March 2015 Country Kitchen
Chicken. It’s such a staple in the American diet that almost any other white meat is automatically compared to it. We’ve all heard the saying, “It tastes like chicken!”
Perhaps chicken’s popularity can be credited to its versatility. We love it fried, roasted, smoked, grilled, in salads, on sandwiches and with all varieties of sauces, seasonings and sides. And thanks to dedicated farmers like Sandy Byrd, Americans have an abundance of chicken that is safe and affordable.
Sandy and her husband, Mark, live on a farm in Morgan County, where, along with their two adult sons, they grow corn, wheat and soybeans and raise cattle and chickens. Sandy is in charge of the family’s seven poultry broiler houses, a sunup to sundown job.
“We start thinking about slowing down after it gets dark,” Sandy says. “There’s no schedule around here. Most everything we cook has to be a quick fix because we all quit and come in at the same time, and everybody’s ready to eat. Most of the time, we pitch in together to get dinner on the table.”
Chicken, specifically boneless, skinless tenders, are always in the Byrds’ refrigerator. Sandy says they’re more tender than breasts and take less time to cook. But no matter what cut she’s using, Sandy feels good about putting chicken on her dinner table — she knows where it comes from and the dedication of her fellow farmers ensure its quality.
“If my chickens aren’t happy and healthy, they’re not going to perform, and I’m not going to be able to pay my bills,” Sandy said. “So my chickens are very well taken care of. Their climate is controlled as well as it is in my house.”