Know What's in Your Food

Promoting awareness and change about the food we eat, and where it comes from.


2 Comments

Earth On Tap

I visited my local farmers market this morning and found a wonderful treat! ūüôā

Earth On Tap Organic Juice

 

Earth On Tap is an organic juice company that is locally owned. They use all organic vegetables and their juices are made with no oxygen. This means these fresh juices stay fresh for 5 days in the fridge…but I have to admit I drank mine with in minutes. ūüôā It comes in a reusable glass container. I will refill it with my own morning fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I love products that are organic and local. When I find these two paired together, I have a hard time not sharing. ¬†I will be back next week to support my local farmers market. ¬†I hope everyone will do the same.

You can locate Earth On Tap by clicking here.


1 Comment

Organic Egg Farming Versus Factory Egg Farming

Farmers' Market

Farmers’ Market (Photo credit: NatalieMaynor)

This past weekend I got up early, and I went to my local farmer’s market. I was so impressed with the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables for sale, by the people who actually grow them. ¬†I met several local farmers who were selling their bountiful harvest. I wish I could talk about every item I purchased, but I will have to narrow it down to one, eggs.

I purchased these eggs from Good Earth Organic Farm.IMG_9298

As you can see they don’t look like regular eggs from the grocery store. Good Earth Organic Farm (GEOF) is a true free range and cage free egg grower. They feed their hens a¬†¬†diet that is supplemented with organic vegetables from the farm, and whole grain (only when needed), but it isn’t ¬†the inexpensive soy feed that many factory farms use. ¬†This farm does not use soy to feed their hens.¬†Their hens roam freely on several open acres of land spending their days pecking and scratching the ground…and..well….doing what hens should do. Natural hen behaviors are not seen in factory farm hens according to, Carole Morison (former factory farmer). Carole ¬†Morison believes the absence of natural behavior in hens is not found due to traumatic living conditions.

How is it, and why is it the eggs from supermarkets seem so uniform, while organic, free range farm eggs  appear so different?

According to GEOF there are several factors that play a role in the look of eggs. First there are the different types of hens that are used in egg production. GEOF uses Ameraucana hens that lay green, blue, and olive colored eggs.  They also use Speckled Sussex hens that lay cream-colored eggs, while Dominigues and Rhode Island Red hens lay brown eggs.

List of Rhode Island state symbols

Rhode Island Red Hen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speckled Sussex Hen named Mata Hari.

Speckled Sussex Hen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Ameraucana hen.

An Ameraucana hen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Factory farm egg producers tend to favor hybrid hens that are known for their rapid egg producing abilities. ¬†Okay, so that explains the difference of the outside of the eggs, but what about what’s on the inside? This is a picture below shows an egg (on the right) from GEOF, and the left is from a factory farm.

Factory farm egg yolk, versus the yolk of an organic egg.

Comparing a Factory Farm Egg & Organic Egg

The first thing you can see is the color of the yolk. The egg from GEOF is almost orange in color. The factory farm egg is much lighter yellow. The reason for the color difference in the yolk is the diet of the hen. Factory farm hens frequently feed their hens all vegetarian diets. I see this label a lot on egg cartons. ¬†Vegetarian diet is usually associated with ¬†health, but not for a chicken. Chickens are by nature, the way that God intended them to be, omnivores. They do eat grains, but they eat a lot of grass and insects too. When hens are confined on a factory farm they are ¬†fed a strong diet of grains, their yolk goes from an orange color to a lighter yellow color. ¬†Even when labels say cage free the hens are most likely confined to a barn…which qualifies for the use of term ” cage free” on labeling….kind of sad. Now, I am not sure you how well you can see the egg white, but in the organic egg it is slightly more cloudy than the factory farm egg. The fresher the egg, the more cloudy the egg white will be. As eggs mature, the egg white becomes more clear.

So they way to tell if a hen has been confined to a barn or cage, and what kind of diet they consumed is by looking at the color of the yolk?

Well, not exactly. Factory Farms are clever in their approach to this. They use additives to the feed that will cause the yolk to be more of a darker yellow or orange color. The best way to know how your hens were treated and what kind of diet they consumed, is to know where they came from.

What you can do to make a difference:

  • Purchase your eggs from a local and sustainable farm.
  • Review the egg score card from the Cornucopia Institute to see how well the brand of eggs you purchase rate.
  • Don’t purchase factory farm eggs.
  • Read my other post on factory farming, here, to learn what egg labels really mean.

Source: Good Earth Organic Farm, Take Part Interview with Carole Morison