Before you stop reading or hide this article from your kids, I want you to know that this kind of naked is family friendly. While I have respect for Burroughs as a writer, thankfully, Joyce Farms naked chicken is about as far as one can get from Naked Lunch – wholesome, straightforward, not dosed with foreign substances (true, but also another Naked Lunch joke), and something you’ll be glad to see your children ingesting.
Joyce Farms started back in 1962, but back then, it was called Joyce Foods. It was started by Alvin Joyce as a poultry wholesaler dealing with mom and pop type grocery stores. He was joined in the endeavor by his son Ron Joyce only nine years later. In 2010, it became a third generation farm when Stuart Joyce joined the ranks. If you’re wondering why this timeline is all about when various generations joined the farm, it’s all about Joyce Farms philosophy. They want to bring the best tasting chicken possible to the table, and they believe that comes from the best chickens raised by family farms who give the animals superb care. At Joyce farms, they know the heart of their business is their farmers, and the animals the soul.
Though it’s different than a typical definition of soul care, Joyce Farms takes great care of their ‘soul.’ As they say, “Happy, healthy animals produce the best meat.” And for the best meat, Joyce starts with the best breeds. To find the best breeds, they looked far and wide. As the business grew, so did their travels, and the people of Joyce Farms realized something: Americans were missing out when it comes to chicken. They felt that typical, US commercial stock was unsatisfactory, so they brought home old world breeds (like their increasingly well-known poulet rouge) and old school techniques.
When I say old school, I mean traditional, not conventional. Joyce Farms’ focus is on the comfort and health of their animals, and that involves several things. For starters, that means low stress environments with plenty of space. They get to move freely, spending life either free range or free roaming, and are free to seek shelter in climate-controlled barns to protect them from rain, snow, heat, and cold if they so choose. When they are indoors, they’re still free to roam, and are actually allotted twice the square footage of most ‘organic’ requirements. The chickens are allowed to what they want, and if they partake of the feed provided, you can count on it being germ free without antibiotics since they food is heated to kill any possible bacteria. In fact, no hormones, antibiotics, growth stimulators, or animal products are ever added to the chickens or their food. For the best for the chickens (and their final consumer), Joyce Farms allows their chickens to grow to maturity naturally and in comfort. Add to this humane care fitting to the highest standards and sustainable practices, and you’ve got a solid formula for the health and happiness of the chickens, and of the consumer, too (as far as eating chicken is involved). As they say, “everything we do, we do for the animals.”
And that’s the essence of what Joyce Farms does. OK, cool, so where’s the naked part come in. Easy. I’ve seen sweaters on dog’s and such, but as far as I know, chickens are always naked. OK, so maybe that has literally nothing to do with it. It’s really because Joyce Farms keeps their chicken as au naturel as it gets. At Joyce Farms, they don’t put anything unnatural, and the chickens aren’t put in little boxes or anywhere else they didn’t put themselves. Joyce Farms believes this is just part of the formula for great chicken, and I think they’re right. If you’ve tried it, you know what I’m talking about, and if not, there’s only one way to find out. To assist you in such an endeavor, here’s a great recipe from Papa Spud’s: