Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken taste test: Murray's v. Readington Farms

Picture of Fairway Market - Paramus Location, ...Opening day at Fairway Market in Paramus. Image via Wikipedia



Since Fairway Market opened in Paramus in March, I have been buying and preparing Murray's free-roaming, drug-free, bone-in chicken at home instead of ShopRite's Readington Farms brand, which is also antibiotic-free and fed an all-vegetable diet. Murray's is priced a bit higher.

I usually get leg quarters and roast them with cinnamon and allspice, serving the pieces with rice or pasta cooked in the chicken fat and chicken broth. 


Or I bread the pieces in chili spices before baking them. My wife prepares jerk chicken wings or legs or chicken in a brown sauce. 

The other day, she said she doesn't like Murray's chicken as much as the Readington Farms poultry.

So now I'm buying Readington Farms again and will conduct a side-by-side-comparison sometime in the future. 


Last night, we had Readington Farms wings and leg quarters coated in chili spices (you take breadcrumbs, combine them with the spices and salt in Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit, except for the masa flour, and add sesame seeds and any other spices you might want, then wet the chicken before breading). 

I make a lot of the spicy breading at one time and keep it in the fridge.

Besides tasting better and being better for you than ordinary supermarket chicken like Perdue, drug-free chicken cooks faster.
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40 comments:

  1. I just discovered Readington Farms chicken at ShopRite and I'm so glad this new option is available to us non-vegetarians who are seeking a healthier way of eating meat.

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  2. I agree. I have some defrosting for tonight's dinner. It's been available at ShopRite for two or three years. It's rarely put on sale, unfortunately, unlike Perdue and other ordinary chicken. Enjoy.

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  3. BTW, we do think Readington Farms tastes better than Murray's free-roaming chicken, which you'll find at Fairway Market. Last week, we had some Murray's leg quarters, but we are going back to ShopRite's drug-free brand.

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  4. You do realize that "no antibiotics administered" means they can still inject them while in the egg. Only claim that means no antibiotics is "no antibiotics ever". There are many suppliers out there who are trying to slip one past with semantics. A few suppliers actually offer chicken with "no antibiotics ever". Know what the label you are reading means. Book "Omnivore's Dilemna" does a good job explaining some. Free range is another you have to watch out for according to the author. Most "free range" chickens never see the outside of the house.

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    1. I work for the company that processes the chicken. It is drug free egg and all..

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    2. You are referring to Readington Farms? Thanks.

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  5. Whole Foods often says no antibiotics ever, but I realize that other labels leave an opening for administering them in the egg. But if you look at Readington Farms parts, they are considerably smaller than conventional brands such as Perdue and Tyson, which get antibiotics that make chickens grow faster and bigger, to the point where they can take only a few steps before collapsing to the floor. Murray's chicken is called "free roaming," whatever that means.

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  6. By the way, we're sticking with Readington Farms. Recently, we tried Murray's leg quarters and they were nothing special in terms of how much meat they had.

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  7. Is Readington Farm chicken free-range or not??

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  8. No. Murray's is free-roaming, but there are no standards for that phrase. Readington Farms chicken isn't fed animal byproducts (I don't remember whether the wrapper says vegetarian diet or vegetable diet, probably the latter) and doesn't get antibiotics, either. Also, Readington Farms doesn't come with the New York-attitude you get with Murray's at Fairway Market.

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  9. they say it is humanely raised but if it isn't free-range that's not too humane.... i'll have to check out murray's then. i haven't seen that in the stores around here though. too bad i don't live closer to a whole foods. i may just end up going to a local farm that sells meat, at least i'll know that is free-range.

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  10. Not too humane? What's the difference if the chicken is allowed free range or not? In the end, it dies. At least Readington Farms chickens aren't pumped up on antibiotics to the point they get too heavy to stand -- as most of the other chickens are. Murray's raises its chickens in New York State. Check out its Web site to see where they are distributed.

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  11. Dear jezelouiz:

    If you live in Lewiston, Pa., Murray's has no dealers there, according to its Web site.

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  12. Well we all are going to die but we don't want to be locked in a cage just because of that.. so to treat a chicken "humane" would be to consider that, I think. The animal is generous to give it's life so we can eat it, so we should be respectful enough to at least let it have a decent life in the meantime.
    I live in NJ, I'll have to look up Murray's website. I do know of a few farms around here selling chicken otherwise.

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  13. Chickens raised for meat aren't confined to cages, but egg-laying chickens often are. It's likely Readington Farms chickens are confined in large chicken sheds with thousands of others. The Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff has just about every type of naturally raised poultry, plus eggs, BBQ sauces and specialty meats.

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  14. I enjoy the taste of Readington Farms chicken over Murray's, and I think it's a little better tasting than the Whole Foods chicken.

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  15. Free range does not mean the chickens actually go outside. If the chickens are not outdoors, the problem seems to be they are cooped up in a building with mounds of excrement and ammonia laden air. I'd think the meat produced must be affected adversely.

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  16. I think free range is supposed to mean they do go outside. I worked in chicken houses in Israel back in the late 1970s, and don't think the excrement and the ammonia it gives off affects the meat. When the chickens are sent off to slaughter, the poop is completely removed, and the process starts over again. In any case, the meat is far better than from chickens given antibiotics and feed with animal byproducts. You can taste the difference, and the drugless chicken cooks faster, too.

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  17. Free range is a dilemma for growers, especially up North. In cold winters, the chickens do not venture out and can not be labeled free range. Geez, too much worrying about what the label means to a lawyer's level of satisfaction.

