Are pasture-raised yolks always orange? If we're being honest, it depends.

How are farm fresh eggs different than grocery store eggs? Let me count the ways.

June 17, 2022

Farm fresh eggs. What's so special about them?

Eggs might be the most versatile item in your kitchen. It's hard for me to think of a recipe that doesn't contain them. And because they're so frequently used, I would argue that means it's important to get the highest quality eggs.

If you're buying eggs from us, you probably know that eggs are unfortunately subject to some of the most manipulative labeling and "greenwashing" that companies use. "Cage free" or "free range" eggs, as labeled in the grocery store, don't mean what they imply. There's lots of fine print and truths left unsaid.

But eggs, when raised right, are some of the most nutrient-dense and affordable products that you can buy. So let's talk about how to raise them right.

First, laying hens should be raised outdoors. Our laying hens are outside - 365 days a year, all day long. Protected by our poultry netting, they forage, scratch, and take dirt baths in fresh pasture. They lay eggs and sleep in our mobile coop, which is moved to a new area three times a week.

Second, laying hens should eat bugs. Chickens are omnivores, not vegetarians. Allowing them to eat bugs, worms, and other critters helps them meet their nutritional needs. As an added benefit, it also helps keep down the tick population - something that everyone should care about!

Third, laying hens should lay in accordance with their circadian rhythm. Using artificial lights to prompt chickens to lay by disturbing their circadian clock, as most big barn chicken facilities do, is destructive to the animal's health. Yes, chickens do lay less over the winter. And that's how it should be, as we practice better awareness for the earth's rhythms, rather than our artificial ones.

Fourth, laying hens should produce deep orange yolks. How do you know that an egg is truly farm fresh - and nutritious? It's in the yolk. Eggs are rich in selenium, choline, protein, folate and B vitamins - among many other nutrients. Not only do eggs help improve your "good" cholesterol, but they're also an excellent source of "brain food" to keep your brain healthy. Deep orange yolks reflect the quality of nutrition that you're receiving.

Finally, eggs should be clean - naturally. Cleaning eggs with water or soap destroys the natural "bloom" that hens leave on their eggs. Leaving the bloom on helps keeps eggs fresh - even on the counter! - and protects them from potential bacteria. Our "roll away" laying boxes gently roll the eggs away from hens, to keep them clean and fresh.

What did I miss? How do you like incorporating eggs in the kitchen? I'd love to hear from you.

Michelle Sroka

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