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Freeze Dryers and How to Use Them

Freeze Dryers and How to Use Them

Freeze dryers used to only be available to large companies and commercial businesses. Although they still come with a larger price tag than some food preservation methods, it is becoming more common to have your own home freeze dryer to use whenever you want! We have partnered with Harvest Right Freeze Dryer to bring you a great price through the co-op for a product that many families have found to be a great way of adding freeze-dried food products into their homes!


If you are wondering if a freeze dryer would be a great investment for you or are just curious about the process of freeze drying, keep reading and we will give you all of the information you need!


What is a Freeze Dryer?

A freeze dryer is a large piece of equipment that takes raw foods, or other materials, and takes them through a lyophilization process of sublimating the water molecules from ice to the water vapor stage and skipping over the liquid phase completely. This allows the freeze-dried food to retain all of the important parts such as nutritional value, phytochemicals, flavor, and structure but drastically lengthens its shelf life and will clear up storage space in your freezer for more long-term storage of other products!


How to Use a Freeze Dryer

Freeze dryers are fairly user-friendly. They do require some oil with every use and come with a vacuum pump. Once you have your freeze dryer set up you will want to push the “start” button to have it begin freezing while you are prepping your food on the trays.


You can freeze dry multiple different foods at a time, but it is recommended to group similar items on one tray, such as keeping fruits together and using a separate tray for your vegetables or meats.


Once you have your trays filled and your freeze dryer is ready to go you will place your trays inside, close the door tight and let the process run. Depending on the size of your freeze dryer and how much food you have in it, the average freeze-drying process takes 24 hours. The machine will beep when it is ready and then you can take your food out and store it in air-tight containers, glass jars, or mylar bags.


What Size of Freeze Dryer is Best for a Single Family?

For single families, a medium-sized freeze dryer will be the best option. It allows you to freeze dry batches of food at 7-10 pounds at a time and will typically meet the needs at this level. If you have more than one family that will be using the machine or running a small business you might want to see if the extra cost could pay for itself with the large size.


Do keep in mind that these machines are not small and will need a place to go once you purchase them. They aren’t really an appliance that you can get out when you want to use them and then tuck away in a cabinet. Some styles can weigh over 100 pounds! This is one of the only things people find to be a downside to having a freeze-dryer but typically find that all of the pros outweigh the one con.


It's a good idea for your freeze dryer to be stored inside where it stays in a room temperature environment so that it isn't trying to compensate for any extreme temperatures around it. It takes a lot for them to get really cold and if they are outside on a porch on in a garage in the middle of summer surrounded by high temperatures it can take a lot more energy to keep the machine cold for the entire freeze drying process.


What Types of Food Can be Freeze Dried?

There are many types of food that can be freeze-dried. There are some that think freeze drying will end up replacing other food preservation methods such as canning and dehydrated foods, but using the different methods to complement each other instead of competing with each other will be the most beneficial for your pantry in the long term.


Some of the most common include

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Dairy Products
  • Bone Broth
  • Leftovers
  • Desserts
  • Bone Broth


This is definitely not an all-inclusive list as there are many other food items you can use, but the main thing you need to remember is there are a variety of opportunities available to use your freeze dryer!


Are There Any Foods that Can’t be Freeze Dried?

There are some foods that are high in sugar or fat that can’t be freeze-dried. Think of food items such as straight butter, honey, chocolate, or jelly.


Is a Freeze Dryer Worth It?

Do you want your own freeze dryer? Deciding whether a freeze dryer is worth it for your family will depend on a lot of factors. If you have harvested your own garden and have a large area for storing preserved foods there are probably enough advantages to justify the purchase of a freeze dryer. It is one of the best ways to keep food available to eat for a long time without sacrificing quality and nutrients. With the ability to freeze dry all kinds of food, it gives you a wide variety of ways to put it to use!


One advantage families have found is that they are able to buy a product when it’s in season and at its lowest price and then have enough freeze-dry food to eat all year. This can save money very quickly on things like apples and strawberries that can have major price jumps in the off-season but your family is still wanting to eat them! It's also nice to have different ways to eat these healthy foods to give variety to your diet and your tastebuds!