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  18. I'm in central jersey... I'm looking for chicken that is grass fed. Vegetarian diets for chicken contain soy which I need to stay away from. Thanks for your help.

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  19. Try to find a local farm that raises chickens by allowing them to roam free.

    I know there are several farms in northwestern New Jersey that raise animals, and sell the meat. Sussex County, for one, publishes a brochure about its farms and what they offer.

    You could start by calling the state Agriculture Department.

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  20. How do we know that Readington Farms has free range chicken or anything humane? If you search on the web it says that Readington Farms is a DAIRY farm. It also says that it is owned by SHOPRITE and there are 100 employees. Doesn't sound like a little family farm.

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  21. Readington Farms doesn't say its chicken is free-range.

    And it doesn't claim to be a little family farm.

    You're over-thinking this. Go to the store, look at the package and decide if you want chicken that is raised on vegetarian feed and without antibiotics.

    That's it.

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  22. Readington Farms is American Humane Certified, which means it meets the American Humane Association standards for farm animals.

    Check out Americanhumane.org

    It's much more strict than many of the marketing terms companies like Perdue are using to fool people into thinking they're buying "good" chicken.

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  23. Thanks, Erin. I've noticed that on the packaging.

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  24. humane certified is important to me, there is no reason to torture animals prior to consuming them. Animals were at one point hunted. They were not forced to live this unnatural factory farmed lifestyle. They lived in their normal environments, and killed (usually) painlessly, and quickly.packing them like sardines, and not allowing them to engage in normal animal behaviors, is not right, and not food that I would want to eat.humane certified assures us that he slaughtering is human, they get fresh air, water food, sunlight,and normal animal activity.Makes me sleep a little better...

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  25. I agree, but still struggle with what is "humane" about killing the animal.

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  26. Dear - Joe Forsthoffer, Corporate Communications Manager, Perdue
    February 3, 2011 4:43 PM

    Please go and live in the chicken house and then come back and tell us how Perdue is treating chickens humanely.

    Dear readers,

    Being a manager, Joe must know what follows. Money is apparently more important to Joe than integrity, or he may even believe what he tells you. If my mom calls her kitchen a college, she can say I graduated college and write me up a diploma. I may even believe I am a college graduate. That doesn't mean that you'll believe that.

    See this article at CBS, entitled: Perdue's "Humanely-Raised" Chicken: The Latest Misleading Food Claim

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-44040837/perdues-humanely-raised-chicken-the-latest-misleading-food-claim/

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  27. For those who would like to purchase humanely raised meats and poultry, please consider those listed on one of these two sites. The American Humane Society affiliated site: http://www.thehumanetouch.org/ and http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/

    There may be more places to find good brands. These are just two I happen to know of.

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  29. I inadvertently removed a comment questioning whether Readington Farms chicken is antibiotic free.

    Readington Farms is a brand sold only at ShopRite, and it was introduced as the supermarket chain's antibiotic-free poultry.

    From the beginning, packages said the chickens were raised humanely on vegetarian feed and without antibiotics. I have no reason to question the claims.

    Perdue, on the other hand, continues to advertise its poultry on TV and in newspapers in a deceptive manner, usually by not mentioning antibiotics at all.

    On Friday, a Perdue tractor-trailer rolled by me on the New Jersey Turnpike with this motto painted on the side and back of the truck:

    "A family commitment to quality since 1920."

    That's meaningless.

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    1. Murray's chicken is labeled "certified humane raised and handled" This label is the only label to trust. Readington Farms is NOT the same. Please look up Certified Humane Raised and Handled to understand the system. Many labels are deceiving. We owe it to the comfort of farm animals and birds to be educated about proper labelling.

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    2. does anyone know if readington farms chickens are raised on a gluten-free diet, my wife and children suffer from celiac desease and if an animal consumes gluten in its diet my family is severaly affected

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    3. It is okay for a Celiac to eat grain-fed animal products.
      All (non processed) meat is gluten free. If the animal is fed a grain that contains gluten i.e. wheat or barley, the gluten is broken down during the digestive process (within the animal) and is not passed into the body tissues or any products produced by the animal. I have Celiac and have no problem eating grain-fed meats and chicken.

      http://www.gf-glutenfree.com/faq-frequently-asked-questions

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  30. My feeling about raising chicken humanely is it loses its value if ultimately, you are going to kill them.

    My focus is on the consumer and the impact on his health from eating harmful additives used to make them grow bigger and faster.

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  31. The big question that no one is asking is whether or not Readington Farm chicken is fed GMO or GMO-free vegetarian corn and/or soy?!?! I can't find the answer online. Can anyone tell me? I don't want to eat a humanely raised antibiotic free anything if it has consumed Frankenfoods (BT toxins)!!!!!

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  32. Maybe you and others should raise your own chickens.

    I looked at the Readington Farms package just now and the first thing listed is:

    "All vegetable diet."

    I'll try to find a number to call to find out exactly what that means.

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  33. "My feeling about raising chicken humanely is it loses its value if ultimately, you are going to kill them."

    I don't even know where to begin with that one. Simply put: While they're alive and can feel, don't make any animal suffer greatly.

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  34. It states :vegetable diet, No animal by product, Minimly processed *(meets AHA standards), No artificial ingredients*(meets AHA standards), No preservatives, No artificial growth hormones
    *Meets AHA standards
    **No artificial growth hormones (no explanation to the double asterix)
    ***Humainly raised (No explanation to what that actually means)

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  35. Chicken processors list "no growth hormones," even though government regulators ban them, so the statement is meaningless. The double asterisks are to direct you to that explanation, which is on the package in small print.

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