What’s wrong with factory-farmed chicken?
The conditions of the conventional poultry industry have gotten so bad that we need an alternative here on the Big Island. Conventionally raised chickens come from crowded, filthy houses, with artificial lighting containing upwards of 25,000 chickens. They are routinely fed antibiotics and other growth promoting additives and receive several chemical baths during processing to remove the fecal contamination that is inevitable in mechanized processing lines. There are also severe environmental impacts when manure overloads are generated, polluting surrounding land and water. On top of all of this, the farmers who are actually working to raise the chickens are making very little money, while the vertically integrated poultry corporations are making record profits.
How do we raise our chickens?
Our Cornish Cross chicks are hatched by Asagi Hatchery, in Oahu, and shipped to us via Hawaiian Airlines cargo the next day. We are now also raising Freedom Ranger chicks from a mainland hatchery who developed the breed from French label rouge genetics. The chicks are raised for 2 weeks in a brooder, which keeps them protected and warm when they are very small. We use Korean Natural Farming IMO on the floor of the brooder to ensure a healthy population of microorganisms, which minimizes disease problems. We order certified organic feed from Modesto Milling in California, who source their grains domestically and test regularly for GMO contamination. Fresh grass is cut and carried to the young chicks from day 1, so that they can get the benefits of vitamins and minerals from fresh greens during their time in the brooder.
After 2 weeks, they are big enough to be moved out to pasture. They are placed in floorless 10x12 portable pens, which are moved daily throughout our 5 1/2 acre pasture. The pens provide shelter from the elements and protection from predators, while allowing them to eat green grass and bugs and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. With daily moves, the manure is spread evenly which increases the fertility of the land without overloading it. We continue feeding certified organic feed throughout their 7-10 week grow out period (depending on breed and desired size of processed chickens). Although we are not "certified organic" and therefore not allowed to put it on our label, we follow organic methods including no use of chemicals on our pasture besides occasional fence maintenance, which is done when chickens are not in close proximity. We feel that we have a close enough relationship with our customers that certification is unnecessary, but would be happy to provide feed receipts to anyone upon request or let you peek in our storage shed that's always stacked up with organic feed bags.
When they are big enough, the chickens are slaughtered respectfully and carefully hand processed on the farm with strict sanitary protocol to ensure the highest quality of our product. We are proud to be the first farm in Hawaii that was approved by the USDA to operate under the 20K birds/year exemption. This means that we are exempt from having a USDA inspector present every time we process. The Hawaii Dept. of Health has also recognized us as an "approved source" and we have a state food establishment permit. This allows us to legally sell straight from the farm, at farmer's markets, to restaurants, and through retail stores.
Whole dressed broilers are available for pick up directly from the Keaau farm on processing days. They will be bagged and waiting on ice in coolers. This is a great time for you to come visit our farm and see how the chickens were raised. We are happy to offer this opportunity for people to connect to where their food comes from.
We have also added a Waimea pick up location at the Kohala Center parking lot once every few months Monday early evenings.
Where else are they available?
In addition to on-farm pick up, our chickens can be found at the following locations:
Dimple Cheeks Farmer's Market (Mt. View, Big Island)
Located before the Hilo Coffee Mill on the mauka side of Hwy 11 between the 12 and 13 mm, this is much more than your typical fruit and veggie stand. Maria has a very wide assortment of local and mostly organic produce, macnuts, oils, breads, eggs, meats and now she even carries our very own local chickens for your shopping convenience.
Island Naturals (Hilo, Pahoa & Kona, Big Island)
All Island Naturals Stores now carry Punachicks chickens and livers so look for them in either the fresh or frozen section.
The Locavore Store (Hilo, Big Island)
Visit the new Locavore Store that has moved from Pahoa to Hilo Bayfront. Unlike every other healthfood store, everything they offer is LOCAL!! How cool is that? They have the widest selection of Punachicks products, currently stocking whole chickens, liver, hearts, gizzards, and feet.
Healthways II (Waimea, Big Island)
Located in the Parker Ranch Center, Healthways carries a nice assortment of organic and natural foods and other products. Carrying whole frozen chickens & livers.
VJ's Butcher Block (Haleiwa, Oahu)
Specializing in local, organic, all natural & GMO-free meats. Located on Oahu's North Shore in Haleiwa town.
VJ's Butcher Block (Kahului, Maui)
Specializing in local, organic, all natural & GMO-free meats. New location in Kahului.
Waimea Butcher Shop (Waimea, Big Island)
This small town butcher shop sells only Big Island raised meats, which is really unique. They believe very strongly in supporting local farmers and have been a great partner to us. Stop by to try their delicious lunch specials, which usually includes a creative sandwich combination and chili made with local grass-fed beef.
Kona Butcher Shop (Kona, Big Island)
Kohala Village Hub (Kohala, Big Island)
HUB PUB provides meals and beverages featuring local produce and flavors of Kohala in their global dishes. They work with local farmers and value-added producers to provide 'ono grindz grown from our Kohala 'āina (land).
Moon & Turtle (Hilo, Big Island)
This is an awesome restaurant that features fresh local ingredients on their always changing daily menu that is built around what's fresh and interesting at the market that day. Check out their facebook page to see a sample of their offerings. They are located on Kalakaua Ave just above the old Kress Theater.
Kalani Oceanside Retreat (Kalapana, Big Island)
Promoting health and wellness, this retreat is located in beautiful Kalapana. They provide community meeting spaces and strive to use local products in their kitchen and support local farmers.
The Beach Tree Restaurant - Four Seasons Hualalai (Kona, Big Island)
Humuhumu Restaurant - Grand Wailea (Maui)
Bistro - Grand Wailea (Maui)
Hotel Wailea (Maui)
Tsukada Nojo - (Waikiki, Oahu)
Artisenal noodle, nabe, and small plate concept from Japan. "Nojo" means farm and they are serious about sourcing the freshest ingredients from local Hawaii farms. The chef has been to our farm several times and our chicken is used in many different menu items. We had the pleasure of stopping in to try some of the food during their first month open. This place is absolutely amazing!
Matsumoto Restaurant - (Waikiki, Oahu) - COMING SOON!
The concept of the restaurant is to highlight the fresh ingredients found daily from multiple sources around the island, including the Hilo Farmer’s Market. - See more at: http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/full-moon-cafe-restaurant-aims-reinvent-itself-under-new-ownership#sthash.jdTTtIVB.dpuf
Our goal is to build our business to suit your needs. We are trying to do our part to promote a thriving local food system and need your help to make this farm successful. It does take more effort to buy your food directly from a local farm, but you can be sure that you will be rewarded with a very high quality product and personal connection to the food on your plate.