Update 11/2018: I used Zaycon Fresh for years, but, sadly, they closed doors in 2018. Therefore, this post is no longer relevant. I have hopes that they will one day re-open, but it, frankly, may never happen. In the meantime, check out Butcher Box. It’s pricier than Zaycon, but they ship incredibly high quality meats–straight to your door! Also see my post on 6 Alternatives to Zaycon Foods for Affordable, Quality Meat.
Disclosure: This is not a monetarily sponsored post, but I did receive a free box of chicken. All opinions are my own.
A passion of mine is teaching families how they can live healthfully on a budget. Meat is one of the most important food items to buy, and many families today are looking for how to save money on meat.
For several years, my family lived on less than $20,000 per year net income. (Yes, it really felt like I was a stay-at-home mom who could barely afford it!) But it was around the same time that I began my natural living journey.
It was incredibly frustrating to know what I needed to feed my family but not be able to afford to do so.
Sometimes, we simply have to compromise. When we can’t afford all organic, we focus on buying whole, real foods instead. We strive to buy hormone and antibiotic-free meat, as we feel like this is especially important.
Still, our food budget drains away much too quickly.
A few years ago someone introduced me to Zaycon Fresh. The company is a buying club of sorts (except there are no extra fees–ever!) that delivers to locations all over the U.S.
They specialize in fresh-from-the-farm meat and offer some produce as well.
The Zaycon Fresh delivery man was ready for us when we arrived to pick up the chicken!
Zaycon’s customers choose them for three reasons:
They only sell what they eat themselves — high-quality, healthy food products.
The company offers fresh, high-quality retail food products sold for wholesale prices.
3. Customer Service
Zaycon has exceptional service all along the way, from order to reminder to convenient, efficient pickup. (Speaking of reminders, Zaycon sent me both email and text reminders to make sure I didn’t forget to pick up my chicken!)
Their most popular product is their fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts–which contain no hormones*, additives or artificial ingredients. The chicken comes directly from the farm and is never frozen.
They sell the chicken in 40-lb. boxes–for only about $1.79 per lb.! (In contrast, the chicken breasts we buy at BJ’s are nearly $4 per pound. Check the prices before ordering…they fluctuate but are generally MUCH cheaper than at the grocery store!)
I had the opportunity to try out a box of their chicken about a month ago.
One big question I had from Zaycon was whether or not their chicken is also antibiotic-free. (And I knew this was a question you would have as well!)
*It is illegal to sell chicken with hormones in the United States. All U.S. chicken is supposed to be hormone-free.
This is what a box of 40 lbs. of chicken breasts looks like.
This is what Zaycon told me about the quality of their chicken:
“They are non-caged, antibiotic-free chickens. They just aren’t certified organic because the farms opted to keep medicine on-site for the ones who get sick.”
The company went on to explain:
“Antibiotics are kept on-hand in case a chicken gets sick. If a chicken is sick and is treated with antibiotics, it is not processed until the antibiotics are out of its system. As of now, meat can’t be classified as ‘certified organic’ unless there are absolutely no antibiotics on-site. But they are not given antibiotics for any other reason that if one of them gets sick.”
When I asked about GMOs in their chicken feed, they told me this:
“We can’t say non-GMO because the farms can’t ensure that all the corn feed they receive is non-GMO (due to cross-contamination, etc).”
I was actually really, really satisfied with this answer.
The stark truth is that not everyone can afford organic, antibiotic-free, cage-free chicken. As my husband said the other day: “Until someone has my budget to work with they cannot judge the food I buy.”
We do the best we can with what we have. I know a lot of you are in the same boat.
From my research and interview with the company, I really see no difference in Zaycon‘s chicken and the antibiotic-free chicken I’ve been purchasing at BJ’s (where the label says the chickens eat a vegetarian diet, and I have always assumed the feed is probably full of GMO corn/soy. So we’ve compromised).
OK–there is one big difference: the price.
If you are looking for a good, affordable, fresh, quality chicken option, Zaycon may be for you!
Note: You can only buy the chicken in 40-lb. cases. There is no maximum amount that you can buy, but you obviously will need the space for at least 40 lbs. (which is the size of the box in the kitchen counter picture above).
We do not have space for that much chicken at one time, so we are using my parents’ chest freezer. You can always choose to go in with a friend as well!
The chicken breasts themselves are HUGE. I asked about the size, and this is what the company told me:
“We also request only Jumbo-Sized chickens. So when the plants are processing the animals, they box the biggest ones for us. Some people see how big our chicken breasts are and wonder if they are genetically modified or filled with solution. But they aren’t. We just get the jumbo ones.”
They do NOT come individually wrapped or pre-trimmed, so you will have to do that. It took me about an hour to bag all of mine up in freezer bags. Two chicken breasts are plenty to feed my family of 4 eaters (and my girls eat just as much as the adults do!)
Other products Zaycon offers include:
- fresh 93/7 super lean ground beef: LFTB Free (no pink slime), cattle have a grass diet which is supplemented by grain only after they reach approximately 700 pounds, no hormones or antibiotics, 100% grown in the USA, no chemicals, additives, or water added to meat during processing. Prior to processing, inspectors from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service randomly sample cattle under a monitoring plan and perform testing for antibiotic residues.
- premium hickory-smoked bacon
- non-homogenized whole milk from a family farm in Spokane, Washington: We are dairy intolerant in our family, but I was SUPER impressed with the description of their milk. Not only does it come from cows on a family farm, but the cows are grass-fed, only given antibiotics if sick (and then not milked until they test negative for antibiotics), free of GMOs, low-temp. pasteurized (they explain on their site why they are not legally able to sell raw milk).
- bacon-wrapped pork fillets
- fresh strawberries (not organic)
- beef franks
- Polish sausage
- pork loin ribs
- pork sausage links
- catfish filets
- turkey-breast roast
- wild Alaskan code fillets
- wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets
All of Zaycon’s prices are on their website and vary per “event,” as they call the days when they deliver certain products to areas nationwide.
Most events only carry 1-2 of the products. For example, the event I attended only offered chicken. We arrived, and the man checked us off the list and transferred the 40-lb. box directly from the delivery truck to our van!
You can sign up for a Zaycon account here.
Don’t worry…they will NOT ask for your credit card, and you will NOT have to buy anything. Having an account just allows you an easy way to place orders, keep up with events in your area and collect referral points. You can earn Zaycon credits with each new customer you refer: $5 the first time they order and pick up at a sales event, $1 every order after that. There’s no limit to how many friends you can refer and how much you can earn!
As well, Zaycon has an amazing fundraiser program! For every new customer your group refers, Zaycon will donate $15 to your cause! Apply for fundraising opportunities here.
If you register for an event (place an order), I would do so as soon as you know Zaycon is coming to a town near you because their events fill up FAST! I get their newsletter, so I know ahead of time when they will be coming and what products they will be offering. I want to try their beef next!
Find Zaycon Fresh on Facebook here.
Here are some of the recipes we like to make with our Zaycon chicken:
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free box of chicken. I have also used my referral link, so I will earn $1 in Zaycon credits for every person who places an order. It’s not a lot, but, hey, every little bit counts, right? If you sign up, go ahead and get yourself a referral link and start earning points toward a purchase! All opinions are my own.