“Do you like doing this job?”
Someone asked me this once about chicken processing as I was loading her processed chickens into her car. That question often comes back as I’m heading into the shop on Friday morning. Friday is the day we process chickens for other people and for our CSA members.
Processing chickens is a blood and guts job. No two ways around it.
Sometimes, it’s a blood, sweat, and tears job. “Like” it? No way.
Why do we do it, then? Because we like you, actually. The job isn’t fun or glorious, and here’s why I do it:
- It’s a valuable service in helping people raise their own chickens. It gives me pleasure to know someone can participate in growing their own food because I’m willing to pluck their chickens.
- I’m a professional. It’s not a job everyone can do, let alone wants to do. It’s a good feeling to be able to produce a quality product that folks can enjoy. It may not be glorious, but it’s needed.
- I enjoy thinking about the people who are benefitting from the premium quality, nutrient dense, flavor full food we produce here on Baker’s Green Acres. This is our contribution to helping people live healthy, abundant lives while also building a better, more sustainable world as our regenerative farm system turns round. It’s the connection of land to farmer to consumer that I value. Chicken processing is a necessary step in that food web. Each chicken I place the owner’s name on reminds me of that person.
- Family time. The butcher shop has been a source of many fond and not-so-fond memories for us. Our older ones have learned management, human resource, and customer service skills. The younger ones learn attention to detail, sticking to a job till it’s done, and teamwork. And we do have fun. Games of “I spy” and “Twenty Questions” are interspersed with listening to classic rock, country, classic country (Loretta Lynn and Johnney Cash!), and gospel music. Jokes and competions. We’ve listened to some amazing audio books and had deep conversations over the chicken cutting table. It’s a unique form of family bonding time, and bond we have.
At the end of the day, do I like plucking, gutting, and packing chickens? NO.
It’s all about the people.