Cooks Venture’s chickens are pasture-raised, heirloom, slow growth birds. Nice words but what do they mean and why does it matter?
Our chickens have unrestricted access to a biodiverse environment - our wooded, 800 acre farm - every day, all day, weather permitting. Our heirloom chickens are bred to thrive outdoors. It’s in their DNA.
Slow-growth raises the nutritional value of the meat - you’ll find higher levels of Omega 3s and vitamin A, lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fats, and higher levels of antioxidants and iron.
What does “GAP 4 certified” mean?
The Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification program is the leader in animal welfare labeling standards. The GAP Certified program uses a tiered labeling strategy (Steps 1-5) to signal to consumers how the animals were raised. The higher the step number, the more the animal’s environment mimics a natural environment. Cooks Venture is certified Step 4 which requires the following:
- birds to be raised on pasture 100% of the time starting at the age of four weeks
- the pasture to be maintained
- use of a breed that is bred to live outdoors
- shade and enrichments to be made available.
What does Non-GMO Project Verified mean?
Our chickens are raised and fed a diet in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard for avoidance of genetically engineered ingredients.
Do you use hormones or antibiotics?
No. Our heirloom chickens are robust, active and healthy—resulting in a slow-growing bird with higher bone density—meaning we have no need for antibiotics or added hormones.
What’s the difference between water chilling and air chilling?
To ensure food safety, the USDA requires poultry to be cooled to a certain temperature. Most processors cool chickens in vats of ice cold water, where they also absorb water. This dilutes the quality of their flesh and flavor, as well as increases the risk of cross-contamination. In addition, the buyer ends up paying for the added water—an increase of anywhere from 2-12% (average 8%) of the final selling weight.
Air chilled chickens pass through several chambers of cold, purified air. While this method takes longer, positive results are gaining attention and popularity with buyers in the USA. There’s no added moisture, a retention of natural juices, and a tender, more flavorful meat, which cooks faster.