Many people only think of freeze-drying foods for their emergency food supply, and while it is one of the best options for that it can also be a great tool to use routinely.


Here at the Food and Meat Co-Op, we are able to offer freeze dryers and their accessories at a discounted group rate which can beat many sale prices on the market. You can check out our form with the details to get your order in so that you can have your own freeze dryer ready to use before the holidays!


If you have any questions or have great freeze-dryer inspirations please share them with us! We love hearing from our community and learning new ways to utilize one of our favorite appliances!


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Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders are a beloved classic in the world of comfort food. Their crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior make them a go-to choice for both kids and adults. But what if we told you there was a way to elevate this classic dish to new heights of flavor and satisfaction? Enter Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders - a delicious twist that takes this familiar favorite to a whole new level.
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5 Freezer Meals Using Chicken Breast

5 Freezer Meals Using Chicken Breast

Life can get busy, and sometimes finding the time to cook a homemade meal can be a challenge. That's where freezer meals come to the rescue. With a little bit of preparation, you can have a stash of delicious, ready-to-cook dinners waiting in your freezer. In this blog post, we'll explore five freezer meal recipes that feature the versatile and budget-friendly chicken breast as the star ingredient. These recipes are not only convenient but also packed with flavor and nutrition.
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What is Beef Bacon? Newest Delicious Craze at the Co-op

What is Beef Bacon? Newest Delicious Craze at the Co-op

I am so excited to introduce the newest product to the co-op Beef Bacon! 

Both local beef bacon from our local Angus Beef Farmer and a second option of Uncured Beef Bacon. 

I have tried both and I must say that beef bacon as become one of my new favorite proteins...I LOVE bacon. I LOVE beef, now imagine combing the two into one epic tasty adventure. Pure food bliss!! 

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What is the difference between cured and uncured bacon?

What is the difference between cured and uncured bacon?

We love bacon of all kinds from those virally popular bacon rounds, to uncured Canadian bacon and the NEW beef bacon. 

But we all know that nothing tops the KING of bacon, just a good 'ol classic bacon strip. We use a locally producer for our fresh classic 15 boxes of bacon and there is no denying that both the cured and uncured are a community favorite. 

But we do have 2 options: Cured and Uncured. 

Many people are curious what the difference is, so let us explain so you can fit your belly to the right bacon! 

Cured Bacon: Cured bacon is the most common type of bacon found in stores. It undergoes a curing process, which involves treating the bacon with a mixture of salt, sugar, and often other ingredients like nitrates or nitrites. These substances help preserve the bacon, prevent bacterial growth, and give it a distinct flavor and pinkish color. The curing process can take several days or weeks, depending on the method used. After curing, the bacon is typically smoked, cooked, or both before being packaged and sold.

Uncured Bacon: Uncured bacon, despite its name, is not actually completely free of curing agents. It is still preserved, but it uses natural alternatives to synthetic nitrates or nitrites, such as celery juice or sea salt, which contain naturally occurring nitrites. These natural sources of nitrites are considered "uncured" because they do not go through the traditional curing process. The use of these natural sources is often seen as a healthier alternative, as it avoids the potential health concerns associated with synthetic nitrites. However, it's worth noting that the nitrites found in both cured and uncured bacon can undergo similar chemical reactions during cooking and produce nitrosamines, although at lower levels in uncured bacon.

Flavor and Appearance: Cured bacon has a more traditional bacon flavor, with a slightly salty and smoky taste. It also has that characteristic pinkish hue. Uncured bacon, on the other hand, may have a milder flavor, and the absence of synthetic nitrates can result in a slightly different taste profile. It may appear slightly paler or have a more natural, grayish color.

It's essential to follow the cooking instructions provided on the packaging for both types of bacon, as they can have different moisture levels due to the curing process, which can affect cooking times and texture.

Ultimately, the choice between cured and uncured bacon comes down to personal preference, dietary considerations, and any specific health concerns one may have.

