This morning I scrambled up some eggs for the kiddos. I had four eggs left from the store, which normally would be plenty for the three of us; but I was curious. So I went ahead and cracked up a fifth egg from a pasture fed hen. Can you tell the difference?
The light colored eggs are from the grocery store, and are organic free range (although a lot of people don't really subscribe to these eggs as they are still mass produced). The lovely orange colored egg is pasture fed, free range from a very happy hen. If the color of the yolk doesn't convince you, the hardness of the shell and the thickness of the white should also be mentioned as superior to the store bought eggs. All of these indicate (although I have no way of truly knowing) that the Omega - 3s in these farm eggs are much higher therefore a healthier egg. And the kicker, about 25% less in price than what I would pay for an organic dozen in the grocery store. Wow, that is a deal.
The other benefit to buying eggs from this family farm, the risk of these food borne pathogens that have been causing so much ruckus is basically nonexistant. Here is a great article talking about the Salmonella outbreak on the Iowa "family farm" that has forced the recall of millions of eggs. I just think it is an extremely sad state of affairs when your four year old can't be allowed to eat raw cake batter. What is the point of making a cake if you can't lick the beaters?
It isn't easy to come up with a source for pasture fed hens, but I know more and more people doing it. I found mine through my neighbor who is in a food co-op. Through this co-op she also has a source for farm eggs. I know that these aren't the most reliable eggs, in August through the 100 degree temperatures, the hens were unhappy and stopped laying. Poor hens, as a pregnant lady I totally understand. Also, I guess they will quit laying when it gets too cold. But still, if I can get these eggs 75% of the time, I am happy. If you want to find these types of eggs, just start talking food to your friends, family and neighbors. You might be surprised how many of them have found a source.
I have heard the argument often from conventional farming advocates, that there is no way that the food system could support everyone eating organic or pasture fed meat, eggs and milk. My first argument back to these comments is, not to worry! Conventional farming is killing us off fast enough that organic farming could scale pretty quickly, and those of us who it isn't killing it is simply sterilizing. So between infertility and premature death organic farming has a fighting chance. But that is a flip answer to a serious question. I need to do more research on this, because I do believe that in all actuality we make a surplus of food that big agriculture is constantly trying to get us to consume (via cheap fast food or by using the byproducts to make our clothes, paint our walls and fuel our cars). So I am not so sure that we need all of the corn and soybeans which completely dominate our food system. Many of these resources could be devoted to happier hens, healthier cows and local produce. This is a much bigger argument than I have time for on this Thursday morning, more on this later.