A few years ago when we first moved to the Hamilton area, we heard of a chicken farm that supposedly had the best chicken ever. It took us a while, but we finally made it to to Fenwood Farm via a series of country roads and a long tree-lined laneway.
Since that day, it’s been our family’s exclusive source for good, healthy chicken. We’ve tried to make it a bi-weekly stop in our effort to stay out of the grocery store. Our basic plan is this: Dearsley’s Meats for fresh beef, bacon, two dozen eggs, cheese, and then two weeks later, Fenwood Farm for fresh and frozen whole chickens, and another batch of eggs.
The store is located behind Carol and John Fennema’s home and is lined with freezers filled with not only chicken, but a great selection of pork, wild-caught seafood, venison, Mapletons organic ice cream, and their own beef and turkey. They also stock emu oil, lip balm, a variety of soaps, honey, fair-trade organic coffee and even organic pet food.
John and Carol Fennema have been on their 100 acre farm for 20 years, 18 of which has been organic. John grows all the grain to feed the organic chickens, they raise their own beef which roam free, and have free range egg laying hens in the gorgeous old red barn.
The surprising fact is how many chickens they process each month. Beyond the laying hens, there are no other chickens on the premises. Their meat chickens are on their son’s farm close to Cambridge and they process around 2,000 organic chickens and 1,000 natural chickens from it each week. It’s a big number, but given the list of restaurants and stores they supply, it makes sense.
I asked about the living conditions for the birds and Carol smiled as she said that the birds have plenty of room to run around, have nice shavings for beds, and lots of outdoor access when weather permits. The plan was for us to follow Carol over to see the chickens, but we ran out of time. It’s still on our to-do list.
We’re pretty familiar with what organic means, but Fenwood also sells “natural” chicken, and that word is often in a grey area. So we asked. Their natural chicken is a close second to their organic chicken, with the exception of non-organic, but still vegetarian feed, and outdoor access isn’t mandatory. Visit this site to clear up some of the language.
Visit the second post ever on our blog for our favourite roasting recipe and why buying a whole chicken is important.
774 Sawmill Road