If you want to know my (Cassie - Founder) preference, I will not turn down bacon of any kind and once you try any of our varieities we bring in from our favorite suppliers, you will fall in love with all of the flavor profiles. But I LOVE the Uncured Fresh Bacon Strips and the Beef Bacon. But I also have a special place in my heart for the pre-cooked bacon rounds and uncured Canadian bacon...dang it, I guess that didn't help narrow it down...might as well stock up on all 4 as they all serve an entirely different delicious purpose! 

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What is a Food and Meat Co-op?

What is a Food and Meat Co-op?

Is it a Costco? Yes and No (how about on steroids) Is it a Farmer’s Market? Yes and No Is it a Food Truck? Yes and No Is it like Imperfect Foods/Misfits Market? Yes and No Is it like ButcherBox? Yes and No Is it like a food delivery service? Yes and No Is it like a curbside food service? Yes and No Do I have to commit to a subscription? No…. Well…What in the HECK is this then?!? What if I told you that we take the best part of each of these to make a food buying experience unlike any other on the planet?
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5 Perfect Family Meals Using Chicken Breasts

Have you taken advantage of one of the many deals we have on chicken recently? Are you looking for easy recipes to use for your family’s weeknight dinners? Look no further than right here, as we have 5 perfect family meals using chicken breasts!


We have you covered with some of the best chicken breast recipes, from soup to chicken salad and everything in between! Are you ready to get to cooking? Let’s go!


White Chicken Chili

It is getting cold outside, and there is nothing better than some chili to get you warmed up from the inside out for your next family dinner. While many people will automatically think of using ground beef for chili (and we have you covered for that, too!), you can also put your chicken breasts to use for a nice mix-up on a common favorite!


This one does take quite a few ingredients, but many of the seasonings you probably already have on hand. Check out the pin for all the details on putting this new family favorite together. Top with fresh avocado slices, a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt, and even a jalapeno if you like a little more spice!


Honey Garlic Chicken

Are you looking for a sweet yet savory meal to fill your family's stomachs? Then try this Honey Garlic Chicken! All you'll need is the chicken, salt and pepper, flour, unsalted butter, garlic, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and honey you can make a meal the whole family will love!

Once it is all done, you can then serve it over rice or have with a salad for a simple, quick, healthy meal the whole family will ask for over and over again! This dish not only tastes amazing, but with a simple switch to corn meal or corn starch, you can make it gluten free as well. The cooking time from start to finish is also great for an easy dinner in a hurry!


Creamy Italian Crockpot Chicken

When you purchase 40 pounds of already-prepped chicken breasts, it can be a little overwhelming what to do with it. This simple recipe will take about 5 minutes to prep, and then you can put it in the slow cooker and move along with your day returning in 4-6 hours to a completed meal full of delicious flavor.


All you have to do is put your chicken breasts in the crockpot, top them with a package of cream cheese, and then add about ½ a bottle of Olive Garden Classic Italian Dressing. Put the crockpot on low, and that’s it. The result will be a creamy sauce, tender chicken breasts, and the perfect meal for busy weeknights.


If you want, you can serve it over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice, but several Co-Op members simply like to eat it just as it is. Garlic breadsticks would also be a delicious side dish to this meal.


Chicken Apple Crunch Salad

Some of our above meals are pretty hearty, but if you’re looking for something a little bit lighter, we encourage you to use your co-op chicken to put together a delicious chicken apple crunch salad. (Side note: if you have leftover chicken from a previous meal, this would also be a great recipe to put that into so that it doesn't go to waste)


Using your chicken, gala apples, celery, scallions (if desired), mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Mrs. Dash seasoning, black pepper, and chopped pecans, you can mix everything together and then stick it in the fridge so that it is nice and chilled before serving.


You can eat the chicken apple crunch salad on its own, or you could pair it with your favorite bread for a filling sandwich that gives you a nice balance of protein, vegetables, and carbs. This chicken dish would be great to meal prep beforehand so that you don't catch yourself going through the drive-thru when you're trying to focus more on lean protein and overall healthy meals.


Italian Chicken Potato and Green Bean Bake

If you have a weeknight meal where you just need to get supper together and then finish some chores around the house, you can use the chicken breasts in your mixed box to put together this one-pan meal that will quickly become one of your favorite recipes.


