Our New Processor - We are extremely excited about our new processor. Their existence is (thankfully) dogmatic. They are an Amish processor with the latest processing technology. If you've not grown up around the Amish, this is a fantastic combination. The Amish are hard-working, detail-oriented people. However, there are some safety concerns with processes such as their beliefs don't typically permit the use of electricity. We didn't ask why this facility is an exception because we are just happy for the incredible combination of the latest technology and their focus on premium finished product. The facility is LED lit, and contains the safest product handling equipment and practices in existence today. The product being processed is handled with incredibly high standards of cleanliness and attention to detail. There are multiple inspection points including multiple inspections even after the USDA inspector approved the product.
Are our chickens fresh? - Yes, but be careful when you ask what fresh means. Fresh means that the temperature of the meat never went below 26 degrees. What you may want to be asking is, "How old is our chicken?"
How do I know if my chicken has ever been frozen? - The bone is black.
How old is store-bought chicken? - When I used to buy chicken for a corporate warehouse, it took one to two days to deliver, I was allowed 3 days to turn it through the warehouse, and then it took another day to get it to the stores. Therefore, when it arrived at the stores it could be up to six days old. The stores were allowed three days to display it. This means that typically customers were buying 7 to 9 day old chicken. Also, display temperature is much higher than the temperature that chicken should be stored at which affects freshness.
What are Simple Life Farms practices? - We will get it to you within three days of processing, but typically even earlier.
How soon should I use it after getting it? - This is a hard question to answer because there are a lot of factors involved. However, I wouldn't keep any chicken in a typical, kitchen refrigerator that is around 40 degrees for more than one or two days no matter how old it is when you get it. If you are storing it between 26 and 32 degrees, you have a little longer, but I would try to get it to a deep-freeze (sub-zero, preferably 20 below 0) at 7 days after processing or earlier if possible.
How long can I keep my chicken in the freezer? - This is another question with a lot of variables to the answer. An interesting, related fact is that mass producers begin to process and freeze turkeys the day after Thanksgiving for the following Thanksgiving. Yes, that is to say that if you eat frozen turkey on Thanksgiving, it might be almost a year old. You can follow the same practices, but we don't recommend it. If you freeze your chicken when it is fresh, and keep it in a deep freeze (at least 20 below 0), it should be acceptable to eat for up to a year. However, keep in mind, the longer it's in there, the more degradation you will experience of the freshness of the meat.
Is there such a thing as too fresh? - Yes, it is best to wait at least 24 hours after processing before consuming chicken.
But Grandma killed the chicken in the morning and we ate it that evening? Grandma learned from Great-Grandma who didn't have a refrigerator. Food science has taught us a thing or two over the last 100 years. Email us here if you want to know more specifics.
What about "use by", "sell by", and other dates on the meat? - The USDA doesn't have standards for these dates. These dates are determined by the seller. The only date that you should rely on is the processed date. Typically this is in secret code somewhere on the package. Our new processor displays the date that it was processed as a large, clear calendar date on the front of the package.
Cooling and Storing Temperature - Up until 1997, a chicken was only considered frozen when the internal temperature was below zero. Concerned with rock-hard chicken being labeled as "fresh" this temperature was changed to 26 degrees. You can read more here.
But that's below the temperature that water freezes? Yes it is, but chicken does not freeze at 32 degrees and the colder you can keep it without freezing the meat, the fresher it remains.
How does Simple Life Farms cool my chicken? - Immediately after processing, your product is immersed in ice. This has always been known as the best way to cool and store product. However, it is not used by mass marketers anymore because cardboard doesn't hold water very well and warehouses were a mess due to all of the melting ice. Immersing your finished product in ice remains the best way to bring the temperature down fast.
Why is it so important to bring the temperature down fast? - It is important to bring the temperature down fast because it ensures you the freshest, longest-lasting product.
What happens after the temperature is down? - Your product is stored in a deep-freeze that is held at 30 degrees. This temperature ensures the freshest product, yet avoids the adverse effects of freezing meat. Your product is returned to an ice-submersion for transportation to you or the refrigerator where you pick it up.
Pastured Eggs - Our eggs come from chickens that roam our farm every day. No fences, no cages; just green grass and lots of natural forage. Not only is this humane treatment of the birds, it makes a better tasting, healthier egg. Less cholesterol and fat and more vitamin E and beta carotene. Read more about these benefits here. We collect our eggs daily, then date and refrigerate them as soon as possible. We never sell eggs over seven days old.