The Los Angeles Times Food section held a blind tasting of 14 birds, ranging from the standard supermarket kind to the organic, free-range, natural, heritage, air-chilled and kosher—they even tried two from a live poultry store. No clear winners, but they picked a few winners for different reasons.
They liked the organic, free-range chicken from Healthy Family Farms in Fillmore "for its flavorful meat and overall appearance," as well as Mary’s chickens from Pitman Farms near Fresno (available at Whole Foods), "for its texture, flavor and crisp skin." Most of the favorites were organic or fed special diets, and almost all were free-range.
Another factor was the air-chilled processing method, versus water-chilled. Both of the air-chilled chickens they tried, Mary's and Trader Joe's, received kudos for crisp and firm skin, "not flabby or flaccid."