Mad Hatcher Poultry: Coho Restaurant’s Local Farm Feature

blue foot chicken close up

Farm to Table

Here at Coho Restaurant, we strive to provide our guests with the best meal they’ll have during their stay on our little island.  Over the years we’ve realized a few things. Our secret to ensuring high quality, fresh and delicious meals every time? Teaming up with local, sustainable producers for our produce, poultry and seafood.

In the past few years as we’ve started sourcing from these high-quality farms, we’ve had the pleasure of building relationships with the faces behind the product. We are starting this blog series not only to honor our local producers but give our guests a little insight into where their food is coming from. Farm to table, naturally.

Meet Bernie Nash – Poultry Farmer

Farm to Table dining on San Juan Island: Coho Restaurant
Nash (right) standing with colleague Riley Starks

This month we’d like to introduce you to one of our most interesting purveyors, Bernie Nash. Also known as “The Mad Hatcher” whose business Mad Hatcher Poultry provides our team at Coho Restaurant as well as our partnering inns, much of our eggs and chicken.

The nickname “The Mad Hatcher” has been with Nash since he was in grade school here in Washington State. Long before he was able to take the wheel, other boys his age had paper routes but Nash had an “egg route”. By age 13 he was hatching eggs and raising chicks right in his own bedroom! Running a fruitful business by selling them to local feed stores.

“I’ve always enjoyed farming,” says Nash. “Especially raising chickens.” Crediting his father, a cattle rancher by trade, for his love of agriculture. Nash was even named Washington State’s Junior Poultry Man of the Year in 1972 during his senior year of high school.

“I was awarded a national trip and even met Colonel Sanders himself,” said Nash. “So many great memories.”

Becoming the Mad Hatcher

In 2007, Nash officially created Mad Hatcher Poultry and began selling directly to restaurants. Now based in Ephrata (Eastern Washington), Nash raises a rare and sought-after breed of chicken. The North American Blue Footed Poulet Bleu. The Mad Hatcher’s Poulet Bleu’s are used in many of Washington’s finest restaurants. One of which is Chef Rene Erickson’s The Whale Wins – recipient of Seattle’s James Beard Award .

“The Whale’s [chicken] comes from a hero of poultry and game farming named Bernie Nash at Mad Hatcher Poultry in Ephrata, WA.,” said Chef Erickson according to the website Pouletbleu.com. “Bernie has been farming his entire life, and you’d be hard pressed to find a flock of birds finer than those he raises.”

Making the San Juans Home

Farm to Table Dining San Juan Island | Coho Restaurant
Photo by orcas-lodging.com

Around 2010 Nash came to the San Juan Islands due to a connection through other customers.  Here in Friday Harbor he quickly established a loyal clientele and began building relationships with local island chefs.

“The island people care about their food,” he says. “More so even than people in other areas of our great state.”

After working with different chefs here in the Islands, Nash noticed a few changes in the world of food service. “I have noticed that for most of the chefs, it’s important where the food comes from,” he says. “Knowing the farmers is important.”

In conclusion, our friend and colleague understands our heart for providing the best, freshest, local sourcing in our kitchen here at the Coho Restaurant and in our entire collection. If you’d like to try some of our dishes made using Mad Hatchers Poultry’s products, call us today to make a reservation or visit us online at www.cohorestaurant.com.

Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be staying at one of our properties, the Harrison House Suites or Tucker House Inn. In that case, just ask your friendly innkeeper who will be happy to make a reservation for you.

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