First, get your oven preheating to 350° while you get the rest of your ingredients together. Get out a 9x13 pan and grease it with whatever oil you prefer to use. Drain 2 cans of cut green beans and pour along one side of your pan. Take your boneless chicken breasts and line them up down the middle of the pan. Lastly, you take about 4 cups of red potatoes and cut them into quarters, and fill in the remaining side of the pan. Cut a stick of butter into small pieces and spread them out over the top of all of the ingredients. Top everything with a packet of Italian seasoning, and your simple dish should look something like this.


Cover with aluminum foil and put in the oven for about an hour. You could also top this dish with some parmesan cheese and maybe have a side of white wine to unwind after a long day! Your house will also smell amazing, and your family will be raving about this one for weeks to come for its great flavor and easy cooking process from start to finish! 



After you enjoy your meals that have been built around some of our amazing chicken products and you’re looking for just the right thing to finish off your day, we recommend you try some of our sweets offerings, including David's Gluten-Free chocolate chip cookies or Aphrodite Divine Confections Chocolate Chip Cookies! Not only are they delicious, they are already mixed together and ready to put on a baking sheet! This is the best way to keep the entire family sitting around the table enjoying each other's company even after the main dish is finished.

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8 Best Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Weeknights

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you are looking for easy dinners to get you through a week that already has some kind of practice, performance, game, or recital marked for every day. The last thing you want to do is spend every night in the drive-thru line, and with a little time and planning, you can still have nutritious foods on the table for at least more nights than not!


We are going to share with you 8 of our favorite weeknight dinner ideas that you can make ahead and have on the dinner table in the same amount of time it would take to grab that take-out!


Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken with a Creamy Sauce

This yummy supper is one of the best make ahead meals for busy moms, as it gives you a variety of options to customize exactly how your family wants it! You can play around with the main protein with the called-for chicken thighs or switch it out for pork loin, turkey, or chicken breasts.


You can also add in some sweet kernel corn, black beans, or chopped red onions, depending on what you prefer. No matter what options you use, a little squirt of lime juice at the end will pull everything together absolutely perfectly!


Since you are able to fix this on in the slow cooker and it can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, this is a great option to put together on the weekends and then simply heat up on whatever weeknight you want your taste buds to enjoy it!


Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

This recipe is a great make-ahead dinner as you can mix everything up and then refrigerate it for a day or two before serving it. The simple ingredients will give you all of the flavors of more processed foods without the extra fat and calories! A win-win situation for any weeknight meal!


With the classic flavors and the ability to pair with some simple sides, this could become a family favorite after only the first time serving it to your family. Coming in at a whopping 36 grams of protein per serving, this dish will have everyone feeling full and happy after a long day of activities!


Keto Lasagna

Even if your family isn’t following a Keto diet, you can still enjoy this easy weeknight dinner! You get all of the great flavors of traditional lasagnas, such as ground beef, marinara sauce, ricotta, and parmesan cheese, but you make the noodle layers as well, so you’re getting a higher-quality end-product with just a little more effort. This is one of the best make-ahead recipes as you can make it, stick it in the freezer, and then put it in the oven so that it's ready for dinner time any night of the week.


Pair it with some corn or a side salad, and this might become one of your favorite easy meals!


Best Ever Keto Meatloaf

This is another recipe that fits great into a Keto lifestyle but that others will find just as enjoyable, and it’s a perfect solution to make ahead for those busy weeknights!


You can meal prep this one on a Sunday afternoon and cover and store it in the fridge for up to a week. If you are making ahead meals for an extended amount of time, the meatloaf can last up to 6 months in the freezer when stored properly. When you are ready to get it out and enjoy, just whip up some mashed potatoes and serve it with green beans for a delicious meal that your family will think you took all day putting together!


Chicken Taquitos

Sometimes kid-friendly dinners can be a little bit harder to find when it comes to make-ahead options, but these chicken taquitos will appeal to your toddlers and your teens. (although you will definitely want to make a double batch if you have teenage boys!)


