05 June, 2010

Impoco Poultry Market, Springfield MA - And Fresh Guinea Fowl

A couple of days ago, commenting on my "chicken paws" post, reader Marc recommended that I stop at Impoco Poultry Market in Springfield.  I had no idea that kind of specialty store existed so close to me, but a quick Google check got me plenty of info - location, street view, Facebook page, business hours.  I made up my mind that I was going to get over there that afternoon, right after work.

Impoco Poultry Market is located somewhat off the beaten path, at 468 Walnut Street in Springfield.  The single-story concrete block building stands back from the road, behind a gated fence and a small parking lot.  Lynnafred and I arrived about an hour before closing time.

As we entered the immaculately clean sales room, we were greeted by owner Tony Impoco.  I asked about guinea hens, and he brought out a beauty, which had been killed, dressed, and drawn that very day, on the premises.  You don't get fresher poultry than that.

The market carries a good range of poultry which varies a little depending upon availability.  Chickens and soup hens are usually available, and guinea fowl, ducks, and geese are offered for sale as they come in.  Impoco's price for fresh local eggs are unbeatable, and there are often guinea hen and duck eggs for sale.  I'm keeping my eye on the Facebook page for the announcement when duck eggs come in.  They're the best for baking (larger and richer than hen's eggs.)  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, I bet Impoco is going to have some top-notch turkeys.

Tony is a friendly and interesting guy.  The time passed quickly as he told us about his grandfather's poultry market which had been located a short distance up the street when it was founded in the 1920's, and about his current operation which includes a Pioneer Valley poultry farm.  I wouldn't mind sitting down with him at a barbecue and sharing a few beers and a conversation about his trade.  But it was getting near to closing time by the time he wrapped up and weighed our hens and we said our goodbyes. Awesome place.  I can see I'm going to be a regular here.

Impoco Poultry Market
468 Walnut Street
Springfield MA 01105

Open Tuesday - Friday 9 - 6, Saturday and Sunday 9 -3


And now, a quick look at my guinea hens (Note:  Tony asked me if I wanted the heads and feet removed, and I said "no thank you."  I have plans for those flavorsome parts and to tell the truth, I am mighty pleased to find a place that leaves 'em on.)

Today, I will be trimming them a bit and giving them a brisk massage with a delicious and flavorsome rub before smoking them over a mixture of apple and citrus wood for a couple of hours. 

Click here to go to the post with the recipe and more pictures.



Unknown said...

Just wondering Dave have you cooked one of these before. I have heard they are really dry.
They have tons of them running lose near my folks house I have often thought about grabbing one and eating it, but comment from others have always made it sound like a waste of time.
Will you be bringing it at least?

Dave said...

Gene: Although the guinea fowl had less fat on them overall than chickens, they were not dry at all. There are actually areas of the birds that had more fat on them than chickens - such as at the end of the ribs where the breasts meet the thighs, and at the joint of the thighs and drums (both of these points have fat lines on them in chickens, but on the fowl they were much thicker and more pronounced.)

The meat was also denser than chickens and darker - even the wings and breast - likely because fowl are strong fliers and use their wings a lot.

As it turned out, I didn't brine them at all, but I did keep the smoker at a good low temperature, and they came out beautifully juicy and tender.

nuplar said...

Where did you post the photos?