This weekend, as is usual for me, I spent a fair amount of time dispensing advice and ideas on how to cook a chicken (pressure cooker! Dutch oven! Butterflied! Yogurt-marinated! I could go on ...) And, as I do most days, I spent some time considering the price of our chicken.
A big worry for Zack and I is that we are pricing out the lower-income consumers. This is not our intent, and is something we work to avoid. However, our profits are not very large, and we live on the margins, so we can't shave them too slim. With the food from Laughing Earth, you are paying closer to the full cost of your food than when you shop at the grocery store, which means the price tag is larger.
However, paying more per pound up front does not mean you're getting a worse deal. You get the flavor, the moist meat, the heart-warming experience of buying direct from the person who raised the animal. You get the option to take a walk in a beautiful place to visit the chickens while they are growing on pasture. You get the opportunity to ask the farmer for cooking advice when you buy it.
You also know that the people who process the chickens (the same as the people who raise them, on our farm!) have safe working conditions, and only perform the job for half a day every two weeks, reducing the risk for repetitive stress injury. They are not berated and threatened to encourage them to work faster.
Our farm is not perfect. We don't pay our employees as much as we would like to, and our pastures could be more diverse and fertile. But we are trying to acknowledge the downsides of meat eating, and trying to address those issues and reduce them.
So the next time you visit our farm or market stand and find yourself thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of money for chicken" ... think again. Your decision to purchase organic, small-scale, local chicken is helping to turn the tide away from human rights abuses in the poultry industry. It's also helping one family in your community to live their dream.