Thursday, March 26, 2009

lancaster, pa: where the organic chicken is the same price as the giant-brand chicken.

No lie. Greg just informed me that he buys our organic chicken from a stand in the middle of Central Market for about $3 a pound, the same as I spent today at Giant. So. . . a whole organic, grass-fed chicken for $12? Or four pounds of souped-up antibiotic- and steroid-laced chicken for $12?

For the past year and a half, we’ve been trying to create a diet for ourselves that’s healthy and as local and organic as possible. We knew that commitment might mean spending more on groceries than normal — but with vegetables and fruits, locally produced, organically produced, and affordable seem to go hand in hand. The problem has always been meat and dairy, and we resorted to not eating much of the former rather than exceeding our budget. Since we moved to Lancaster two months ago, we’ve been buying whole, organic chickens as a special treat, stewing them, and freezing the leftover meat to be used throughout the coming weeks. It’s been delicious. Slow-cooked chicken is my favorite. But I guess I never shook the idea that organic meat had to be more expensive than other meat, and that these chicken meals were a crazy splurge.

It turns out that they’re not! We could have them every week. (At least if Greg and I ate a whole chicken a week.)

I’m a little horrified that I bought chicken at Giant instead of this delicious, local, organic, affordable meat!

We all know I tend towards the frugal side, even when it comes to something important like the food we put in our bodies... But man what an all-around win our market chicken turns out to be.

Other recommendations in Central Market for the Frugally Minded:
Thomas Produce has organic, cage-free eggs for $2.50 a dozen. And homegrown potatoes for cheaper than any of those stands selling regular old Idahos that got shipped across the country. Bet you there’s no salmonella in any of their produce!

Also: today I successfully acquired a Pennsylvania driver's license, and it only took me half an hour of sitting and waiting around. Maybe Pennsylvania isn't filled with retards after all! Although their drivers licenses sure are ugly. . .


Flavius said...

Yay for local sustainable agriculture! I am glad that has worked out for you...Although, I could swear that parts of that article could have been written by my brother...Hmmm...Maybe I should get the three of you together sometime so you can trade notes!

Also...You do realize that many of your college friends, and Greg, are either native or naturalized Pennsylvanians? I mean, the denizens of this state can't be that bad. And I would tend to argue that the blue and gold driving licences do look rather chique. :)

Lucy said...

Amazing! I will have to venture into Italian butcher shops and see if the same mysterious alchemy of chicken-pricing prevails in NYC.

Do I perceive a Lake Woebegone reference in the title? I made it into one.

Mackenzie said...

Absolutely you should read a Lake Woebegone reference into that title! I love that show!

Also. . . while I'm not sure Pennsylvania is the place for me forever, I am quite pleased to hang around here right now.