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Award-winning free-range chicken
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Hopetoun Farm Shop
Hopetoun Woods,
Newton,
Midlothian,
EH52 6QZ
01506 830716

Did you know that there are only a handful of free-range chicken producers in Scotland? Free range or organic chickens sold in supermarkets are likely to have travelled many food miles so when buying chicken it is good to buy local. 

 

I recently met the farm and shop manager, Mike Eagers, of Hopetoun  Farm Shop. I went to visit his chickens, having eaten one the week before. Normally I buy free-range and/or organic chicken but feel I have an even deeper understanding of the importance of this now.

 

One of the first things that Mike declared was that “he didn't understand why his chickens tasted so good". You see, HopetounFarm Shop have recently been awarded 3 Stars by The Great Taste Awards for their free-range chicken. The chicks are not organic and are fed standard feed but a tour round the farm gave some clues.

 

A small number of chicks (very fluffy and cute), no more than 100 at a time, are kept in a shed with natural daylight and lots of clean straw and water. You can tell that they are very happy, wetting their beaks and pecking at each other. At four weeks old, the chicks are moved to an even larger shed where they have complete access to a large grassy field. They are kept here for about the next ten weeks and then are killed by Mike on the premises and transported a couple of miles to the shop.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that stress- free happy chickens with access to daylight, water and a caring farm manager contributes to a tastier bird. The chickens we ate retailed at around £12 which sounds expensive but we had at least 6 meals out of it, making it good value for money. It tasted moist and succulent and I know it had had a happy life.

 

 
 

 

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