The best part is that you can use a rotisserie chicken shredded up for your meat to save you the step of having to cook it! Make your taquitos when you have time available, stick them in a container in the freezer, and then pull them out, spread some olive oil on them, and bake them when you are ready for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve with a fresh salad or even some rice and beans, and you will be set!


One Pot Taco Pasta

This is one of those easy recipes that you can make a big batch of, so you can use your prep time to your advantage to get multiple meals! With a cook and prep time of under 30 minutes, you can use this as a make-ahead meal, or you can whip it up on even the busiest weeknight!


One-pot meals are the best way for busy people to serve healthy meals that are also efficient with less cleaning time afterward. We know that there are many nights where every minute counts, and this is a recipe to have on hand for those nights when you still want to enjoy a home-cooked meal!


Korean Beef Bulgogi

It might feel easier to order fast food when you are craving oriental flavors but look no further than this recipe to get you a great meal put together for dinner tonight, even if it has to be snuck in between practices.


If you fix it ahead of time the traditional way, you will want to give yourself some added time as they recommend the meat marinate for 2 hours; however, if you are really wanting to have it on a busy day and you don’t have a chance to prep everything ahead of time you can also make this one in the slow cooker!


Serve with soba noodles or brown rice, and top with sesame seeds for the best flavors the whole family will love!


Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Sometimes all you need to prep for make-ahead dinners are the main courses. With these simple Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, you can season them, cook them, and then put them in a freezer bag until you are ready to get them out and heat them up for a healthy dinner on busy school nights!


Serve them with some fresh vegetables and a baked potato, and you have an easy, nutritious meal ready to go in no time!


The next time you are stressing about how your busy family is going to be able to have healthy dinners on the busiest weeks, remember that all it really takes is a little planning and prep to have everything ready to go for quick dinners that aren’t full of extra fat and fillers!


A few of our staple products here at the Co-Op that we would recommend keeping on hand for the main part of these recipes include:

40lb case of chicken thighs

40 lb case of chicken breasts

American-Wagyu Beef

40 lb case of ground beef

15 lb case of thick-cut bacon

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6 Best Barbecue Side Dishes

6 Best Barbecue Side Dishes

There's something about summer evenings when things start cooling down and the smell of barbecue wafts through the air that just makes you slow down and live in the moment. If you've been invited to a barbecue, chances are you've been asked to bring a side dish. Here is a list of the top 6 cookout side dishes complete with recipes! 

Veggie Skewers are delicious and versatile. You can use pretty much any veggies you have on hand, cut them up and toss them on the grill! 

Pasta Salad comes in so many different varieties and flavors. Whatever you put in, you can't go wrong!

What's more traditional than Potato Salad? People tend to have their own family recipes they like to use, but if you don't or are looking to try something new, this one looks great!

Shake things up a little bit by turning a fruit salad into a Fruit Bouquet. It will make a simple refreshment a gourmet treat!

Coleslaw lends both flavor and texture to barbecue, particularly to shredded barbecue sandwiches. Whether on the side or directly on top of your sandwich, it's something you won't want to miss! 

Baked Beans are a hearty, flavorful dish that has such a wonderful aroma your mouth can't help but water. The molasses, bacon, and barbecue combining perfectly to make a sweet yet savory dish that will have people coming back for seconds!

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Spring cleaning? Know What's In Your Cleaning Products

Spring cleaning? Know What's In Your Cleaning Products

This time of year is always a good time to give your house a good deep cleaning. With a task that takes so much time, one pro tip to learn quickly is what is in your cleaning products. This can help you focus less on harmful chemicals and more on setting yourself up with a clean house for the holiday season.


Here at our CoOp, we are always looking for new great products to offer to our customers, and this cleaning product is no exception. While we tend to focus more on natural foods and other cooking products that accommodate different sensitivities, we also know that everyone needs cleaning products! We are excited to bring you something that you can use every day, anywhere in your home, and all without having to worry about it hurting someone’s eyes!


Do You Know What's In Your Cleaning Products?

