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Poivrot Farci

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  1. I'm inclined to believe that they are not using real tamarins for "Tamarin glazed Angus short ribs" so they may take some liberties with ingredient authenticity. That menu (and many others) lets up dip our toes into the deep end of the "diver scallop" pool. I'll wager a bonafide Amish chicken that virtually of the scallops listed as "diver" were brought to the surface with a diesel powered dredge since less than 1% of commercial US scallops are actually caught by hand by underwater divers.
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/30/nyregion/foie-gras-ban-nyc.html Under the self-righteous auspices of condemning animal cruelty, the NYC council voted to ban the sale of foie gras, an esoteric ingredient that is as unavailable to the majority of consumers as it is affordable or appealing. These same champions of animal rights however have no objection to CAFO beef (steers get sick from eating grain), CAFO pork (pigs raised on concrete and have their tails docked) or the benign CAFO broilers/egg layers (who have their beaks cut and never see the light of day) which make up the rest of the land meats available for consumption once the foie gras gluttons have been gorged.
  3. Maybe you were getting birds raised in Lancaster by Amish (I can't guarantee otherwise). It is a long drive to Brooklyn for slaughter and then back to DC/VA to sell. An unlikely scenario since there are slaughterhouses in PA, but not impossible. You could always contact Bobo directly and satisfy (y)our curiosity.
  4. Some might characterize that as consumer fraud. You know, misrepresenting a product, presumably to appeal to consumer sensibilities for which they pay a premium. While it doesn’t rise to the juicy scandal of Bill Koch being sold $400K of phony Jefferson wine (and spending $35 million to brutally investigate his swindling), if I had his coffers and an eccentric obsession with poultry, I’d pony up for genetic chicken testing across the country to determine who is bullshitting whom, dunk them in judicious tar and apply a biblical layering of feathers. And those Amish aren’t as pure as one would imagine. Apparently they have trouble complying with the English’s environmental regulations.
  5. These weren't Bobo chickens with a yellow clip on the wing, correct? There aren't many slaughterhouses that have the Buddhist exemption which allows them to leave the head & feet on. Bobo also has a Barred Silver rock as well as a White Plymouth Rock cross (Partridge rock are more often called Partridge Plymouth Rock) which they say are raised upstate NY . Forgive me fore being suspicious, but dearth of food labeling integrity makes me so.
  6. "From Gravy to Jus, Now 'Amish' Is Trendy" NY Times 1999. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/17/dining/from-gravy-to-jus-now-amish-is-trendy.html There is no doubt that some farmers in Amish areas are raising quality birds then and now. But that does not mean all birds raised in "Amish Country" are invariably of high quality. There really should be more attention given to the breed of chickens people raise, sell, buy and serve. Other meats, fish, fruits and vegetables seem to enjoy distinctions on their labels. Or are we content with just "Amish apples"?
  7. What breed are they selling you then? How long are they raised? Cornish cross broilers can be bred and hatched just like any other chicken. They are all domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). I am not contesting that there are Amish who raise chickens and sell them directly to consumers in parts of Appalachia where Amish populations are common. Rather, it is the suggestion that wholesale (restaurant, retail store) “Amish Country poultry” has characteristics beyond who is raising them. As best I can tell, there is nothing in the “Amish country” name that mandates that those raising the chickens are bonafide Christian traditionalists riding buggies and closing their britches with button closures. Or that the broilers are a certain breed, raised for a certain amount of time, fed a particular diet, allotted a certain amount of pasture or slaughtered in a particular manner. There is nothing in Gerber’s Amish Farm that praises Anabaptism and the website seems to be an endorsement of technology. If “Amish Country” chickens have no specific characteristics, it means nothing; a Rabbi, Pentecostal snake charmer and Shaolin monk could just as well raise chickens outside Lancaster and call them “Amish Country” if the farmer’s religion has no meaningful or measurable effect on the bird. What I did in my previous life in kitchens does not make me an authority on chickens. My reasoning, assumptions and conjecture comes from more recent practical experience. I live next to and work on a 28 acre farm which, in addition to pigs, sheep, and egg layers, raises 1500 “freedom ranger” broilers on pasture annually (fed certified organic feed) which we slaughter ourselves. I am not an accredited expert, but am familiar with the breeds, physiology, life cycle, regulations, labeling requirements and spend plenty of time behind the curtain. Raising poultry for a longer period requires more feed, more labor, more pasture, more fuel, more water, infrastructure and bad weather can lift up a hut and kill 30 of them. Rhode Island Red's require at least twice as many weeks as a Cornish Cross production variety. As for Polyface, if they slaughter fewer than 20,000 chickens annually and do not sell across state lines, they are still required to adhere to federal sanitation laws. If they sell across state lines, the regulations change. Polyface makes no claims as to what breed of broilers (meat birds) they raise (a heritage breed is worth advertising) and based on the white feathers of the chicken pictured, I would wager it is a production breed Cornish Cross. Convince me otherwise. It is not a breed that I favor and does not make Mr. Salatin a monster, those his huts look more like shanties from a Brazilian Favel (ours are tall enough to stand in, but whatever). Many producers who slaughter more than 1,000 birds on site apply for a 5A license and are inspected a few times a year to ensure that all is clean and up to snuff. The regulations change when a farmer sells to a restaurant/store rather than directly to a consumer That is probably more work than most Amish are willing to commit to and co-ops relieve much of the burden (slaughtering, distribution). A $10 chicken with a retail weight of 4lbs is not excessive for a small farm which does not have the economies of scale. The difference between a $10 and $30 chicken likely have to do with the breed, growth rate, geography (feed has to be shipped if they do not grow their own), infrastructure (building broiler huts) labor, slaughtering, fuel, etc…Without a breed, feed, growth period or growing conditions, a $10 chicken means nothing, just as a $10,000 car can’t be rated against a $30,000 car unless one knows the make, model, year, mileage and so on. Chickens don't have to be contentious. It is best when the consumer know what they are paying for (growth hormones in poultry were banned during the Eisenhower administration, but we still like to be reminded. Like unleaded gas.)
