.
On Thursday, I roasted a chicken, for dinner, and to fuel my addiction to making stock. This large chicken was $16.00 from Smith and Smith Farms. I have not bought chicken at the grocery store in over a year, but someone told me you can get a whole chicken for $5.00. The thought of how a $5.00 chicken might have been raised, in a commercial feed lot, or in total darkness, possibly beakless, and most likely modified to grow really fast in a short period of time, doesn’t make it worth the $11.00 difference for me.
I know how my $16.00 Smith and Smith Farms chicken was raised, in a pasture, free to roam and forage until its last day. I’ve seen pictures of these chickens in their habitat, and speak to the family who raises them at least once a week, sometimes twice, at the SFC Farmer’s Market downtown and at the Triangle. They are lovely people and their chicken and eggs are delicious.
These last few days, of making the most of my one chicken, I have felt a certain amount of respect for the bird that lost its life so that I could eat. And I think I have made the most of that one chicken.
First meal, dinner of roasted chicken.
The next night, I stayed in and made a big bowl of chicken noodle soup, with the stock I’d made the night before, some shredded chicken, and Sweetish Hill Pasta. I forgot to take a picture of the soup. It was pretty boring to look at, but was delicious.
For dinner Saturday night, I defrosted some of the Tomato, Basil Pasta Sauce I made in the Spring, when tomatoes and basil were in season. I don’t remember what kind of tomatoes they were. I chopped up some of the chicken and tossed that into the heated sauce with some Vodka (why not?). I let that simmer until the pasta was done, then tossed it all together with some parmesan. (Pasta was from Pasta & Co. from the downtown farmer’s market.)
This was delicious, and there were leftovers, which will make a quick reheated fast meal.
On Sunday, I made chicken salad with the remainder of the salad. Chopped chicken, local pecans, garden tarragon, a leek from the farmer’s market, and some yogurt from Sand Creek Farm at the downtown farmer’s market, over garden lettuce.
So, there is still stock left from this chicken, and one meal in the freezer. That makes a minimum of 5 meals from one $16.00 chicken, so I feel pretty good about that.
I watched the Chefography edition on Nigella Lawson, recently and found it interesting that something she learned from her mother, and still does today, is that she roasts 2 chickens at once – one for dinner, and the other to put in the fridge for eating as leftovers. She did this in college and her friends remembered her always having chicken in the fridge to eat cold.
Something that had not occurred to me, that I heard at the market yesterday from a person buying chicken stock from the Smiths, is that consuming chicken stock is really good for your cartilage. I didn’t know this and will look into it. It makes sense to me!
Today is the 388th day that I have not shopped at the grocery store. Still don’t miss it one bit.