I just realized that this is my third egg post in just a few weeks. Oops! I hope y’all like eggs as much as I do.
Anyhow, after a recent trip to the grocery store where I spent way too long scanning all the labels trying to decide which type of eggs I should buy, I decided it was time to do a little research to figure out what all the different labels mean. I figured many of you might want to know which eggs are best as well so I’m going to share my findings. Just in time for all the eggs we’ll be eating for Passover and Easter.
Free-Range / Free-Roaming
Conventional / Battery Caged
Certified Humane (a program of Humane Farm Animal Care)
Animal Welfare Approved (a program of the Animal Welfare Institute)*
*It seems as though eggs with this certification can be hard to find — I did a search for Animal Welfare Approved eggs on their website for Richmond, VA and found zero results.
Omega-3 Enriched Eggs
I think it depends on availably of the different types of eggs in your area and what you can afford. Given my research, pastured eggs are definitely my top choice. These hens are given the freedom to live happy, natural lives while eating grass, bugs and meal worms instead of a diet consisting only of grain. The issue is that pastured eggs are local, seasonal, and in limited supply so sometimes they’re hard to procure. They’re also more expensive.
At one point we had the luxury of buying our eggs from a family that raised pastured chickens at Isaac’s school. That’s no longer an option because they don’t raise chickens anymore but we still have a couple ways of procuring eggs from healthy, happy chickens: buying eggs directly from a local farmer at the farmers market. Again, this depends on the season and supply. My next choice would be free-range eggs (organic, when possible) and my last choice would be cage-free. I avoided conventional eggs, even prior to my research and I will continue to do so.
So with eggs at the top of mind, I recently had a company called the happy egg co. reach out to me about their eggs. They’re the first and only 100 percent free range egg company certified by Humane Farm Animal Care (see Certified Humane above) and give the hens, affectionately called “the Girls,” access to over four acres of pasture every day, which is about the size of three football fields or around 14 square feet per hen. This amount of space is way more than the free range requirement (2 square feet per hen) and the happy egg co. has plans to increase it from 14 to 20 square feet in the near future as well! The Girls spend every day outside in natural sunlight, able to forage for food and do normal activities similar to pastured hens. the happy egg co. has coined their method “free range on pasture” because the amount of space given falls between the free range and pasture requirements.
You can see all the family farms listed on their website too — I thought this was pretty cool!
Ooh, and do you know why some eggs are brown? I didn’t before checking out the happy egg co. site. It’s because they’re laid by brown chickens! Hens come in different colors, from white to brown to speckled charcoal gray and deep red. The eggs they lay are always close in hue to the color of their earlobes.
One cool tip I learned after spending an afternoon dyeing eggs is that the natural pigments in brown shells of eggs result in more jewel-like tones than the same coloring methods on white shelled eggs. This worked out great for me because the happy egg co. eggs are brown. Check out my art work. 🙂
Yes, I got to dye my own eggs this year! So fun.
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