Buy Local Poultry - It's Worth The Price
At $6 per pound for a Freedom Ranger chicken or $10 per pound for a heritage turkey, you get what you pay for: healthy good meat that is full of natural flavor. Yet the price of poultry like that from Tejas Heritage Farm reflects so much more than just its flavor: It reflects the animal’s welfare, the humane treatment, the many months it took to raise the poultry naturally, the certified-organic feed to supplement its pasture diet—not to mention the labor-intensive process involved with butchering birds individually and by hand. Local chefs Chris Shepherd, Justin Yu and Adam Dorris wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Fully grown Tejas Heritage Farm’s White Muscovy ducks routinely make it to Pax Americana, where Chef Adam Dorris utilizes the whole bird in a variety of preparations. “We render the fat for multiple applications, use all the bones for stock and make sauces with the offal. David’s product is far superior to most fowl I have used. It makes the cost secondary to the quality of the product,” says Chef Dorris.
“Having a tasting menu allows me to use all of the bird, which is typically very important to us,” says Oxheart’s Chef Justin Yu. “Right now we are using the guinea hens, which we debone and portion straight away. We stuff the meat with rice and collard greens, and use the carcass for stock,” Yu has been buying whole birds from Tejas Heritage Farm weekly ever since he opened his little gem on Nance Street. “David’s birds get a lot of freedom and the best possible food, and you can taste it in the meat. It is full of flavor and has an incredible texture,” says Chef Yu.
When poultry arrives at Underbelly, Chef Chris Shepherd usually ages them in the chiller first: “We have adapted Peking-style for most of our birds, by which we inflate the skin off of the meat and then air-dry the birds in the cooler for up to two weeks before we use them. This intensifies the flavor in the meat and dries the skin so it becomes crispier.”
Chef Shepherd raves about Glover’s poultry: “The quality in his birds is impeccable. It should be the standard for which we look at poultry. The care put into the birds, the way they are handled and treated, the way they are packaged, the quality of the meat, the flavor—it’s second to none. It’s to the point that we traditionally have a standing order with David: We’ll take what he has—whatever it is—when he has it. I once needed ducks for a party, and he gave me the best answer I’ve ever heard from a farmer. I asked him how many he had. His answer: ‘They’re all out on the pond. I can go out and try to count them if you’d like.’”
To learn more about Heritage Fowl, read our feature story Bird of a Heritage Feather by Francine Spiering