When you are looking for an all-purpose cleaner or other household product to give you a good cleaning around your home, you need to watch out for harmful chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine. These chemical products can not only be a danger to your pets but also to young family members if they were to get it in their eyes or on their skin.


The good news is that you can get a thorough cleaning in many different areas of your home without having to take the extra time of constantly stitching out types of cleaners. Knowing what’s in your cleaning products will help you and your home feel more at ease when you host your next holiday party.


What is Hypochlorous Acid?

So what is this great cleaning solution that we are talking about? It is hypochlorous acid, and it is one of the best products we have found on the market in terms of overall cleaning tools and as a better way to keep everyone in the home safe from unnecessary chemicals.


Hypochlorous is made of natural ingredients and needs to be at the proper pH level in order to be the most effective. It is a remake of your body’s natural ability to fight germs, and let’s be honest when we say our bodies are pretty amazing systems! The solution we are offering from this company is 99.9% pure hypochlorous acid and 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, giving it an almost neutral pH level.


An added bonus is that this company gives you the option of creating your own in batches so that you get the correct pH level when you are cleaning today as well as when you’re touching up again in a couple of weeks, as well as all of the little quick cleaning moments in between!


What Can You Use the Hypochlorous Organic Multi Cleaner and Disinfectant For?

When you purchase your 1 Gallon Hypochlorous Organic Multi Cleaner and Disinfectant from the CoOp this month, and in the coming months, there are many different ways and places you can use it! As long as it’s not a surface that is ruined by water, it can be cleaned with hypochlorous cleaner!

  • Living Room-wipe down your coffee tables and floors, and even wipe off spots on furniture or rugs
  • Guest Room-clean off the dresser, spot clean blankets or pillows, clean off baseboards
  • Dining Room-clean the table and fancy china, wipe down the chairs and pictures
  • Kitchen-safe to use to clean countertops, the cutting board, and wipe down appliances
  • Entry Way-use to clean and disinfect one of the busiest spots in your home
  • Stainless Steel-use a microfiber cloth to wipe down all stainless steel surfaces
  • Table linens-Safe to use on linens and clothes
  • Soap Scum-spray down your tubs and sinks
  • Glass-use as a glass cleaner for mirrors, shower doors, and windows
  • Hard Surfaces-can be used on all hard surfaces without worry of chemicals messing up your belongings


As you can see, this hypochlorous organic multi-cleaner can really be a good idea to clean areas in your entire house! With its simple ingredients yet scientific powerhouse background, it will be one of the holiday cleaning tips you are sharing with all of your guests!


A Little Bit About The Company

Now that we have learned about the cleaning product itself let's look at the company behind this brand of great cleaning supplies.


Founded in 2021, founder and CEO Scott Anderson is excited to bring these supplies into your home, keeping your whole family safe and clean all at the same time! He is working on his mission of creating products that are not only safe but also eco-friendly and natural and not full of harmful chemicals.


Another way to tell that a company is confident in its products is when they offer a 30-day product performance guarantee, along with a 1-year at-home/on-site warranty!


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What to expect when buying "minimally processed" fresh chicken breast in bulk through the co-op

What to expect when buying "minimally processed" fresh chicken breast in bulk through the co-op

Y'all know we have crazy good deals on crazy good quality meats and foods. 

And if you have been with us long, you will know that one of the "favorited" items is the 40lb case of boneless, skinless, natural, free-range chicken breast (free of steroids, antibiotics and no added hormones). 

It's basically the best chicken breast on the market aside from buying certified organic or raising your own. 

We offer our chicken in several different forms and types, but the majority "flock" (see what I did there?) to the fresh, minimally processed 40lb case. 

As such, it is a GREAT product. So it is juicy and a bit slimy. Raw chicken is honestly one of the most unappetizing food experiences in it's raw form. 

Cooked chicken is amazing, healthy, versatile and everything in between. 

But Raw is Blah! 

However, It is important to us that you get chicken that is as close a backyard experience as possible and thus we bring it in in the bulk packaging with minimal processing, saving you the most money and giving you a chance to finish the processing yourself and package how you would like (canned, frozen, freezer meals, cooked, shredded, diced, whatever your fancy). 

