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WEST BEND, Wis., Aug. 2, 2006
Tropical Traditions announced this week that it was now shipping its pastured chickens raised outdoors on pasture and Cocofeed in 2006. The first chicks went on the ground in May this year, and were raised by Amish farmers in western Wisconsin. The birds dressed out to an average of four pounds, and most customers who preordered the chickens and had been waiting for delivery since May have now received their orders. The frozen chickens are shipped in coolers with dry ice with second day delivery ensuring that they arrive still frozen. Initial customer comments on the taste of these unique birds have been very positive.
Some Tasting Notes
I roasted one of these chickens myself to see if they meet expectations. Wow! This was the most flavorful, juiciest chicken I have ever had - and in 35 years as a professional chef I have cooked a lot of chickens. I kept it simple - I just seasoned the 5 lb. bird with salt and pepper and rubbed a little olive oil on it. Roasted at 350 for about 2 hours.
I rarely rave this much about a product, but these birds deserve my highest praise.
Photo courtesy of Tropical Traditions
Tropical Traditions will be raising other chickens on Cocofeed this summer in Wisconsin and Indiana, and some of those will be heritage breeds. Tropical Traditions wants to see how some of the less common breeds grow on their Cocofeed. They will also raise a small amount of turkeys on Cocofeed this year and hope to be able to offer turkeys raised on Cocofeed by 2007.
Cocofeed is an organic chicken-feed ration developed by Tropical Traditions and poultry nutritionists that contains coconut pulp as well as other high-quality natural ingredients. The coconut pulp is the residue left over after coconut oil has been extracted from the coconut meat. Cocofeed contains no soybeans, the most common ingredient in other organic chicken feeds in the US. In tropical cultures, coconut pulp residue, which is high in protein and fiber, has been a traditional feed ingredient for poultry and other livestock for many generations.
In 2005 Tropical Traditions asked several pastured poultry farmers to test their Cocofeed side by side with chickens raised on soy-based organic feed. The chickens fed the Cocofeed grew out very well, although they typically took up to an extra week to reach the same weight as those fed the soy-based feeds. Laboratory tests on the chickens raised on Cocofeed showed something very interesting in the fat and meat: the presence of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid found in coconut oil and human breast milk, and known to have many health benefits.
Tropical Traditions pastured poultry chickens are all raised by family farmers. These farmers run diversified farms practicing sustainable agriculture. They will rotate tracts of land with crops and other animals, or let it go fallow from time to time. When a batch of chickens is raised on a piece of pasture, typically that pasture will not see chickens again for two or more years. In the interval, crops may be grown in that pasture, or it may go fallow allowing grass to grow, die, and decompose so that the soil is kept in balance and not contaminated from too much chicken manure.
Pastured chickens raised on Cocofeed are sold on the Tropical Traditions website.
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