Friday, November 5, 2010

Organic Eggs

Eggs are a controversial subject in healthy eating circles. Some people don't eat them because they are vegan and I do respect that. Others don't eat them because of cholesterol issues. In today's market there are more reasons to not eat them than cholesterol. The type of chicken farming that happens today has significantly decreased the quality and the taste of eggs.

If you have chickens in your back yard, you are extremely blessed. Home raised chickens produce eggs of higher nutrient quality and just looking at one broken open you can see the difference in color and texture. But wait until you taste it, yummy! Eggs happen to be one of my favorite foods in the entire world... I'd rather eat them than ice cream. But eggs don't like me so well and when I can, I adapt a lot of my recipes for vegan.

But today on Facebook I ran across a post that Nutiva had shared and thought it was interesting. Those of us who do buy eggs that we think are healthy... well, maybe they are not!

I hadn't heard of the Cornucopia Institute before but they have this video that talks about egg farming and quality as well as an egg score card that scores various national and regional egg farmers on their care of and provision for chickens. Many of the places where I have purchased "organic eggs" receive a 1 egg score (which is the lowest). Many producers in my home state (Washington) receive high scores, 4-5 eggs, but very few where I live in California. For locals, it appears that Clover Organic Eggs (Clover Stonetta) and Wilcox Organic Eggs (they are west coast) and Organic Valley (Wisconsin - so they are trucked a long way) are the best choices at 3 eggs which is still considered "very good" on the scale. The big surprise for me was the 1 egg score for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Safeway's brands! I have purchased all of these eggs in the past.

Lately I have been purchasing from our local farmer's market, but I believe they are still a large producing ranch and I want to look into it further. They are called Haney's Egg Ranch in Ceres, CA. The eggs definitely do not look and taste like farm eggs but they are better and less expensive than many in the stores. Well, doing a little research while I'm writing this up, it doesn't look good. I found a website called California Factory Farms whose purpose is to give information on farms in the state of California known for confining animals. Haney's is on their list. Sad... I think there is the perception that if someone is at a farmer's market they are "healthy".

Some of you might not care about how the chicken is treated. I do, but aside from that, when the animal is not treated well, it effects the quality and nutrition of the food.

I sure would like to have chickens in our backyard but it is required to have 10k square feet or more and we are just under 8K.


blessedmama said...

Theresa, I'm so glad you're back! I just read your entire blog, and I love it. You have had so much growth, and you are so honest and willing to be vulnerable. Thank you for penning your journey, so we can all share and celebrate with you!

Deborah said...

It is good to see you blogging here again. And I couldn't agree more about eggs. I hate store eggs, even organic and free range. I like eggs from our back yard.

VaQueenBee said...

Yes, we are enjoying our backyard chicken journey. Our chickens started laying about 2-3 weeks ago and it's been fun. I never really thought I'd get attached to chickens, but they all have different personalities. We have 3 different breeds, and they are all a bit different in their actions. One is very compliant, one breed tend to be our escape artists, and the other (which I happened to pick out) are more aggressive and less agreeable. :) They are all fun though. Something I found out from my nephew this week is that the color of the chicken's ear indicates the color of her eggs. Brown eggs usually come from chickens with red earlobes and white eggs usually come from chickens with white earlobes. Thought that was interesting.