A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure to visit Yapunyah farm in rural Victoria.
Situated between Bendigo and Euroa, Yapunyah have acre after acre of beautiful land, covered with grass, shrubs and trees. Here is where Yapunyah Meadow Grazed chickens are raised – Cannings’ premium poultry offering. Upon arrival at the farm we were immediately treated to home-cooked lunch by our hosts Ian and Amanda McClaren. A lunch of beautiful roast chicken – from the very land on which we stood.
The McClarens have owned and operated the farm for over 12 years – and in that time have built up a loyal following across regional farmers markets, and devloped a reputation for amazing quality, rustic style chicken. Using a rotational grazing enclosure to protect the birds from predators, the chickens spend their days working their way across the fields foraging a pecking for food and roosting in sheds at night.
Being big believers in slow-food, Yapunyah’s method of raising their Ross Chickens reflects that ethos; – the birds are raised at a slower rate than regular free range chickens – allowing them to get bigger and plumper over time. This is why Yapunyah roasting chickens can weigh in at as much as 2.5-3kg. What’s amazing is that this is achieved in a hormone, GPA and GM free environment. The foraging diet balanced with a nutrient rich grain and the active lifestyles of these chooks allows for natural weight gain. Typically a bird at 3kg would be taste game-y or overly fatty – but not these chickens! It’s as if all the best things about chicken have been accentuated.
Our customers have often commented that “this is what chicken used to taste like”.
Being a small family run operation Yapunyah are first and foremost interested in perfecting their process rather than expanding. They produce a limited number of premium chickens that are coveted by a handful of restaurants and retailers in Victoria – of which, Cannings is lucky to be one. Our visit was a great opportunity to see an average day in the life of these chickens and observe them pecking and scratching around in the mud and grass – not like some pristine photoshopped prize hens, these chickens really do live on the land – and you can see how active and stimulated they are.
Cooking a Yapunyah chicken takes a bit more time than your regular roasting bird. Roast for 2 hours on about 170C and you’ll end up with a wonderfully succulent roast to feed 4-6 people – with left-overs!
Cannings stocks Yapunyah chickens year-round and we think they’re ideal for festive season if you can’t eat a whole turkey but need something more substantial. They’re also ideal for catering for bigger groups, so we urge you to try one and invite your friends. And make sure you keep the carcass! Yapunyah bones make for an AMAZING broth!