I do not like dealing with raw chicken, but I have personally purchased chicken this way for 11 years. This has been the primary and only way I have bought chicken and so I have grown accustomed to what is expected, but I realize that not everyone is and would probably appreciate a quick tutorial on what to expect when you open your chicken box! 

What does minimally processed mean? 

THIS minimally processed chicken is hand trimmed from start to the minimum finish. That means that the skin and bones have been removed, but the breasts are still butterflied (what's that?!? We will get to that next) and may still have some cartilage and minimum bones (they try to remove all) and some fats still attached. So you have to do the deeper trimming. 

They are doing the minimal amount in processing and it is all done by hand. 

Here's a cartilage piece example of what you can expect in some of the breasts that will need to be cut out when you are preparing your chicken at home. 

Ok, so now next question...what does Butterflied Breasts mean? 

Well, in case you didn't know...chickens have 2 breasts 🤪 and there is a breast bone that connects them, and they will cut that out during the first level minimal processing stage, but it still leaves them butterflied with a softer cartilage strip connecting them. I personally cut out that center cartilage and cut them apart at the same time. Some people will freeze and cook them with that together still. 

Here's what that looks like (the pile above is chicken I am dicing into homemade grilled and seasoned nuggets for the freezer - a family fav around here): 

Finally, the last thing to expect is that there will be some fats to trim. Some people like to keep this for broth or keep it attached, some like to trim it. But expect to have some fats to deal with. 

That looks like this: 

With this extra trimming, you will be left with a few pounds of trimmings in a 40lb box depending on how much you trim off. The trimmings make great broth as an FYI! 

Now the "can happen on occasion but not often" things you may come across. 

Like I said, I have been buying chicken this way for 11 years. I get a case a few times per year. 

The three above issues I will encounter in every box (not every breast). 

However, there are a few scenarios that do happen that I have seen every once in a while. 

1. Feathers. It happens. Feathers are crazy and can get everywhere - like a glitter bomb. I have seen a few in boxes on occasion. It reminds me that is is fresh from the farm. But when you are used to getting chicken in it's multiple processes and long supply chain and frozen, defrosted and then sold as fresh in the store, feathers are that reminder as weird as it is. 

2. More bones. Humans are doing the first level of trimming, so besides the cartilage bones, I have occasionally found other bones that were missed during the processing process, but it is rare.  And I just simply cut them out. 

3. Bruising. I will get what looks like a bruise on the chicken. This can happen for a number of reasons, like hitting a blood vessel before fully bleeding out, or if a bone breaks before it is cut off or a bone broke right before it was slaughtered. That happens. Because we are dealing with real food and not fake or perfect, bruising can happen many different ways, but it is still fine to eat and would be a waste to not. It just doesn't look as appetizing. 

Here's the truth for me.

For years, I could not even handle a raw whole chicken. It would gross me out so badly. I could barely handle breasts. But when I started buying fresh from the source, I realized it was such a much better quality and it saved me so much money, so I have dealt with it since and find this is much better to put this on a plate in the end.

So it is all worth it! 

In the end, this is a crazy amazing way to purchase chicken that you are getting super fresh! Like just a few days from being processed.

It really doesn't get better than this in terms of pricing, freshness, quality and more! 

And...if you don't want to deal with any of the above, our meat cutters will take care of all of it for you in our prepped breast box. 

They take your box of fresh chicken into our USDA certified meat cutting room and will trim it, split the breasts, cut out cartilage and more fats and vacuum seal it in a 2-breast pack so you end up with about 22 packs of 2-breast packs. They will then deep freeze it and when you get it, all you have to do is put it in your freezer! 

>>>>>See the Prepped Breast HERE<<<<<

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A Conversation With an Organic Chicken Producer

A Conversation With an Organic Chicken Producer

We often get asked about our chicken...the who, what, when, and how (we all already know why - a lean, healthy, versatile, affordable protein). 

We also often get asked if we have organic chicken. The short answer is, "yes." 

The long answer is, well we SOMETIMES do but not often. When we get enough requests we will go commit to a certain amount of chicken and offer it with our other line of meats. 

