Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Chicken Choosin'

By Jennifer Kendall

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to visit Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, VA, for the fifth tasting in a series of tastings co-sponsored by ALBC. On the menu - CHICKEN! 10 different types to be exact. The purpose of the event was to allow chefs, foodies, farmers, media, and others to explore the differences in taste between various breeds of Heritage Chicken. (Breeds tasted: Dominique, Dorking, Speckled Sussex, Faverolle, Delaware, Buff Orpington, Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Buckeye, and Corn/Rock Cross for comparison)

Each chicken was raised at Ayrshire Farm under the same conditions. They were all raised on pasture and fed organic feed. They were all slaughtered at 16 weeks, with the exception of the Corn/Rock cross (would not live to 16 weeks).

The event was a blind taste test. Each breed was assigned a number. Tasters were asked to rate the chicken on a scale from 1-10 with 1 being the lowest possible score and 10 being the highest possible score. There were 3 categories that each sample was graded on: taste, texture and appearance. Each attendee was asked to pick their first, second, and third place choice based on highest score. As the results were being tallied, each bird was referred to by a number. It was not until all the results were in that the number identities were revealed.

Several celebrity judges also participated in the event, providing a more educated palette for the chicken tasting.

So, which chickens took home top honors?

Public Results:
First Place:
Second Place: Rhode Island Red and Corn/Rock Cross tie
Third Place: Dominique and Buckeye tie

Celebrity Judge Results:
First Place:
Dorking and Corn/Rock Cross tie
Second Place: Barred Plymouth Rock
Third Place: Faverolle

Over the next few days, I'll share more about the event. From the farm tour, to the identities of the celebrity chefs, to my own personal taste preferences. Stay tuned.


  1. Will there ever be the promised follow-up?

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