I just returned from an excellent couple of days exploring the innovative agricultural and marketing practices associated with Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia. I’ll have plenty to say about Ayrshire’s practices and gracious staff in another post, but today I want to report on the Chicken Choosin’ heritage chicken tasting event that was held there yesterday. I was among the privileged to receive an invitation and believe me, I feel privileged.
Sponsored by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Humane Farm Animal Care, Slow Food U.S.A, Chefs Collaborative and Ayrshire Farm, this first-ever heritage Chicken Choosin’ was designed to highlight the culinary value of the chickens less processed in this country. And the people’s choice was hands down the Americanized version of the English Dorking, a chicken that’s historically associated with some of the best eating there is in Britain.
I found the organically raised Dorking to be lovely to look at with sumptuous flavor in both the light and dark meat. I also thought it had some of best textured breast and thigh muscling in the entire Chicken Choosin’ taste test. I selected the Dorking as my second choice, by only half a point behind … bird number 9.
Stay tuned as I unravel the rest of the Chicken Choosin’ in a future post and for much more about my Ayrshire Farm experience.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.