Chicken is chicken. Or is it?

Humans have been consuming chicken since time immemorial. Historians have recorded artifacts dating the consumption of chicken in the Mediterranean from as early as 800 BC. Ancient recipes have been found that include cooking chickens with lizard fat. The Romans ate chicken cooked with wine and rose petals. How about chicken with bees? My, how things have changed. Or have they?

We still eat some creative chicken favorites. Chicken fettuccini, chicken fricassee, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, teriyaki chicken, chicken cordon bleu, barbecue chicken, chicken masala… And we’re eating it for the same reasons our ancestors did. It’s a sustainable, lean meat that makes great, good tasting dishes. And it makes us FEEL good.. But have we ever stopped to question why it affects us the way it does? And why, when chicken is everywhere, should we stick with Earth Fare’s chicken?

What’s So Good About Chicken?

It’s easy to dismiss chicken as “just chicken,” but it is a uniquely good food. According to nutritional research, chicken is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that can boost serotonin levels in your brain. And eating lean meats like chicken and turkey not only aid in weight control, they can also reduce stress and help you sleep. Chicken is also a low-fat protein, so it helps you build strong muscles without the heart disease risks associated with some high fat diets. It’s got selenium, which is anti-carcinogenic, and it’s also full of B vitamins which are responsible for metabolism as well as healthy blood cells.

There’s Good Chicken and There’s…The Other Stuff

Let’s not assume that all chicken is as good as the next. Delicious meat isn’t solely dependent on the way it’s prepared, it’s dependent on where it came from - the way it was treated, the quality of the food and water it was fed, the cleanliness of the environment where it was raised.

Earth Fare understands these basic tenets of healthy, humanely raised meat. That’s why Earth Fare sources its chicken from the most trusted producers in the industry. And how does Earth Fare know their producers can be trusted?

The Earth Fare Food Philosophy and the Farmers We Trust

The American Humane Association, once called the Free Farmed Program, is an organization that ensures that farms raising animals for consumption meet “science-based animal welfare standards.” Farms that meet these standards are given an American Humane Certified stamp of approval. In the poultry industry, this stamp verifies that chickens never eat feeds containing animal byproducts. It verifies that birds live uncaged in barns with access to the outdoors where they can engage in normal bird-like behaviors by nesting, dust bathing, and hunting for worms.

In addition to looking for the American Humane Certification stamp, Earth Fare looks for producers whose philosophy is in line with our own. This means farms that value education and social responsibility as well as transparency and ethical methods in farming practices.

What do the Little Guy and the Good Life Have in Common?

Part of Earth Fare’s mission is to “Improve Lives Through Food,” and that extends beyond those who eat our food. It means supporting the efforts of those who develop and maintain regional food systems and local infrastructures. One way Earth Fare does this is by relying on small family farms for many of our products. Supporting the “little guy” bridges the gap between the consumer, the producer, and the community. It brings vital economic stimulus to local communities. Springer Mountain Farms, which supplies most of our chickens, is a network of small family farms, all fed on Springer Mountain’s high quality standard feed. By making these farms successful, we’re successful in our mission.

It’s in our DNA

When Earth Fare first began back in 1975, it was called Dinner for the Earth. The idea was to create a grocery store that helped make it easy to put healthy food on the table, but it was also to encourage a culture of consumerism that was healthy for the planet. Supporting local and family farms as well as producers who believe in ethical treatment of animals and sustainable farming practices 40 years later is a testament to the strength of this original goal.

Earth Fare’s producers matter. We are proud to support farmers who are not simply doing their job by supplying us with the healthy products, but who are doing our communities a service by taking real, practical steps toward helping renew traditional, sustainable agriculture.