Ever wonder how the concept of Easter Eggs came about? Seems almost as random as the fact that they get laid by bunnies! Really.
Do the words abundance and fertility and Spring give you a hint?
As many of our families know, during the darker winter months – December and January – we run short on eggs. That is simply because the hens don’t lay as many when it is not sunny. The same impulse as causes slowed growth in plants. So now when the sun begins to shine closer to 12 hours a day – our hens really start to produce. A burst of fertility and abundance!
You may also have noticed that we have three different types of eggs now, and that deserves some explanation.
I like to think of them as Good/Better/Best – so here is the rundown – and please notice that price is not necessarily a good indicator as we price based on what it costs the farmers to produce these eggs.
Best – Free Choice – these eggs are the healthiest you can get because the hens (and roosters) feed off of compost piles, bugs and pasture all year long. They get a minimum if any grain. (Black Dirt Farm give them 10% of their feed in organic grain) This is the diet that hens are suppose to eat – period. Do a taste comparison and also check out the color of the yolks. These are very healthy birds.
Better – Non GMO Eggs – These hens are out on pasture during the growing season and get the majority of their nutrition (70% – 100%) from conventional grain that is certified GMO free. Organic grain is also GMO Free by definition but much more expensive.
Good – Natural Eggs are also pasture raised during the growing season, and fed conventional grain at the same % as the Non GMO hens above. The type of grain is the only difference. Since GMO’s are so widespread now it is expensive to isolate the grain growing in such a way to prevent contamination so the grain is much more expensive overall.
What all our egg laying hens have in common are that they are free to roam around and eat what they like (sometimes that includes your new planting of pansies). But please understand – even our Good egg hens are far healthier than most all of the “free range” egg hens at the supermarket. The requirement to classify them as free range is that they have access to pasture. I can show you many eggs laying operations with not a hen in site on a bright sunny spring day. Just because they are not caged and there is a little door in a big confinement barn does not mean they are free to roam.
Happy Sunshine – eat lots of eggs!