Location: Stone Barns Center for Food Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY
Featuring: Craig Haney and Megan
The raising of pastured poultry embraces “humane, people-friendly, environmentally enhancing “ practices, says Craig Haney of Stone Barns Center for Food Agriculture.
After feathering out (and as the season permits), the poultry are given constant access to fresh-growing palatable vegetation, with movable or stationary houses utilized for shelter.
The egg mobile provides shelter from the elements, protection from predators, a clean, private space to lay eggs, and a place to roost at night.
Why should people be willing to pay more for pastured poultry? Craig says, “Doing things right takes more time. We devote hundreds of hours from May through November just moving the egg mobiles across our fields. This evenly distributes the manure on the pastures while providing the birds with fresh air and continually clean fields where they can express their natural behaviors like scratching and foraging, roosting and dust bathing. And sunshine is a wonderful natural disinfectant. The eggs and meat are then healthier for us to enjoy”.
Pasture Raised vs. Cage Free
We are largely disconnected from the food we eat. Despite the pastoral narratives our egg cartons depict, the real story behind our eggs is probably much different.
Alexis Koefoed of Soul Food Farm perfers to say that her chickens are "pastured" instead of "free range" because there is imprecision used to describe how chickens are raised. The term "cage free," for example, could be used to mean poultry raised indoors with little or no access to outdoors.
Alexis treats her chickens with love and a real respect for their gifts of eggs and meat. They are raised humanely and given all the room they need outside to be what they really are and, in return, give us the best of what they are.