The incredible edible egg.
It’s a simple food, yet complex in the way it’s produced. These days, you can find standard grade eggs at the grocery store in addition to brown eggs, free-range eggs and organic eggs. What’s really the best choice? Today, we’re going to help you decode some of these terms and understand the differences between farm-fresh eggs and grocery store eggs.
Organic means that the chicken feed is made with organic ingredients.
Pastured/free range means that they have access to the outside/fresh air where they can run around and be chickens. Chickens do have to be protected from predators, so there is a limit to their ranging. All pastured/free range chicken producers that we know have some kind of barrier to prevent predators from attacking their chickens.
Compare this with what are known as battery-cage systems, which are how cheap supermarket eggs are produced. In the United States, 90 percent of the chickens laying eggs spend their entire life once they are grown to egg laying stage in the same cage. When the chickens are culled (because they are sick, old, or when chicks, after they are sexed), one of the ways used in convention production is to throw them – alive – into a large grinder.
Chickens in these situations are so miserable that they will often peck themselves or their cage mates to death. (There are typically more than one chicken per cage.) A typical cage is about the size of a filing cabinet drawer and contains eight chickens. Most of the time their beaks are often trimmed off.
The conventional egg production system is gruesome, cruel, and inhumane.
So when you buy eggs in the store, that’s the kind of production system you are paying for. As a result, the quality of the eggs is not anywhere near what you get with pastured chicken eggs. Early in the Co-op history, someone called and said that her eggs she received on delivery day were spoiled. We asked what made her believe they were spoiled and whether they smelled. She said no. Then we asked how she knew they were spoiled. She said, “Because the yolks are a dark yellow color.” Those eggs were not spoiled; that’s what you want in a healthy egg from a healthy hen.
In honor of eggs and the healthy way they should be raised, we wanted to promote one of our egg Producers, Crack of Dawn Farm. We have several egg Producers and this is just one of them. After reading this story, take a few moments to get to know all of our egg Producers and their business practices.
Meet the Producer: Crack of Dawn Farm
Owners: Steve and Linda Nicklas
Location: 23411 St. Hwy. 74 / Purcell, Okla.
Nicklas is a retired teacher who has always had a passion for egg production (probably due to being introduced to poultry at a very early age in life). Now is it’s time to fulfill the dream of having a productive, egg laying flock. Crack of Dawn Farm strives to produce eggs as naturally as possible by allowing the hens to be free-range each day from dawn to dusk. They receive a supplemental ration with no chemicals, steroids, hormones or antibiotics is made available. We provide them with secure housing, a roosting area and nest boxes.
We look forward to serving you soon!