In our search for local food producers we found Paul Smith, who lives in Afton, WY. A few weeks ago I went to his home and purchased about 10 birds for the freezer. They had been "taken care of" just the day before. You can't get much fresher than that. Then last weekend we cooked these two dutch oven style in the back yard. It was an evening of good eatin'.
Paul raises cross-bred broilers, which are a cross between a Cornish hen and a White Rock rooster. They reach processing size in under three months. The small birds are allowed out of the coop just as soon as they are big enough that the neighborhood cats leave them alone. Paul mixes their ration himself to avoid any unwanted ingredients. In addition to their outside food sources, they get all natural local barley, supplemented with vitamins and minerals, and soybean meal to supply the necessary protein. No antibiotics, hormones or animal by products are used.
When it comes processing time, Paul and his wife Denise do all of it themselves. At no time are the birds subjected to unnecessary trauma. They are dispatched as humanely as possible. Only pure clean water is used to process the birds, never any chlorine or chemical washes. They are cooled immediately, refrigerated and allowed to age unfrozen for at least 24 hours. Then they are packaged, labeled and frozen, if not already sold at that point. The first harvest took place in May, the last batch being ready around the end of October.
Paul is also raising broad breasted white turkeys, using the same criteria as above. They will be available in November, just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
The price for chickens and turkeys is $1.65 per pound. Call in advance to check for availability and/or place an order.
Wyoming Chicken Ranch
Paul & Denise Smith
Hwy 136, Afton, WY
If you are interested in pork, Paul is also raising Berkshire hogs, also know as Kurobuta pork. This is the best of the best for your table and is only available in high end markets and restaurants, with the majority of the breed being exported to Japan. The pigs are carefully raised using Paul's unique feeding regime to weigh in excess of 325 pounds. This yields a larger more desirable carcass, which can then be delivered to a processor of your choice.
A $75 deposit will hold a place in line for the next available harvest, with a waiting time of about a year. The total price for a hog is $200, plus the processing of your choice which usually costs anywhere from $150 to $200.