Man cannot live by organic Medjool dates alone … here on the Naked Dates farm, one of the other things are passionate about is raising free-range organic chickens. We began in 2015 with 6 chicks, and since then our flock has grown to more than 35. This number ebbs and flows over time as the chicks hatch, and as chickens are butchered for meat.
And in case you are thinking – chickens and dates? That’s crazy! Consider that many middle-eastern and African cuisines combine these foods very deliciously: Moroccan dishes, especially, make use of this combination. Chicken and date Tajine, Couscous … the list goes on. Yum!
There are so many benefits to having chickens on a farm!
First off, we have fresh, organic eggs to eat every single day. If you’ve never tasted farm-fresh organic eggs, it’s nothing like the eggs you are used to getting in the stores. You can immediately tell the difference when you crack them open: the yolks are a dark orange – a color you never see in supermarket eggs (and to my experience, not even organic supermarket eggs have this distinguishing factor). They are rich in flavor and packed with nutrients that you just won’t get elsewhere. This is because of the feed and care we give them – and trust me, they eat very well!
The tastiest chicken you’ve ever had
Next, if you are a fan of eating chicken, you’ve likely never tasted anything like a fresh organic chicken. The size is considerably different – much bigger than you are likely used to in the stores. Next, the texture of the meat is completely different, as there is no water injected into them to plump them up. This means they don’t shrink during cooking, and the flavor is more concentrated. In fact – if you’ve never tasted an organic, free-run chicken fresh from the farm, you might be missing one of the most satisfying taste experiences possible to have. We keep most for ourselves as part of our commitment to living simply and sustainably but occasionally sell or trade with our neighbors. When the farm store opens back up in the fall, we will be adding organic eggs and chickens to our product line – another yummy thing to look forward to, and another reason to visit the farm if you’re in the Yuma area!
They are hard-working farm helpers
Other everyday benefits to having chickens on the farm: they scratch the ground and keep all the weeds at bay, and they eat lots of bugs! They also provide us with organic fertilizer; mind you, it’s not enough for the whole farm, but organic chicken manure is what we use to fertilize our date palms, so it doesn’t go to waste.
Currently, we are nearing the harvest, so we have to corral them off out of the fields to keep them away from the dates, primarily for food safety purposes. We relocate them to a fenced-off pasture, planted with cowpeas especially for them, away from all the action: we like to think of it as their “summer home”, as it’s a nice, cool spot where they have an air conditioned room to roost and nest in as temperatures will often get up to 120 degrees in the summer.
Our chickens are special! They’re are raised 100% organic and with lots of love, which makes them more beneficial from many standpoints: they are antibiotic free, and never exposed to pesticides or hormones that are commonly included in traditional chicken feed. It costs a little more to raise organic chickens, but we know first-hand how big of a difference it makes, both in flavor, nutrition and overall sustainability of life here on the farm.
Naked Dates: organically yours
If you would like to learn more, sign up for our newsletter, or drop us a line anytime. We’re busy getting ready for harvest now, but plan to drop by in the fall and discover what we’ve got in store: our healthy organic Medjool dates and date products await, as will farm-fresh organic eggs and delicious chicken