In the past few weeks one of the biggest news stories was about yet another food recall, this time eggs. People in the US were getting sick with salmonella from contaminated eggs. What shocked me was the number of eggs being recalled, half a billion as of August 23, 2010.
I’ve mentioned before that I get pastured eggs and sometimes whole chickens from a local farmer. While this doesn’t protect me from ever getting sick from food, it certainly does help. Chickens are less likely to get sick when they have more room, access to outdoors, proper diet (including bugs!) and no stress. These chickens are also not given antibiotics in their feed, and so are not contributing to breeding super-salmonella resistant to treatment.
I wanted to share in pictures what this farm looks like. It’s a pretty small farm, with just about 20 chickens, some ducks, a few cats and a dog. I visited a few weeks ago to pick up some eggs and snap some photos. It was like visiting a little piece of heaven!
Here’s the chicken coop.
It used to be a barn for horses. In one of the stalls is the chicken feed.
They made some nesting boxes out of wood for the hens to lay in. One hen was in there while I visited. She moved aside for them to take the egg and then she hopped down to get a snack.
In behind the barn is a fenced-in secure area. The chicks they raised for meat stayed in this area mostly, but the hens can run around in there too.
The hens are also free to run around the property. This is not fenced in at all, the chickens just know to come back to the barn at night for safety and food. When the farmer cuts the lawn, the chickens run along behind him eating all the bugs that come up with the turned grass.
The chickens are given a natural feed but in the summer they tend to eat less of it, since they’re scratching around outside eating bugs.
If you stand around long enough, all the animals come close for a visit.
The ducks have a little kiddy pool to float around in too. I couldn’t get a picture of them in there without another animal popping into view! It’s so cute how they all hang out.
This farm just seemed so peaceful.
And here’s what I came home with, a dozen dozen fresh eggs.
I know not everyone can find an egg farmer as perfect as this one, but it’s worth trying to find one that uses good farming practices. I found this farmer by posting a wanted ad on an online classifieds site. I had been getting pastured eggs from a vendor at the farmer’s market in the summer, but found that they couldn’t supply me with enough and I would resort to buying expensive eggs from the store. So I just posted up an ad and within a couple days I had three local egg farmers to choose from. Since then I’ve found other food sources through online classifieds sites. It makes sense that there are a lot of farmers on these sites, as they are often looking to buy or share equipment and animals. I highly suggest using these kinds of resources to find good local food.
These eggs cost me $3.50 a dozen and have gorgeous deep orange yolks full of flavor. It’s over $6.00 a dozen for organic cage-free eggs from the store, but anytime I have to buy those we end up complaining about the lack of taste. Nothing compares to fresh pastured eggs from a small farm where the chickens can roam around and eat whatever they want.
LOVE chickens! I get my eggs from a small farm as well, just a lady who liked chickens who started raising them for the fun of it and now sells the eggs. I love when I can go by there and visit, all the chickens wander around and congregate where you are. There is something relaxing about their sounds and scratching and pecking around you. I wanted to pull up a book and just sit with them all day. They are not fed organically, but the farmer does not feed soy and they get to wander around and eat bugs and grasses all day (they also know to go to the barn at night and the owner locks them in since there are bears and coyotes in the area). At $3 a dozen I cannot complain. Plus she has quite a few different breeds, so my eggs are more like a rainbow. When I open a store bought box of uniform eggs, sort of freaks me out a bit now..lol. I think eggs have to be my most favorite and easy to find ‘local’ purchase.
Hi Kat! Here on the West Coast, we have 3 different chicken farmers where we get organic free range chicken and eggs. It is the only way we will go. We buy all of our meat – beef, pork, lamb, chicken, from local, organic raised farms. I was actually getting sick from store bought meats – I am guessing because of all the antibiotics. Won’t be buying that anymore! Plus the flavor is so so much better!
love your blog! i follow a paleo diet not scd but def some crossovers- i will be buying my eggs from a farmer’s market near my house this weekend. i love my eggs!
We get all of our eggs from a local farm too, though not as quaint and gorgeous as yours. I pay $4.50 for 18 eggs which compared to the store is awesome, and well worth the small drive. Especially after this recall which is in my current state. I was very thankful for my local egg-buying after this recent recall, that’s for sure!!
What a great post! I’ve been looking for a good local egg farmer myself. I eat a lot of eggs, as you can imagine. I haven’t had the kind of luck with egg providers that I have with other products. But I’m inspired by the great farmer you found! I’m going to keep looking.
I wanted to get some backyard laying hens, but my HOA CC&Rs prohibit poultry. Instead, I have two great sources of local eggs from small “backyard” flocks. One is via a neighbor, who has a coworker at a local biotech company who sells her excess eggs from chickens she keeps at her “horsey” suburban property.
Another source I recently found via http://www.localharvest.org (use the search engine at that site with your zip code to find all sorts of local food producers in your area). It’s a one acre property surrounded by suburban homes right in the center of my coastal So Cal town (but still zoned for agriculture) being put back into food production. The flock is young, so the eggs are on the small side still, but these eggs are so flavorful because the hens can eat omnivorously from lots of garden trimmings as well as all the bugs and worms they can find.
Is there any chance you can share farmers in the Ottawa area who have these kind of eggs available?
Great post Kat! Do you mind sharing where this little farm is? I sourced local grass fed beef (thanks to you!) and I am looking for eggs!
It’s nice to know so many people are trying to find good sources for eggs! It’s probably the cheapest food to buy local and organic, and the easiest to find.
@Jedidja Most CSA’s in Ottawa offer eggs from small farms. Bearbrook Farm also sells them at their store or at the farmer’s market. Also check out Funny Duck Farms who sell at the Saturday Ottawa Organic Market all year round. I have these posted on the Ottawa – Organic Farmers page. To find very small farmers, it’s best to use UsedOttawa.com and search through ads or post a wanted ad.
@Jen I’m going to ask this farmer if he has enough for one more person. He works close to you so it would be pretty convenient to get some from him. I’ll let you know.
I get our meats/poultry/pork and eggs from a local farm as well. I love getting my food locally and knowing exactly where it came from and who raised it. I love knowing that the animals were treated humanely and were allowed to grow in a nurturing outdoor environment. Love this post!