The Chickens are gone! I always start out in wonder at the little yellow and red puffs, watch them scratch and peck, and grow. Wow, do they ever grow! By about week 8, I'm done with the wonder, and they're big and bulky and eating machines. These were Poulet Rouge type chickens, and must have some Cornish in them, as they grew large and lazy. The hens liked to get out in their yard and forage, but the roos pretty much camped by the feeders and waterers unless I shooshed them outside for some "fresh air and sunshine". (Does that sound like a mom, or what?)
Well, yesterday, I cobbled together three chicken wire and PVC panels to block the opening in the back of the pickup, spread an old bale of hay in the bed, locked the chickens in their inner yard, disassembled their outside yard, and backed the pickup up to the fence. One and two at a time, I caught and plopped them into the pickup, and we made the drive to the Meat Shop in Tacoma. This morning they processed all 83 of them! Of those 83, we've sold close to half :-)
Continuing our quest to stimulate the local economy and using 10% of the chicken sales (probably more!), we went to the Five Star Diner about a mile from our place. The Diner shares a building with a daycare business, and is set back from the road behind a Texaco gas station, dry cleaners, realty, karate school, vet office, marine dealer and storage facility.
We were met by the Chef/Owner, Geoff Peters, who welcomed us and explained a bit about his cooking philosophy. He's a fairly recent graduate of South Seattle Community College's Culinary Arts program - a second career after leaving the aviation electronics field. He creates much of the food from scratch, cuts his own meats, buys local when possible, embellishes according to French cuisine taste, BarBQues on the side, and personalizes food for the "regulars", including a Jewish family and a vegetarian.
Dave ordered the NY strip steak special, and I ordered the meat loaf sandwich special. Geoff came out and talked to us about the food. Soy products give me a queasy stomach, so I avoid them. When I asked Geoff about soy, he went straight to the kitchen and checked for me. Bread was out, most of the sides were out (made with mayonaisse - soybean oil). He offered to make the meat loaf dinner for me - baked potato, peas and carrots, meat loaf and gravy.
In one of the other 4 tables, one of the regulars was there with his two kids. We were entertained by the daughter while we waited :-) She was a cutie.
The food was delicious! The meatloaf was toothsome and flavorful, flecked with veggies, moist and seasoned just right. The gravy, made using homemade beef stock, was likewise, flavorful and seasoned just right. The peas and carrots (frozen???) were cooked just right, finished with butter, salt and pepper. Amazingly, they compared favorably to the just picked snap peas and freshly dug carrots I'd had for breakfast at Take Root Farm. There was butter for the roll, and sour cream for the potato - although the gravy was wonderful on the potato. My bite of Dave's steak was fabulous. Great beefy flavor and juicy, perfectly cooked like the rest of dinner.
As we finished, it was near closing time and Geoff came out, sat down, and we all started talking. We covered aviation, organic gardening, free range chickens, NZ and domestic lamb, big Ag trying to squash small Ag in the name of "food safety", going back to school, government crooks and helping out the neighbors. It was over an hour before we left. He still had to clean up, I still had to feed sheep - but NOT CHICKENS! :-)
The Five Star Menu is fairly simple, all kinds of breakfast items - including omelets, salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, sundaes. The daily specials really make the Five Star special. If you're in the neighborhood, don't hesitate to stop in. They're open Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 am to 7:30 pm, Sunday 10 am to 2 pm, and located at 18223 - 9th Street East, Lake Tapps, WA 98391. Phone: 253-862-7571
As we were leaving, I told Geoff and his staff (of two), about our Stimulate the Local Economy effort. They appreciated it :-)