  8. There is no legal definition of what "Amish" means as it relates to poultry production. It is a broad term that does not distinguish which breed, how, where or by whom the poultry is raised (Mennonites drive cars and use email). It loosely signifies "Amish" country which extends all the way to Indiana. Contrast that with the strict regulations that make a Bresse chicken deserving of it's label. What is being sold in Mechanicsville directly to end-user consumers may not be what is sold wholesale to restaurants which require USDA inspection in excess of a certain amount of chickens processed. Rhode Island Red's are primarily raised for egg production and it takes about 12-16 weeks for them to reach market weight (a very long time compared to production breeds), so the Amish would have to charge accordingly and with such a premium it would be reasonable to market a heritage breed, just like they do with heirloom vegetables. It would be curious for a producer or restaurant not to capitalize on a product that fetches a higher price based on quality given the marketability of "farm-name", "breed-specific" and "animal husbandry method" menu descriptors which satisfy consumer conscience. The chickens one can catch in the hen houses are most likely older egg-layers, not broilers. Until broilers reach market weight, they are susceptible to predation (hawks, foxes, raccoons) and are generally raised in covered, mobile enclosures outdoors without roosts.
  9. "Amish" chicken means absolutely nothing. There is no "Amish" breed. It is novel way to market what is invariably Cornish-Cross broilers which are mutant birds genetically engineered to grow very quickly -faster than their legs can keep up- which makes them shiftless, reluctant to forage if they are on pasture or even seek out water. It is possible that their birds are raised on pasture, but if they are, there's a missed opportunity to highlight that they get sunlight and access to bugs if they're up for it. Senat Poultry in NJ raises Penobscott/Cobb cross (a Maine breed with normal breast to leg ratio) and they were offered with the feet (practical for pulling tendons). They're halal and some of the better birds commercially available to restaurants beyond the small farmers. The US doesn't have much in the way of labeling integrity beyond Bourbon or Big Gulp and almost anything can be marketed as "grass-fed", "sustainable", "natural" or whatever Madison Ave greenwashing gibberish. As for chickens labeled without growth hormones, they've been banned since the Eisenhower administration (long before they took lead out of gasoline), but everyone likes to be reminded of how wholesome their ethically bankrupt food is.
  10. It is all but certain that the birds used at Crisp & Juicy or any Peruvian place are the same tortured Cornish cross birds grown in confinement that never see the light of day, just like those of CostCo. Charcoal does not undo any of the countless liabilities of shitilly raised chickens.
  11. 100 million 6 lb chickens sold at $4.99 highlights how worthless and hopelessly irredeemable the US commodity food system is. Cheap chickens are terrible for the farmers, terrible for the chickens, terrible for the environment and terrible nutrition for the consumer. Even at $6-$8 ($2/lb), it is baffling that all parties involved from the egg to the rotisserie are getting paid a modern wage and no animal or humans should suffer such an indignity.
  12. There are about 24,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone and the New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed 324. So customers are ok paying $17 +$3 tip but the idea of charging $20 and eliminating tips is somehow unpalatable? Americans seem to like the idea of free shipping with the shipping cost factored into the retail price. How are restaurants in countries that don't rely on tipping able to stay in business? To rely on tips when making $8/hr in Manhattan is medieval, assuming the kitchen staff got tipped. “We started by having to let go of the ladies who hand-made our tortillas. It’s certainly better when you can make your tortillas fresh for every taco,” Nat Milner said. “It made sense at $8 an hour but not at $15.”
  13. The GDP of the US is $19.4 trillion. There are 585 billionaires in the US with a combined wealth of $2.7 trillion. The country can very much afford to provide better food but the electorate does not demand it and is resigned to mediocrity, heart disease, diabetes, tax cuts, corporate profits and more military spending.
  14. Our Food Is Killing Too Many of Us "Taxes on sugary beverages and junk food can be paired with subsidies on protective foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, plant oils, whole grains, yogurt and fish."
  15. People (Americans) die in large part because of food: nutritionally deficient sustenance compounded by lifestyle. Heart disease is the #1 killer. I am confident yours and my support for better food with fewer consequence align, but I think our food system is irredeemable and guided almost exclusively by grotesque, immediate profits rather than fundamental nutrition, basic health, flavor or even longer term financial benefits. Yes, food is a business, but a business that contributes to considerable health costs and mortality is a curious business model. Good quality food in the US comes at a steep premium and the consumer landscape (average supermarket -the only food venue) looks like it is designed to sustain doomsday bunkers. The artificial devaluation of meat (where it is cheaper than produce) is scandalous and shows what the priorities are. Sure, there’s a tiny renaissance in more wholesome foods -from sourdough breads from whole grains to organic produce and pastured meats- but even some of those standards have been diluted (misleading grass fed or organic labeling) and food without too much crap in it shouldn’t be out of reach for the middle class. I am grateful for the customers who buy our meats, eggs and prepared food because I couldn’t afford to shop here regularly.
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