So I bought a $14 chicken the other day

By: Deon Roberts, editor//July 15, 2011//

So I bought a $14 chicken the other day

By: Deon Roberts, editor//July 15, 2011//

Listen to this article

… at the Davidson farmers market, the first time I’ve ever bought organic meat. No kidding.

Hey, it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

But more on my fancy fowl later.

The organic food industry has been growing in the U.S., as consumers, particularly young adults like me — I’m 33, born in 1978, the year the movie “Grease” came out — are more health-conscious than our parents and grandparents were. In defense of the old folks, though, they were warned less when they were growing up about the effects of smoking, too much sun, too little exercise and eating poorly.

I doubt that my mother wondered what was fed to the cows that produced her ground beef. It wasn’t her fault. Back then, there wasn’t all this talk about grass- vs. corn-fed beef. Back then, the word “organic” was rarely used in everyday conversation. You might’ve stood a better chance of hearing someone slip an Old English word — like “scip” (ship), “ac” (oak), “sweostor” (sister) and, my personal favorite, “giestrandaeg” (yesterday) — into a discussion before they would “organic.”

There’s no denying that people today are buying into this organic stuff, and it’s no doubt the result of gobs of media coverage of the issue. Documentaries like “Food Inc.,” which was a nominee for an Academy Award, are to blame, too.

For my generation, it’s in our face. At the grocery store, organic items are on every aisle, from organic yogurt to — no joke — organic ramen noodles. Koyo Foods is one maker of organic ramen, and its noodles are made from organically grown heirloom wheat.

Suddenly, a ramen noodle even a yuppie can feel good about eating.

Foods I ate as a child, like toaster pastries and peanut butter, now come in organic form. Is nothing sacred?

We’re assaulted with the organic craze at home, too; on TV, commercials remind us that we can buy organic food in the freezer section of our grocery store.

So, there’s nowhere to hide from it. It’s a choice we have to make: Feed ourselves and our children fruits and vegetables that are supposedly healthier for us and the environment, or go with the cheaper and –so we are warned — less-healthy stuff.

But it’s not as easy as filling up a cart with organic items. Going organic is not cheap, as my nearly $15 chicken shows.

And all that pricey poultry is adding up to feather-plucking insane sales for those in the organics biz.

According to June data from the Organic Trade Association, U.S. sales of organic food and beverages grew from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010. 2010 sales grew 7.7 percent over those in 2009. Organic fruits and vegetables had the highest growth in sales in 2010, up 11.8 percent over 2009.

Now that’s some food for thought.

And, get this: According to Organic Monitor estimates, global organic sales reached $54.9 billion in 2009 from $50.9 billion in 2008, the OTA says. The countries with the largest markets: the U.S., Germany and France. Meanwhile, the highest per-capita consumption can be found in Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.

It makes perfect sense that organic food sales keep rising. Humans, at least some of us, want to stay alive, and eating healthy helps us do that.

That’s why my wife and I checked out the Davidson farmers market on a recent Saturday. We checked out booths selling locally made honey and fruit and vegetables before we decided to buy some meat.

We chose to just get one chicken from the booth owned by Gilcrest Natural Farm, which is in Iron Station, N.C., just about 25 miles northwest of Charlotte.

I think my mouth fell open when I saw that we were about to pay $14.13 for one whole chicken weighing 2.97 pounds.

That’s $4.75 a pound. For chicken.

Don’t even get me started on gluten-free.

Editor Deon Roberts can be reached at [email protected].

Latest News

See All Latest News


See All Features


Will the Trump Organization ever go through with a purchase of The Point Lake and Golf Club in Mooresville?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...