“Bruce Burton, farmer, wants us all to get a little nostalgic. He wants us to recall a time when roast chicken was … special.” – John Lethlean, The Australian

BRUCE Burton, farmer, wants us all to get a little nostalgic. He wants us to recall a time when roast chicken was … special.

He doesn’t need you to do this; the man behind what is almost certainly Australia’s most expensive chicken has no trouble selling his birds at $25 a kilogram (or, depending on size, around $50 plus a bird). He can sell every bird from his small Victorian farm four times over, such is demand for his tiny output of about 150 a month (and, for perspective, the cheapest fresh chicken at Coles is about $4.70 a kg).

No, he’s just part of a movement that wants Australia to stop thinking of chicken as a commodity and embrace the idea it can be something very special, again. The difference between leatherjacket and lobster, perhaps.

Hype? There’s reality behind the rhetoric. Burton’s chickens, raised under the Milking Yard Farm brand at East Trentham, an hour from Melbourne, are actually different. Entirely. Enter Michael Sommerlad, a NSW poultry consultant and breeder.

He’s the man behind the Sommerlad chicken that Burton, and a handful of “family farmers” around Australia, raise and sell to discerning buyers who can see the value.

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