But what has happened time and time again is that when presented with the organic option, even if $2-$3 LESS per lb than the grocery store, we hardly sell it because it's still expensive when compared to conventional chicken across the board. 

We have dealt with chicken producers of all kinds. I personally would love an exclusivity to organic chicken for my family. But I am on a budget, I have 6 kids, 4 of which are teens and 3 of them boys. They would eat us out of house and home with organic chicken, even at wholesale prices. 

So I get it. I get the desire, but not the practicality of it. 

So that makes the next best thing to do is to find the "second best" option or the option that can still be affordable, but perhaps one-level under organic. 

I had a conversation with an organic chicken producer ....I said, "We want to have your products and we will grow and hopefully be able to have enough willing to pay for the organic label. BUT....since we can't let's chat about our options that would be 'second best'."

So that leads us to the chicken option we have today! We choose to work with and provide chicken from what we consider to be one of the best sources for chicken. 

We had personally already done our homework and chosen a brand to work with and then the conversation with the organic chicken producer confirmed that that would be his choice as well for many reasons! 

First, let me tell you who we source from. 

We source from Koch Foods (pronounced Cook) that does all of the processing of the chicken that comes from the midwest. Koch processes the chicken from 350 small poultry farms in the midwest. Each of these farms have a list of requirements for farming and raising practices including no steroids, no added hormones, antibiotic free, free-range and humane practices. 

From there, Koch Foods has a USDA certified processing facility to kill, clean and handcut each chicken. These are minimally processed and hand cut by a human. 

We already knew these things and already knew that these things elevated the chicken quality to a much higher level (like Simple Truth Naturals chicken), but this next part was the piece we gleaned from our chat with the organic chicken producer. 

What's even more important about this process is this specific information the organic chicken producer shared with us.  

First, for them, they grow chicken over about 10 weeks to 4-5 lbs each bird. So they are growing slowly and naturally. 

Nearly every chicken brand out there will grow their chickens in 4-5 weeks and to 9-10 lbs. This is a very hard process on the chicken because they get to the point that they can't move around and thus create an issue called "woody breast" because of the lack of moving from growing too fat too fast. They wanted to master making more $$ per lb with this process. And the big names in chicken do have really cheap chicken! 

The brand Koch that we use, they grow the chicken in 7-8 weeks and to about 5-6 lbs. Is as long or lean as the organic chicken, no. But they are one of the only ones outside of organic that has these practices. 

The organic producer we spoke with has been in the chicken industry for a long time and knows the good, the bad and the ugly. He point blank said, if my choices were out of these brands, I would pick Koch hand's down. 

Of course, he would be organic all of the time...but if he couldn't....;) 

About that woody breast....

Does that mean that organic chicken and the Koch Foods chicken we bring in is void of all woody breast. 


However, the amount of occurrences is greatly minimized. 

I specifically asked this organic chicken producer to share his knowledge with me on the issue of woody breast. 

I will write a more detailed article about what it is and why it happens, but he said it is never 100% avoidable. Even in organic chicken, woody breast can occur. 

Here's why it occurs: 

It occurs when the chicken was not active enough. If you have a lazy chicken (or a too fat and big to move chicken like some big producers) the chicken will develop a woodiness in the breast (those white lines) that makes the chicken more chewy and less appetizing. 

Even in the best of circumstances, you can and will have chickens, even in a free roaming environment that will simply be a lazy bird turd and choose not to move much. That chicken will probably have more woody breast. 

At the end of the day, the point is that woody breast can and will occur in all chicken raising situations, but it is less frequent in some situations. 

With all of that being said, I am glad we did our homework at the beginning when choosing to align with a chicken processing plant for our needs and then to have it confirmed by an organic chicken producer that this would be his personal choice outside of organic as well. 

We are picky about the foods and meats we procure. We work hard to secure the best that we can for the best prices. 

Of course, if you are buying a clearance and overstock, this is the one area where we let all kinds of food come in to be rescued because access to any food is better than none. But every other food category is well thought out, researched and taste tested for top quality! 

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