Today I visited Cognito Farm in Starke, FL. They have started doing Farm Tours once a month when the farm is open for buying their various products. A few months ago I bought their eggs at the downtown farmer's market. They offer dairy products, eggs, chicken, beef cuts and pork cuts.
The tour was given by Sam Williams, one of the owners, and she started out by asking how many of us had seen Food Inc, read The Omnivore's Dilemma or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Excitedly nodding my head, I listened to her explain their principles and how the farm is run. If you've seen the movie or read any of those books, you'll be familiar with Joel Salatan's ideas about being a "grass farmer" and keeping in harmony with natural processes. This photo is of the chickens. In the background to the right, you can see a covered wagon. This is their " Chickabago" where the chickens roost for the night.
After the farm tour, I picked up the broiler chicken I had ordered from them. I've never cooked a whole chicken so I roasted it using instructions from "A New Way to Cook" by Sally Scheider. I was worried I would burn it like I did the roasted paprika potatoes I also prepared, but the chicken was fantastic! Super moist and tender! I had originally ordered a medium sized chicken but they only had smalls (3-4 lbs) once they were done harvesting. Even with a small, I have a huge plate full of leftover chicken and as soon as I can pick up some onions this week, I am going to make chicken stock/soup! Also something I've never done. I also made some brussel sprouts I bought at the farmer's market last week and highly recommend the recipe by Heidi Swanson.
This is a picture of their pig area. After the amazing eggs and chicken, I would like to try their pork and beef products. All of the animals looked healthy and happy. I was also impressed by how clean the property was and the facilities for processing chickens. Since I've started working in the country, I see how easily people acquire junk and trash in yards/fields and there was none of that here!
I especially liked the stream running through the property!