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Why Does NOMAD Charge $18 per Chicken?

Warning:  I am prone to this.  Those who know me best are familiar with my propensity to soapbox on the subjects that most inflame me with passion.

 

Clean, healthy food is one of my passions.

 

Someone who loves me very much sent a kind-hearted and gentle email this morning to let me know of her concerns that we cannot sustain our business in the long term selling chickens for $18.  She compared our chickens to the ones she is buying at a health-conscious grocery store—let’s use the letters WF to represent that store—and essentially communicated that we are charging a higher price than our competition for what must be an inferior product. 

 

If I can get you to finish reading this blog entry, I think you will understand that exactly the opposite is true: we are selling a superior chicken for a lower price.

 

I am NOT in this blog entry comparing our chicken to the cheap, low quality stuff you fish out of the bargain freezers at Costco and Food Lion.  Those Tyson or Perdue chickens are not the same product.  They are intentionally low cost, low quality, steroid-laden, antibiotic-riddled, unethically raised, environmentally destructive junk food chickens raised to get the most bang for the buck in the short term.  You see the long term costs of these chickens in your checkbook, and in headlines like: “Health Insurance Jumps Again—rate increases due to skyrocketing incidence of cancer, disease and obesity” or “Tax Hike—taxpayers responsible for bill in latest chicken sludge environmental disaster” or “ERs Overworked—Salmonella outbreak kills 6, sickens thousands.”  Our chicken has nothing to do with this stuff.

 

Our chicken is more comparable to the better products sold at stores like WF.  Chickens there are fresher, many raised on organic feed with few or no antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, etc.  They are overall good for you.  I am not opposed to folks buying their chicken at stores like WF.

 

But how does our chicken compare?

 

1.       (Most importantly) We are local.  I spoke at a party with a nutrition expert this week who says she tells people “Local first, organic second.”  Local food is superior for myriad reasons.  It makes sense.  When you ship something across the country or across the ocean, you must do bad things to it.  The chickens at WF may or may not be “locally” sourced . . . at our WF, the local chickens come from Texas.  They are ten days old before they leave the shelves.  They are packaged in about half a pound of water.  Still, this is better than Tyson.

 

Was your chicken from WF raised in a dark room with poor ventilation, no exercise, in a cage with little space (while eating organic grain)?  How can you know?  What does “access to outdoors” mean?  Who oversees it?  Come to NOMAD Farms and see every step of the process.  Hold the chickens.  Read the ingredients on the healthy, no animal byproduct, medication-free, high protein feeds we offer.  Watch our healthy chickens eat bugs and grass, run in the sunshine and enjoy fresh air.  Local foods can be seen and touched.  WF cannot offer this. 

 

2.       We are healthier.  My guess is that one in fifty people who buy organic meats can articulate what organic means in an educated manner.  Without going into what “organic” means, it only refers to what the chicken ate while it lived.  “Organic” does not insure ethical treatment, clean facilities, or even healthy air.  “Organic” does not necessarily mean “healthy”—or even “healthier”!  Most organic chickens are slaughtered at the same types of unclean and unethical processing plants Perdue and Tyson use. When people ask, “Is it organic?” the true question is “Is it healthy?”  It’s only healthy if it is healthy from the hatchling to the farm to the slaughter to the packaging to the consumer.  We can provide that.

 

This article: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=116 clearly articulates why “pasture raised” is better than “organic,” given a choice between the two.  This is where I would differ from the nutrition expert I talked to at the party—I would say local first, pasture raised second.  The data on the health differences between organic and non-organic indicate a slight jump in nutrition quality.  But the data says the difference between pasture raised and non-pasture raised is a HUGE jump in nutrition. 

 

We are not yet organically certified because of the expense and hassle related to that certification.  Our feed is high quality.  Our living standards are better.  Our health and sanitation standards are higher.  Nutrition comparisons between pastured poultry farms (like ours) and health food store chickens consistently show that we (the small farm farmers) sell the superior product.

 

3.       We are cheaper.  For most folks, this is where the rubber meets the road.  In the email, she told me she was paying $3.79/lb for her WF chickens, usually at about 3 lbs. for an average price of $11.37 for a whole chicken.  Ours are $18.00.  Aren’t ours way more expensive?  No, actually.  Our last batch of chickens dressed out at an average of 4.7 pounds per bird.  If we charged $3.79, that’s $17.81.  WF is charging tax on top of that.  And look how much water comes in the WF bag with the chicken!  Some of our birds are smaller, closer to 4 pounds.  Some, however, are larger, weighing over 5 pounds.  We are taking the weight variance guesswork out and charging a rate based on averages...consistent price is easier for everyone.  This keeps some people from having to pay over $20 for a large bird. 

 

Our pricing is consistent with fresh-food farm rates.  We have almost $7 cash invested in purchasing, feeding, processing and packaging each bird.   That means we processed our first batch of chickens at a rate of about $4/hour for my labor.  That does not even address what we have put into infrastructure.  We are new at this and will get better, but I can assure you we are providing a great product for a great price.

 

I could go on and on, but I think you get the general idea. 

 

Try one of our chickens.  Taste the difference.  See how much further it goes than your average grocery store chicken.  And know that it is good for you, ethically raised, environmentally responsible, and comes from a farm where integrity in all things is important. 

 

We sell a better product at a lower price.  I am confident there is not a more healthy chicken available at ANY store, farm, or restaurant in the Winston-Salem area than NOMAD Farms chickens.  

    Posted @ 6/23/2014 7:30 PM by Denys   
    Denys's avatar

    Great article, Dana! You really broke things down well!

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.

Comments

  1. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    good post

    -- replica Cartier watches

  2. Re: NOMAD Farms Chicken has a New Look

    "Pastured Poultry" I love it! Continued best wishes to you guys.

    -- DC

  3. Re: An Eye-Opening Comparison

    Wow thank you for sharing this comparison. Very eye opening and disturbing!!!!!!!

    -- Tina

  4. Re: Why Does NOMAD Charge $18 per Chicken?

    Great article, Dana! You really broke things down well!

    -- Denys

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