Nestled amongst an organic apple tree farm in the sunny Hawke’s Bay are a flock of happy chickens, housed in uniquely designed French chalets with access to freely roam and thrive on an organic, wholesome diet. Thanks to brothers Ben and George Bostock, we now have 100% organic free-range chickens produced with both the animal welfare and environmental standards top of mind, making them quite possibly the tastiest chickens in the country.
The Bostock boys share a passion for organic farming with healthy and safe growing processes. Their father John Bostock, pioneer of New Zealand’s commercial organic apple production, was their inspiration. They both grew up on the apple orchard and decided to start up something of their own, but rather than apples settled on chickens.
Ben set off to the United States to gather inspiration from one of the best organic farms in Georgia. “They process everything on a small scale which is really cool,” says Ben. The meat is then sold to high end restaurants in Atlanta and New York. “It was that whole artisan, small scale ‘from the farm to the plate’ which is what we wanted to do.”
They saw an opportunity where they could control the whole production process on their family farm. From 1 day-old, the baby chicks are nurtured throughout the growing process. They are housed in state of the art, solar powered ‘French Chalets’ that have windows to protect them and gives them access to freely explore the certified organic, lush green grass. Committed to sustainable farming practices, Bostock’s grow their own feed made from locally grown pumpkins, onions, apples, barley and corn. “It’s important to grow our own feed so that we know exactly what we’re feeding the chickens,” says Ben, “we also use the chicken manure to fertilize the ground before planting the next seasons crop.”
Welfare and quality are Bostock’s key focuses. “When we first decided we wanted to farm chickens I thought of doing just free-range. But after seeing 40,000 chickens being fed antibiotics in a shed and that being the SPCA free-range standard, it became very important that we had to establish an organic small scale system.” Their vision is to educate kiwi consumers about where their food comes from and the benefits of eating free-range organic chickens. “I think a lot of people think that free-range chickens are fed differently and the flock sizes are small, but they’re not.” Bostock’s chickens live twice as long as any conventional free range chicken and enjoy a better life being antibiotic free, hormone free, GMO free, chemical free, chlorine free and stress free!
If you’re in the Hawke’s Bay, you can get a taste of Ben and Goerge’s chicken at the Bostock Organic Kitchen. The menu changes weekly based on what’s in season and available from the farm or other local organic producers. Their favourite dish? “Anything to do with chicken of course!” Bostock’s chickens are also sought after by some of the best chefs in the country, including Al Brown. We’re very proud to stock Bostock’s for you at Farro!