Pastured eggs: Chickens are allowed to roam on pastures (grass, sun), eating plants, bugs and insects (their natural food), along with some feed. A more traditional farming method, usually found on smaller farms.
Cage-Free eggs: Chickens are raised without cages. Living conditions could still be enclosed and crowded. It’s best to do your research about the farm.
Certified Organic: Chickens are fed organic feed and raised cage-free with access to outdoors. Amount of time outside or living conditions are unspecified.
Free-Range eggs: Typically means the animal has access to the outdoors. The amount of time is not specified. Note: USDA has no regulations under ‘free-range’ for egg producing chickens. This means the labels is much like “natural” on food packaging. ‘free-range’ is a USDA term for meat producing animals.
Omega-3 Enriched Eggs: Conventional chickens that have added omegas in their feed, could come from flax seeds or other sources of omega.
Make sure to read the labels and read them with your kids, today, you can get a hefty amount of reading in, just from an egg carton.
Twenty years ago you could just go to your local farmer and buy eggs. After all, an egg is an egg, right? Today it’s complicated! Which is why our family has chosen more traditional farming methods, food the way it was meant to be.
Here’s why we decided to go local, organic and pasture raised…
1. Health benefits of pastured eggs
- Higher amounts of Vitamin A, B-12, D, E, K2, beta carotene, calcium, folate, riboflavin, zinc, choline and twice the omega!
- omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, & AA
- 10% lower in fat, 34% lower in cholesterol…not bad for you anymore!
- Since the chickens are exposed to sunlight they have more vitamin D that they pass on to their eggs.
- They are eating a variety of greens and passing on those nutritional benefits, as well.
*These benefits are compared to conventional, caged, eggs.
*This information came from a 2007 study by Mother Earth News and testing was administered by an accredited Portland, Oregon, laboratory.
2. Teach and Engage our Children
- Teaching children where our food comes from is an important part of their overall education and builds respect for our food and animals,
- Kids are more likely to eat the food.
- Visiting a chicken farm you will likely see all sorts of feathered friends. Some farms allow families to go inside the coops and pick their eggs. Your child will be able to see how farms feed and care for their animals.
3. Environmental Foot Print
- The biggest environmental impact from egg producing chickens is the feed. If they are eating a diet solely based on GMO corn, then theirs high negative impacts on our environment.
- If you choose to buy chickens fed organic feed, you are reducing the amount of fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on fields and seeping into our water and soil.
- Pasture raised chickens eat their natural diet and consume less feed, using less fossil fuels. They are also eco-benefits, such as pastured animals, do their own fertilizing and harvesting, which means the ground is covered with greens year round.
4. Support local and small farmers
- Your eggs will be fresh. Did you know you can sit your eggs on your counter? That’s right, I have a beautiful basket for my eggs. I keep them on my counter for up to two weeks!
- It’s safer for families to eat food raised close to home, theirs less chance of contamination and other food borne illnesses.
- Local foods are better for the environment and for us!
You will notice a difference in taste and texture, in a truly raised pastured egg, every time you crack your shell. From a deep orange yolk, that is plump and round, to milky egg whites. Yum! And sometimes I get two yolks! The kids love that!
Now that we know how incredible healthy eggs are….Eat up!
Here’s a site to help you find egg farmers in your community: www.eatwild.com