Kim and Roger
I love Alan Benson's portrait of regenerative farmer, Kim Kiss, with Sommerlad breeding rooster, Roger, taken for our book 'The Ethical Omnivore'. Kim's steady, piercing gaze is curious and compassionate but also absolutely unflinching. No wonder Roger the Magnificent, the elder statesman of the breeding roosters, is so calm in her arms. They both look so utterly of and in their place.
Yesterday morning, Kim's husband and farming partner, Bryan, arrived with the fortnightly delivery of fresh Sommerlad chooks, killed on the farm on Monday. Small scale, on-farm poultry abattoirs are as rare as hens' teeth in Australia but the Kisses installed a processing facility in 2019 and now, instead of packing into a truck for a two or three hour road trip, the Sommerlad chooks only travel a few paddocks' distance when their day of reckoning arrives. A huge improvement and reduction in stress for both chickens and farmers, that also delivers a better quality finished product.
All of this - our relationship with the farmers, the vitality of the birds, the diversity they add to a genetically monochromatic chicken industry, the way on farm processing further shortens the supply chain, the enthusiasm and support of our customers - never ceases to inspire and delight us.
You can read about Grasslands Poultry and the Sommerlads in The Ethical Omnivore. Or you could buy a Sommerlad chicken and find out why those who try them never go back.
Or, if you're really keen (and why wouldn't you be), you could do both.
Here's Kim's comment on this post.
"I remember this day, it was in the middle of the big dry and it was so nice to have Laura and Alan the @featherandboneprovidore team here at the farm. Roger is such a wonderful rooster and still going strong, he is major part of our on farm Heritage Sommerlad breeding program."