For many of us, our judgement of fresh chicken relies on the expiration labels in the meat department. Even those more conscious of meat processing and terms like “all natural” and “free-range” would be hard pressed to find fresh, locally raised chicken in the meat and dairy section of the grocery store. Taking note of this need, Jason and Kristin Reid and their young neighbor William Friedrichs decided to offer an appealing alternative.

For the past two years the Reids have raised chickens in order to have meat and eggs for their family and a few friends. After a chance meeting and some friendly advice, the Reids decided to raise more chickens and offer them for sale at this year’s farmer’s market.

Even though Jason and Kristin both have a strong family history of farming and ranching, raising a larger quantity of chickens has been an interesting and exciting experience as well as a learning process. Kristin Reid cites the book Animal, Vegetable Miracle as a helpful and engaging book for anyone interested in eating local. The book also offers insights into the food production industry. One term that can be a little misleading is “free range.” For most large scale poultry farms, the access required by the USDA is met by having a small door open to the outside that cannot reasonably accommodate the larger numbers of chickens raised in these facilities. The Reids raise chickens with plenty of room and an open pasture to live out their lives in a healthy, pleasant environment. 

The difference between home grown chickens and the typical store bought chicken is evident in taste, as well as nutrition. In addition to offering a high quality product, the Reids are happy to share information about the chickens. The chicks are purchased from McMurray hatchery out of Iowa and are raised on feed as well as whatever grass and bugs they find outside. They are cared for by the Reids and their 12-year-old business associate William who makes sure they get normal amounts of exercise, fresh air and sunshine. The chickens are processed at a USDA plant in Colorado and fresh frozen to sell. 

You can order your chickens ahead by phone, through the website email, or you can head down to the Laramie Farmer’s Market tomorrow from 3:00-7:00p.m., meet Jason, Kristin and William and make arrangements to buy your chickens then.