When I think back on the past 20 years, a lot has happened, besides just my receding hairline. In fact, 20 years ago this past summer is when I first met Ed Hill with Hill Family Farm. He showed up looking like a modern-day Viking. If you know him, he hasn’t changed much.
He introduced himself and told me how he’d been selling Hill Family Farm chicken at local farmers’ markets. What he offered was a big, plump bird as a result of the free-roaming philosophy he supported—the exact opposite of the industry at that time, which favored over-crowded conditions and yielded smaller birds. I told him we’d give them a try and let the customers decide.
Twenty years later, we haven’t looked back since. It’s clear that Flavor First prevails once again. He not only offers local chicken raised in Xenia, Ohio, that are free-roaming and fed a diet free of antibiotics and animal byproducts. But the chicken tastes good—rich in flavor and the perfect texture. It’s the kind of chicken you want to have at the table often, but especially when your entire family gathers around—something that gets harder to coordinate the older your children get. It’s a chicken that you know was raised with heart.
And when I think of Ed, I can say with certainty that he looks at anything he does—whether raising chickens or building a Viking longhouse (where he lived for much of the 1980s), as an art.
As we celebrate 20 years of working with Hill Family Farm, I’m grateful that Dorothy Lane Market is in the small circle that Ed & Joyce Hill provides chickens to, including a pocket of local restaurants. I’m also thankful to call Ed a treasured friend.