Don’t break the bank! We’re just buying chicken

There are a few foods that I am struggling to find the organic variety of.  The first is grapes.  I’m not talking fancy; just your classic, red, seedless globe grapes.  These used to be a staple in our house and Beckett would pop them in her mouth at a fast and furious pace, but our refrigerator has been empty of these delicious snacks since January.  Organic grapes appear to not exist.  And, maybe you can’t grow them without pesticides… I don’t know.

The second item is chicken.  I have been able to find oodles of great local, organic chicken – but only WHOLE chicken.  We will roast a chicken once in a while and enjoy the whole bird, but I don’t like dark meat and just eat the chicken breasts.  Jacob enjoy a thigh or good drumstick, but grudgingly admits that the white meat is A LOT healthier.  We used to eat chicken at least once a week, but I have not been able to find organic, free-range, skinless chicken breasts to save my life.  And, I have been missing my girls.

So, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon LOCALish, ORGANIC, FREE-RANGE, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS at an AFFORDABLE price in the cooler at Costco.  I was ecstatic.  I literally squealed with delight.  I turned into a shopper on the gameshow Supermarket Sweep.  I grabbed package upon package, draped them across my arms and ran to meet Jacob in the produce section.  Needless to say, I was met with wide-eyed disbelief.  All I could do was sputter out sentence fragments in my attempt to explain the treasure that my arms were laden with.

The chicken came in packages of three – each package having two breasts in it.  It was $5.99/pound and the threesome ran about $15.00.  Well, I had snagged six packages at $15 each…  But, my reasonable (and recently un-employed husband) gently shushed me with his pointer finger, grabbed my chubby cheeks in his two hands and acknowledged my excitement with a calm nod.  Being that he is both levelheaded and money wise, he reminded me that utilities and other basic necessities come before chicken.  So, with a heavy heart I slumped back to the cooler and said good-bye to three beautiful packages of chicken.

Yes, we spent $45 on chicken.  But, if I had been up to me, the mortgage would have been spent on chicken.  I kept pointing out to Jacob that we DO have a deep freezer – but he wouldn’t budge.  I will enjoy my eighteen chicken breasts.  And, hope against hope, that Costco continues to stock my beloved.  There is a saying: “There’s always next time” – but you never know with Costco.  Is there a next time?

You can bet your bottom dollar that the next time we have a little extra money – I’m going to Costco.

And, hey, if you find organic red grapes – please give me a shout out!

Chicken Details:
Coastal Range Organics
P.O. Box 87
Kelso, Washington 98262
www.coastalrangeorganics.com

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This entry was posted in nice & natural, oh! it's organic!, supper & sustenance. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Don’t break the bank! We’re just buying chicken

  1. Barb D.V. says:

    Yes, love the Costco chix–have been eating it all winter!! Don’t share it very often..too expensive to share with hubby!! I have been eating a lot of chix–have been trying to loose weight and have!! 25# !!!
    Lots of chix and salads!! You are doing a great job with your study!!!
    Barb

    • sacredbee says:

      Oh – I am so glad to hear that they have had it for awhile. I always worry that I will find something great at Costco and then it will be gone forever… And, we eat chicken all the time. It is the best for healthy meals. 🙂 I am so glad that you are enjoying the blog – spread the word!

      • Nancy Ging says:

        Be sure to Let Costco Know if you appreciate something they have or want something they don’t. My neighbor complained last year (or year before) that they only had gray garden cloth and she explained why she thought the black was better. This year they have black. I don’t know that it was all do to my neighbor–but I’m just sayin’.

      • sacredbee says:

        That’s a good reminder. It never hurts to ask!

  2. Lara says:

    Hi Kate,
    I came across your blog while trying to find the physical address for Coastal Range Organics. What I found out is that they are owned by Foster Farms http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/1136/profile-of-californias-major-producer (last paragraph of Question #2).

    I applaud your efforts to find local, organic, free-range chicken. But I want to caution you that the definition of “free-range” that you likely have in your mind (i.e. chickens roaming around in fresh air, pecking in the grass, soaking up the sunshine) is not the definition that poultry producers are held to. Free-range chickens must have “access” to the outdoors. That’s it. On coastalrangeorganics.com, it states that “Our chickens and turkeys live in spacious ranch houses and have access to the outdoors which allows them to get exercise, fresh air, and sunlight.” “Spacious ranch houses” just means that they are big — it doesn’t indicate how crowded or uncrowded they are. And just because they have access to the outdoors, doesn’t mean that any of the chickens actually GO outdoors. Access could be in the form of a little door at one end of the ranch house (read: warehouse), that none of the chickens even know what to do with. So this means that even though it is physically possible for them to go outside, few, if any, of them actually do.
    Here’s a satellite view of the Foster Farms plant in Kelso from google maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&cp=21&gs_id=2b&xhr=t&q=foster+farms+kelso+wa&tok=wBCTqqYOmTsRMx5J8M6UaA&rls=ig&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1600&bih=785&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

    You can zoom in to the street view of the area, and as you can see, there are no chickens roaming around, and there are no fences, which means that there are NEVER chickens roaming around.

