Green Chicken and a Black Farmer
I have a few chicken-related things of interest to tell you. Firstly—very exciting news—the hens that I bred from my longbar cockerel and leghorn hen are now laying, and the eggs are blue. I was so hoping they would be, so I am very happy!
However, the green chicken from the title was not so good (but you must read to the end to understand). I had invited Mum for dinner, and was chatting (well, listening) and carving the chicken, when I saw what looked like a green pellet embedded in the breast. I dug it out, and it was soft, and green and looked as if it had been somehow injected into the chicken. I only buy organic chicken, so I was somewhat perturbed, and fished the wrapper out of the bin.
The chicken came from The Black Farmer and there were contact details for their customer service, so I took some photos of the green lump and fired off an email, asking whether we would now die from eating green-pellet-poisoned chicken. (I didn’t actually phrase it like that.) I received a reply very quickly, assuring me that they do not inject their birds with anything like hormones, and asking me to send the lump. However, the following morning, before I had time to package the green lump (what a fun activity that would have been!) I received another email. The helpful customer services person informed me that further research had found that the lump was probably something called Oregon’s/green muscle disease. It wasn’t harmful, and occurred sometimes in the muscles of chickens if they flapped their wings too much.
I checked online, and there were pictures showing exactly what I had found, as well as some photos where great swathes of chicken meat were green. It is something to do with the muscles not having enough oxygen, and I have no idea if it’s uncomfortable for the chicken but it looks horrid when you carve your Sunday lunch.
I was very impressed with The Black Farmer producer—they had replied promptly, done some research, and offered to refund my money. As we had already eaten the chicken and I was feeling pleased with the service I had received, it seemed unnecessary for them to send a refund, so I suggested they put it into their charity box. They support the Mary Seacole Trust, which I had never heard of. I decided to look up both The Black Farmer and Mary Seacole—because I was interested by what seems to be a very well-run company.
To my surprise, The Black Farmer is in fact…a black farmer! I had assumed it was simply a name, like ‘Green and Black’s’ (though maybe that is also run by a black man and a Martian). The farmer is called Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones (great name) and he was born in Jamaica and grew up in Birmingham, UK. He had various jobs, but when he was 40, he bought a farm in Devon. This is a man I can relate to, I wish I had bought a farm in Devon when I was 40. He seems to do lots of good things, like running a scheme for inner-city kids to experience farm life, and he has won awards. Plus he seems to run a very good business. You should look at his website—you will be impressed I think.
I had another surprise when I investigated Mary Seacole—why had I never heard of her?
Mary Seacole was also born in Jamaica, then moved to England in the 1800s. During the Crimean War, she went over to help, because she had some nursing experience from her days in Jamaica. She opened an hotel near to the frontline, and nursed injured soldiers. Now, I knew that Florence Nightingale did that, but I had never heard of Mary Seacole. Apparently, she was very famous in her day, appeared in magazines and newspapers and was heralded as a hero. But after she died, people forgot about her. There is now a statue, set up in her honour, at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London.
I hope you discover some interesting facts this week too—and hoping all your chicken is free of green!
Thanks for reading.
Love, Anne x