Arthur Largey of Feather Brook Farm introduced his free-range chickens at SoWa Open Market last summer and quickly found fans. The meat, he says, “has the same texture as filet mignon and sort of melts in your mouth.”
Now Largey’s chickens are sold at M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats in Somerville and they’re flying out the door. “It tastes more chicken-like,” says Jesse Hassinger, a Dulock butcher who found them at SoWa. “If you get it on Friday, that is less than 24 hours from when it was killed. That’s as close as you can get to fresh if you didn’t grow up on a farm.”
The birds at SoWa are frozen to meet federal food safety regulations; they are fresh at Dulock’s. The breed is Cornish Rock Broilers. They sell for $6 per pound and each averages 5 to 6 pounds. By comparison, Whole Foods Market sells Bell & Evans chickens for $4.99 per pound; 365 Everyday Value brand chickens for $2.49 per pound, according to spokeswoman Heather McCready.
Largey grows 100-bird batches and hand-feeds them. A processing machine was recently installed, allowing on-site slaughter, reducing animal stress during transport, which can affect flavor. “A lot of the things that I do in slaughtering is similar to halal,” Largey says of the Islamic dietary guidelines. “Respect to the animal is key on this farm.”
Dulock’s brings in about 20 chickens a week, and accepts requests for a bird. But it’s not unusual to read on the @mfdulock Twitter feed midday Saturday that they’re sold out. M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats, 201a Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-666-1970, www.mfdulock.com. PEGGY HERNANDEZ