    I realize you blogged about this nearly 2 years ago, and you might have already stumbled across this information, but in case you haven’t and are interested in learning more, the documentary “Food, Inc.” and the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan (who witnessed “free-range” living conditions first-hand) go into excellent, highly informative detail about this, and other misleading food labels. To cut to the chase, here’s an excerpt from an article from The Chicago Tribune that discusses the findings in Pollan’s book:

    [The second meal is provisioned by “big organic”–which is to say, Whole Foods. Pollan cleverly identifies what the grocery chain sells: an appealing story. He calls this art form “supermarket pastoral,” the reassuring tale that backs the happy cow grazing on the milk carton, or the label attached to “Rosie,” the ” `sustainably-farmed’ `free-range chicken.’ ” Then Pollan tracks down cow and chicken. He finds that organic milk is often produced on factory farms where cows never see grass. Rosie “lives in a shed with twenty thousand other Rosies, who, aside from their certified organic feed, live lives little different from that of any other industrial chicken.” Her “free-range” lifestyle is afforded by a door at the end of her coop, unlatched during the last two weeks of her life.

    Pollan watches that unused door. “I finally had to conclude that Rosie the organic free-range chicken doesn’t really grasp the whole free-range conceit. The space that has been provided to her for that purpose is, I realized, not unlike the typical American front lawn it resembles–it’s a kind of ritual space, intended not so much for the use of the local residents as a symbolic offering to the larger community. Seldom if ever stepped upon, the chicken-house lawn is scrupulously maintained nevertheless, to honor an ideal nobody wants to admit has by now become something of a joke, an empty pastoral conceit.”

    Pollan doesn’t leave big organic entirely disillusioned. Organic products, he concludes, often taste better and tend to be produced in a way that is healthier for the farmer, consumer and planet.]
    (source: http://michaelpollan.com/reviews/what-we-eat-why-and-where-it-really-comes-from/)

    You should know that I’m not some vegan fanatic from PETA. I’m just a mom from Seattle (currently living in CA), but I have taken it upon myself to learn about where our food really comes from. I eat meat, my family eats meat, and I also try to grow a lot of our food. If you are determined to find *truly* free-range chicken, find a small-time, local farmer. A lot of times you can track them down at your local farmers’ markets. Eatwild.com is another way to find them. And look for the word “pastured”. Pastured chickens are what you think free-range chickens are supposed to be. They just take more effort to find, and if you live in a big metropolitan area like me, they can be a lot more expensive.

    I’m not saying that Coastal Range Organic chicken is bad and you shouldn’t buy it. I’m just saying that you’re got getting what you think you’re getting when you buy “free-range” chicken from a mass producer like Foster Farms.

    And I’ll end it on that. 🙂

    -Lara, a fellow bee lover

    • sacredbee says:

      Hi Lara,

      Thanks for finding the blog and checking in here. This article was written quite a while ago and we have read the books you mentioned and watched the movies that go with them, too. Local is our first priority, but when I can’t get my hands on local produce or meat, I opt for what is the best alternative – free-range and organic. It’s very unfortunate that free-range is such a misleading term, because it does sell itself as something much better and entirely different than what it is. But, it’s better than conventional methods that offer no access to the outdoors or any kind of room to stretch and roam. I appreciate you finding the blog and commenting on this old piece. 🙂 I look forward to seeing you around here more often!

      Best,
      Kate

    • P. McIntosh says:

      Thank you soooo much for shareing your research. I have been just to lazy to research where it comes from. I, have been buying Costal Range Chicken for a few months now but, didn’t know where they came from. Foster Farms…No, No, No. Will check out your eatwild.com. No more Coastal Range. Thank you Pam

  3. Angelic says:

    I made the same squeal and grabbed a bunch of packages too! Then, after eating them and not liking the weird after-taste, did some research. Coastal range organics is owned by foster farms. I am returning the rest of the packages today. 😦

    • sacredbee says:

      They certainly aren’t the best product when it comes to organic/free range/alternative chicken. I am still looking for that “perfect” (errrr… better) way to get the chicken breasts we like, but not need to invest in an entire chicken that’s been grown and raised in the ways we support. 😦

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