Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 134: Buy local eggs

If you think buying the $4 organic eggs at the grocery story absolve you from guilt associated with the horrific, filthy, inhumane conditions at the DeCoster-owned egg farms associated with the recent salmonella outbreak, I hate to break it to you, but its more complicated than that.

One of my favorite companies, Organic Valley, is under fire for the following photos that come from one of its suppliers in Wisconsin. Turns out, there are many paths to raising "organic" eggs, and these companies can cut corners too.

The problems arise when large brand names buy eggs from producers who are cutting corners. Then the large companies put their brand name on the eggs, and who knows what you're actually getting.

"The report found that the vast majority of farms that practiced the very highest standards—such as grazing hens on open pasture, rotating grazing areas, and even using mobile chicken houses to ensure fresh land—were small to medium sized enterprises. These farms typically market their eggs locally or regionally under their farm's brand name, mostly through farmer's markets, food cooperatives and/or independently owned natural and grocery stores. Some brands were also available regionally through larger chains like Whole Foods.

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, at the other end of the spectrum stores' own brand organic egg lines were the worst offenders when it came to conditions. The reports' authors point out that while organic consumers tend to expect transparency and information about where their eggs come from, by definition, own brand products tend to be anonymous—they also tend to be priced lower than premium organic brands."

Find a local, trusted supplier of eggs. Chickens are very trendy right now, people love raising chickens for eggs and meat. It's really not that hard to find someone to sell you some eggs. I've got 3 regular suppliers that I can choose from here in my small town. Supply will slow over winter, but they are still available.

1 comment:

  1. I know another local source Megan who would be happy to barter/sell you eggs. Unfortunately, raising chickens is still illegal in Gibsonville, so I can't our my friend on your site.
    Sara W.