..The chicken or the egg? After numerous debates, exhaustive amounts of scientific studies, and continuous philosophical discussions; has any one person 100% proven which preceded the other? It appears as though some believe they have solved this age-old question. However, I have a sneaking suspicion we don’t truly know the answer to this question. And, maybe it is best we don’t know. What we do know, is that eggs are delicious. Even more so, when they are produced by happy, hens.
Happy hens have access to their natural environment, they get to play in the dirt, and hunt for bugs. As well as, enjoy a safe, soft place to lay their eggs and receive good quality food. Happy hens live at Blue Sky Organic Farms and they create rich golden yolks. This notable difference from grocery store eggs may be from the non-GMO, organic feed we provide them, which does not contain soy or corn or any animal by-products. Or perhaps it is from the copious amount of organic greens they are provided throughout the day. Or maybe, it is just because they know how much we value them; all 300 of them! Yes, 300! Perhaps even more. Have you ever tried counting a huge flock of lively chickens? It is no easy task. These beauties are lively all right, you may even see them running around the farm looking for more bugs to hunt out. If you see one out of their pasture while visiting the farm, do not worry they know where their food is and will always return to their open-door coop.
While most are lively, we do have a few seniors at the farm. We like to refer to them as our retirees. As a chicken gets older, egg production slows and eventually ceases completely. Most egg producers cull (end the life of) chickens once they are no longer productive layers. We do it differently. Because we spend hours a day interacting with our chickens, we bond with them. We take the time to pet our birds and even name some of them. This bond is strong, and they can safely live out the span of their natural lives, at Blue Sky. When one of our birds is fatigued or ill, we take the highest level of care to rehabilitate them. It is important to be kind to the animals that provide us with such gifts. For this reason, we also do not de-beak any of our birds. This is an unfortunate reality for most egg laying hens within the commercial industry. As well as, practices that force molting, and alter their perception of the natural weather patterns to promote higher egg production.
When you see phrases like “natural” and “cage-free” at the grocery store, this sounds nice, yet these terms may not have much merit. For example, both the cage-free and free-run titles prohibit the use of cage confinement, but often these birds have no access to sunlight, a necessity for all life, or access to natural environments. Popular phrases used when marketing eggs are often not certified and non-regulated catch-phrases. Leaving the consumer to purchase with blind faith that the egg producer is truthful.
Here at Blue Sky Organic Farms, we want you to feel confident that you are truly receiving exactly what you expect. That is why we go the extra step and certify our eggs. They are certified organic and certified nest-run. Wait, what does nest-run mean? It means our hens have nest boxes to lay eggs in, plenty of free-roaming space, roosts, open door coops, pools of water, and the ability to peck through dirt for bugs and take dust baths. The USDA Organic certification is the benchmark certification in the USA at the Federal Government level for all organics. The standards are strict for meeting the requirements for this title and encompass everything from housing and land regulations to feed and materials approved.
As you can see, a great deal of care is taken to produce Blue Sky’s Organic eggs. We strive to produce the best eggs, while also providing a haven for our chickens. To get your hands on a dozen of these multi-colored gems, pop into our Farm Store, or add them to your CSA Farm Box delivery for the week. We also bring limited quantities to the farmer’s markets we attend. And, when you receive your dozen don’t be surprised when you see that they are room temperature. We do it like the Europeans and keep the natural protective coating on.
This coating is often referred to as the “bloom” or the “cuticle”. Mother nature is always one step ahead and planned for possible bacteria exposure. The natural bloom is liquid and coats the egg as it is laid. It dries within minutes, thus protecting it. When the egg is exposed to moisture it disrupts the natural bloom, making the egg porous and susceptible to bacteria. Tens of thousands of pores are on the surface of a single egg, so the loss of the bloom (protective barrier) allows bad bacteria the opportunity to enter the egg and simultaneously forces needed water and oxygen out of the egg. This is important to note, because if you are buying refrigerated eggs at the grocery store and then taking them home in an AZ heated vehicle, the eggs will immediately begin to sweat. This condensation facilitates growth of bacteria on the shell, and without the protective bloom barrier, the bacteria can enter through the porous egg shell. Overall, unwashed eggs with the bloom intact is safer, and needs only to be rinsed off right before you crack it. They can be stored on your counter top for weeks. That is if they last that long before you gobble them up!
And, gobble them up you should, as eggs are particularly rich in antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin). Both, collect in the retina of the eye and protect against macular degeneration, as well as cataracts. All 9 essential amino acids can be found in eggs, and they have a high concentration of vitamins and minerals such as iron, phosphorous, selenium, vitamins A, B12, B2, AND B5. And, they are one the best sources of choline, which supports brain health.
What are you waiting for; the conclusion as to whether the egg or the chicken came first? Forget about it! More importantly, I leave you with this question; how will you prepare your farm fresh, certified organic eggs from Blue Sky? Now that is a question worth pondering.