I love my chickens. We probably have 50 chickens running around our farm and if you have ever thought about having a chicken or two (most big cities allow it) you should — they are fantastic. They cost about two dollars a piece (if you get them as day old chicks), take up very little space, can be a fun “pet”, eat bugs and table scraps, make very little noise, and provide food (win, win, win!). That said having 50 chickens (plus the 50 chicks that are currently living in my basement) is a bit of a challenge. Gathering eggs is a daily chore (plus finding where they have decided to lay their eggs is always a real fun game), washing, sizing, packaging, and taking the eggs to our local coop where we sell them, requires effort. Our eggs are a coveted commodity in our community, they are organic, local, and I’ve been told the best tasting…that said they are over $4 a dozen.
I’ve been thinking about this post a lot, because I’m not all holistic food crazy, I don’t think Kraft is the devil, (for my money kraft singles always have and always will make the BEST grilled cheese), I often indulge in baked lays and great value fruit snacks are almost always on my shelf. But I have drawn a line in my kitchen and something recently really struck me, plus Easter seems an appropriate time to talk about eggs.
A local grocer recently started highlighting all of their local products (which I think is FANTASTIC!) but they were advertising local eggs for 99 cents a dozen. While I am always looking for a great deal, living on a farm has taught me what it means to have 99 cent eggs.
It means that the chickens that lay those eggs will never touch the ground. It means they will barely have room to lay down because their cage will house three other chickens. It also means those chickens will be pumped full of hormones and antibiotics in order to ensure that they grow as fast as possible and produce as many eggs as possible. It really bugs me that a grocery store would go out of their way to advertise this type of operation as local, because while it may be within 100 miles of that grocery store, it is not what I would have thought of when I was a “normal mom” and so proud of myself for “buying local”. Having grown up in the suburbs I have a really unique perspective about how removed we have become from our food and those that produce it. The word “local” immediately conjures up visions of the red barn and the cute family all working together and living in the farm house, when that really might not be the case at all.
Like I said before I’m not perfect, not by a long stretch, (and I probably never will be) but I think better eating can start in small ways and eggs can be one of the first and easiest ways to support what we think of as a local farmer. So if at all possible please support a “true local” farmer. Go to the farmers markets, buy the produce, make a trip out to the farm. Real family farmers love to show anyone their operation because they are proud of the way they are raising their animals — and no it isn’t all roses — animals poop, (a lot) and animals are butchered, but other than that really bad day, the animals should be happy and respected and you should be able to see that. (Now jumping off my soap box).
In other news we got our first crop of spinach out of the green house this week (it is SO good — I’m already craving salad for lunch) and we had a new baby calf born last night.
It is my turn to name her so I am open to suggestions (hint, hint). Spring is in the air here and we couldn’t be happier. Blessings!