Eggucation 101 & Veggie List 3/19,20/2011

Do you know the difference between a brown and a white egg?  The color. Some poultry breeds lay blue, green, red, spotted, speckled and dotted egg shells but the nutrition value is basically the same.  There are several different classifications given to eggs such as; farm fresh, all natural, organic, range and cage free. 

I thought the definition of range/cage free meant allowing chickens to eat bugs, worms, and weeds in beautiful sunny grassy fields but range free chickens are hens that produce eggs in confined barns and sheds without the use of battery cages.  Cage free is a term often used as another name for range free. 

Organic eggs are produced from hens that eat an all natural diet meaning they cannot consume genetically modified protein grains or animal byproducts.  All birds must be antibiotic and hormone free, unless there is an infectious outbreak. Most large scale producers do not always provide a good access to the outdoors.  Most build small wooden porches or concrete slabs that attach to the hen houses which passes as “outdoor access.”

Other than big grocery stores, many folks can buy eggs from neighbors, friends, back yard animal lovers or small farmers such as myself.  You can also go to your local farmers market and buy really fresh eggs. Eggs that have been collected every day, sometimes gathered several times a day, however; how do you know if the person you are buying your eggs from are fresh, all natural or even organic?  You don’t know unless you go to the site of where those eggs are produced.  

Here are some tips for buying eggs at a farmers market:

Ask the egg seller what breed of chickens they farm.  If they can’t answer that with conviction they are probably buying eggs from another source. It’s possible the vendor buying eggs from the farmer doesn’t know the farming practices of the producer. I can tell you the exact number of hens I have producing, each breed and my farming methods.

Ask what kind of food and grains they feed their stock.  Do you know if they say anything except certified organic then most likely they are feeding their flocks gentically modified soy, corn and other engineered grains?  That’s right!  The top selling poultry feeds and many others all have genetically modified products in their food.  If the egg producer says he feeds alfalfa flakes to his flock as another nutrient source, most likely that alfalfa is genetically modified.  Most alfalfa is round up ready meaning it is herbicide tolerant: Plants are given a gene that allows farmers to spray them with a chemical weed killer glyphosate, known to most as Roundup.  More recently, a new trait given to alfalfa is a gene from a soil born bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis. It allows plants to produce their own insecticide.  About 17% of biotech crops carry that gene.

The price of my eggs are not cheap.  In fact, I’m probably one of the most expensive egg producers here in Arizona but this is what you get for the price.

  • Certified organic feed is fed to all of my flocks, feed that is shipped to me from another state by a certified organic mill. 
  • The girls get all kinds of fresh greens and wheel barrow loads of beneficial weeds from my farm.
  • They live in clean pens with plenty of room where they can chase a butterfly that happens to flutter into their run.
  • All animal waste is cleaned and scraped from inside their nesting areas every day.
  • The red heads, zebras and white chicks also get certified organic scratch.
  • Fresh water, organic vinegar, macro and micro minerals along with fresh herbs make up the rest of their diet.
  • And you get a beautiful, healthy, creamy golden egg yolk that sits upon a thick pancake like white and the satisfaction of knowing you are eating smart and naturally.

Below is the veggie and vendor list: 

  • Heirloom Spinach Mix
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Assorted Turnips
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Green Garlic-an old Italian heirloom variety that has been in my family for over 90 years.
  • Beets
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Sweet Kale
  • maybe a surprise or two

Participating Vendors:

  • Our Little Farm-sugar snap peas and citrus
  • Chuck’s Urban Farm-all kinds of sweet citrus
  • Cupcake Cafe
  • Great Harvest Bread Co.
  • Joe the Fish Man-awesome salmon
  • Arizona Tamale Factory-huge tamales in all kinds of flavors
  • Sassy’s Salsa
  • maybe a new vendor or two