Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Ruin Free-Range Chicken

I wasn't interested in participating in Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Challenges this year, but when he announced his Fast Food Nation challenge, it piqued a memory...

Driving around my neighbourhood, I saw a sign for Red Rooster (sort of like KFC, but they do fish and chips and things as well), advertising a new 'Simply Free Range' chicken source/menu. So, when I read about the contest, I thought I'd go check it out... You know, in the name of primal research.


Driving thru', I was disappointed to see that the free-range chicken options were limited to a wrap (with or without cheese and bacon), a burger (with or without cheese and bacon), and a salad. I was hoping to get a whole free-range chicken, being the most primal option, but no dice. Next best thing - salad. Oh, you're out of veggies? Great...


So I went for the wrap with cheese and bacon, figuring I could unwrap it and enjoy the meat and veg.


Mmm, a few pieces of lettuce, some green goo which was supposedly avocado, a slimy sweet sauce (not mentioned on the menu, else I would have asked for it to be excluded), a shred of bacon, and a couple of pieces of chicken. The items were stuck together with a gluey substance which apparently was cheese... And all this set me back the tidy sum of $7.50.

Expensive, and yuck. I could have bought a whole free range chicken for not much more than that price, and then I wouldn't have been restricted to just the practically fat-free breast meat either! Or I could buy a kilogram of bacon for $8...

So, in many ways it's good that Red Rooster is supporting free-range chicken farms, but the current options are by no means primal-friendly. Baby steps, I guess...

6 comments:

eatpoopsleep said...

Eeeeooo.

Also, be aware that free range chickens might be (are most probably) soy fed and free range is something that is not strictly enforced anymore. Legally, if the chicken is free range for say 5 minutes in a day, it's technically a "free range" chicken.

Just some food for thought.

Jezwyn said...

Thankfully I know the source of free-range chicken in Victoria - there's only really one farm/company raising and distributing them, and they're a pretty upstanding establishment. I know too much about dodgy labeling to ignorantly believe the use of a term outright. I wish we had more access to truly free-range eggs (getting there slowly) but we've got a good system for the chickens themselves.

Paleo Rob said...

ahhh Reddies. Only thing I will buy from there is a whole chicken when I have absolutely no other choice.

I have a family member that works at steggles/inghams (pretty much control all the fastfood chicken) and the horror stories I hear, makes me shudder.

Jezwyn said...

Ew, yes, I don't go near Steggles. I don't eat chicken often enough to bother sourcing directly from a farm as yet, and I'm not tempted to go near commercial stuff anymore. Living near Balwyn is a wonderful thing - every fastfood outlet seems to be making an effort (because the customers can afford the price hike) and then new chicken place I found even uses coconut and palm oils! I'm not in a rush to go and try them out, since I'm accustomed to takeaway chicken making me feel ill these days, but it's good to know it's there and that people are getting it right...

Laura said...

Hi Jezwyn, Sorry to be a bit late on the bandwagon with this comment. I just discovered your blog and have been slowly working my way through it. I'm also in Melbourne area. I was just wondering what the source is for free-range chicken and eggs in Victoria. I seem to be spending an agonizing amount of time reading the labels of eggs, and I get the sense I'm not getting full information. Any tips you have would be appreciated.

Jezwyn said...

Hi Laura,

The easiest source of free-range chook is Lilydale, since you can buy it from the average supermarket. I also get my chook from my organic meat place in Balwyn North. Both seem to be grain-fed, sadly. Beyond that, on occasion, I get some properly pastured animals from a farm near my old hometown of Hamilton.

Eggs are a bit easier, since Swampy from Warrnambool now sells his pastured eggs at various markets and organic food stores around Melbourne. There are also some decent free-range eggs from Bendigo in supermarkets now, but I can't guarantee they're not grain-fed. Making direct connections with farmers is the key. All the best!