Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Egg-stra special Easter
Organic, farm-fresh, sustainable; hot buzz words in the food industry right now. More Americans seem to be more concerned with their health and the condition of the planet now, than ever before. Yes, I' am one of them.
My parents live in Central Florida and over the years I've traveled just about every back road that leads home. On one route in-particular, I would often see a handwritten sign reading "eggs". It was outside of a home in the middle of nowhere so I was a little apprehensive about stopping. However, after watching the documentary "Food Inc" the idea of buying from local farmers took on a whole new meaning and my desire to knock on the door of these strangers continued to grow. When I finally pulled into the long dirt driveway, I was welcomed like an old family friend and wondered why I had taken so long to introduce myself.
Look at how beautiful these eggs are! The colors of the shells indicate the breed of chicken. The eggs themselves are more flavorful than the mass produced grocery store variety. The yolks are perfect, bright yellow balls and the white is tender. My new friends use organic feed in the coops but also let the chickens run free-range at least one day a week. That combination is what gives the eggs such great flavor. It's a
good time to buy eggs from free-range chickens because the grass they ingest is at its peak in the spring and early summer.
Buying tips: Supermarket labels include “cage-free” and “organic” but these labels don’t specify what the chicken was feed or if the birds spent time outside of their coops. “Pasture-raised” isn’t a government-approved definition, but it’s generally accepted to mean that the chicken got most of its nutrition from foraging, with some grain to supplement.
When I visited my parents for Easter, I called on my new friends, hoping there would be some farm-fresh eggs left for me. I got the last two dozen and we talked about their chickens like they were family members. I think there may be another reason why these eggs taste better; the chickens are loved. I don't know to what depth a chicken feels but I have to believe these are happy birds.