Ever since I became a parent, I had to start caring more about the food we eat. I admit, it was easy to eat crappy and not care where food came from when it was just me. But when you are responsible for other people’s diet and health, things change. You become pickier over the groceries you eat, where you eat out and what you cook at home.
Add to the fact that things are different compared to when your parents did the same, there can be a lot of confusion. The amount of information we have at our fingertips can be a blessing or a disaster.
One big change over the last few decades would be the transparency that many food vendors are trying to create about where their food comes from. Is is real? Is it good for the environment? Are the animals happy being raised just to be eaten?
Want to win a $100 gift card for KFC – check out the contest at the bottom of this post.
Farm fresh or farm-raised is all the rage and it’s not just the organic shops and local butchers that offer real, off the farm meats and veg.
When was the last time you ate at KFC for instance? We all have tried the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices and shared a bucket or two in our life. But did you know that chicken is the same chicken as you get at the grocery store and at your favourite restaurant? Yep, it’s real, right off the farm, never frozen chicken.
How do I know this? Well first KFC reached out to me to tell me all about how they want to debunk the myth that their chicken was not real. I never thought that. It got me wondering what people thought it was? Okay maybe I don’t want to know.
KFC wanted to show me firsthand where their chicken came from so I could share the stories with my readers.
The only way to do that, go to the farm of course.
On October 12th, a group of us got on a bus, hit the road to rural Ontario and had a day on the farm to see where all that tasty KFC chicken comes from.
I was pretty excited for the fresh air, the tasty lunch and of course getting a small look at the hard work our Ontario farmers do their whole lives.
It’s always reminds me how much of a city slicker I have become when I go a whopping two hours outside the city. I used to be a small town Ontario kind of guy. Now I am the guy taking a photo of a tractor like I just saw the Loch Ness monster.
Off to the Farm
We got to meet farmer Corrie Vantol and his entire family, which included his wife, their young daughter and the grandparents. It allowed a chance to really hear about 40 years of history producing chickens for Ontario. Amazing stuff.
The itinerary was pretty simple. Looking around the farm, chatting with the other people there, having a lunch prepared by TV chef Bob Blumer and finally seeing some of the inner workings of the chicken farm. Spoiler alert, I got to see 40,000 chickens all at once.
This farm was one of the farms that provided chickens directly to KFC. They are raised for that purpose. The chickens that don’t go to KFC, go to grocery stores and restaurants.
Are you believing the freshness yet? I was. My lungs will confirm the farm was real and so would my nose.
After looking around we all sat down for a lunch that was hosted by Bob Blumer. The chicken was made by KFC of course and the chicken was as fresh as it could be. The joke kept getting asked of where the chicken came from.
Bob prepared the sides as well as the stories. I never really watched Bob’s shows on the Food Network but I found his personal stories like raising his own chickens, very interesting.
He made a warm pumpkin soup shot to kick off lunch. Very tasty and warmed the belly.
To go with the chicken there was a kale caesar salad that I loved. I want the recipe. A little detective work taught me that this recipe is at the Gladstone Hotel, a place where Bob stays when in Toronto.
The chicken and salad were so good and fresh I only wish there was more.
For dessert we had a pumpkin brittle. Again, perfect for the fall day.
After lunch farmer Corrie took us on a tour of the facilities. You think they let anyone walk around their farm? Nope. I had to sign forms, wear plastic on my feet and did not even get to be in the same room as the chickens.
I found it amazing that a 27,000 square foot barn holding 40,000 chickens was quieter than my house.
I also found it amazing that all the work during the day was basically done by one person. Farmer Corrie. He did say he does try to take a day or two off during the year.
The jaw drop fact of the day for me was learning that a chicken can go from the farm to a bucket at a local KFC in under 24 hours. Once processed, they are never frozen. Never.
As Bob said, for those of us who eat a $17 chicken sandwich at some hipster joint, you are basically eating the same sandwich as you would at KFC. Minus the giant bearded guy taking your money. Crazy.
The whole point of the trip to the farm was to see first hand where chicken comes from. The same chicken I get at the grocery store. The same chicken I get at the butcher. The same chicken I smoke on my Big Green Egg. The same chicken our boys love to eat.
I am not saying KFC is the healthiest food on the planet. It is fried afterall. But the chicken that goes into that fryer is as good as it gets. That is important.
With people like Bob Blumer putting his name and reputation behind it, that really sold it for me. He has his own chickens! He knows.
So let’s stop making up stories about the meat that KFC is serving us. The chicken is real chicken from the farm. That’s important as I teach my kids about the food they eat and the hard work that goes into it.
To learn more about #KFCisforChicken, do read their stories, learn about the process and take a moment to appreciate the dedicated work our farmers put in every day.
Yep you read correctly. I am giving away $100 in cold hard chicken cash. It’s really easy to enter this contest and the winner will get a $100 gift card for KFC sent their way. So let’s get a winner, winner, chicken dinner.
It’s pretty easy. All you have to do is post a photo of yourself eating KFC to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure you add @likeadad so I know you did it. On Nov. 1 I will pick and annouce a winner. Easy? You bet. Feel free to share how it tastes as well.
This was one of the best parts of the farm trip for me. The personalized card that came with my trip package.
Just like the chicken, my opinions are also real. Yes I was compensated for my work with KFC, but my words are my words.