eggs

Here is a little something to contemplate. It is “The Story of an Egg”.

I’m currently getting pastured eggs. I’m taking the farmer’s word for it that they are hormone and antibiotic free. Considering he is also Amish, and that he is vouched for by my CSA farm, I’m inclined to believe him. Many small farmers find it too expensive to obtain formal organic certification, so they rely on their good name.

The main differences I notice are that the yolks are a more intense color and the whites are less runny. The eggs come in various shades of brown and the sizes are not as well-matched as commercial eggs but that is ok with me. They are delicious and are cheaper than organic eggs at the grocery store.

I notice that some hens are being fed a “vegetarian diet”. I’m not sure why that is supposed to be better. Chickens are natural omnivores who love to eat bugs and worms. I’m not in favor of forcing a vegetarian diet on animals. Also, if the feed is not organic, but simply vegetarian, they may be getting a big dose of pesticides and antibiotics.

Even the stalwart USDA admits that pastured eggs are healthier.

‘Nuff said

A Change of Season

Posted: March 12, 2013 in CSA, Food and Cooking, Organic
Tags: , , , ,

DSCN8045

We are off on a new adventure! We are going to see how close to home we can keep our primary food purchases. By “primary” I mean the food we cook our meals with. That does not include snack food or junk food that is purchased outside of home. I won’t even try to tell my two teenagers they can’t stop at the corner store for a twinkie and a coke. I CAN control what we eat for meals in the home. We will be doing this a bit at a time. I’m not suddenly going to toss out what’s in my freezer or try to purchase local meat outside the normal “processing” season. This will take some planning and extra expense.

We have been long-time members of our neighborhood organic co-op. It is a small store where for $100 up front and a small yearly fee you are a voting member of the enterprise. My membership also entitles us to a discount.

I recently signed up for one of our local CSA programs. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Our produce is now delivered once a week to a nearby porch and we pay for it using PayPal.

If you are lucky there are several ways to join a CSA. The first option is to buy a CSA share. That is a “share” of the seasonal crops. This means you may be swimming in lettuce in summer and drowning in beets in the winter. If you are up for preserving foods it is a great option.

The second way is to buy a “box selection”. This is a box of seasonal produce (small or large boxes are available) supplemented with non-local, non-seasonal items. There are kiwis and mango in with my squash and potatoes. I can specify what we do and do not want in the box. For example I always want leafy greens but rarely want radishes and I never want rutabagas. I’m never quite sure what will arrive in my box but if I occasionally give away an item I don’t like it’s ok with me. The farmer often sends a list of what will be in the box but not always.

The third way is to just buy specific items. I can buy pantry items, meat, cheese, and eggs and have them delivered to the drop-off point.

Ordering this way is very satisfying. The locally harvested produce is always extremely fresh, it is all organic, it forces me to be a creative cook and adventurous eater, it supports local farmers and ranchers and it cost less than if I purchased it at the store.

Here is what I have coming this week – I ordered an extra fruit box because my freezer is a bit empty and I feel like cooking up a storm.

Fruit

3 lbs. Fuji apples and 4 (individual) Cameo apples
4 lbs. bananas
9 kiwis
4 lemons
9 pears
2 avocados
1 coconut
3 lbs. of tangerines

Vegetables

1 lb. green beans
1 head broccoli
1 head green cabbage
1 lb. baby carrots
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch celery
1 bunch rainbow chard
1/2 lb green peppers
3 lbs russet potatoes
1 lb turnips
1 lb yams

Meat and Dairy

3 dozen pastured eggs
2 lbs pastured ground beef

Yes, that is a whole lot of food for a family of four. I don’t always buy this much. There was a special on the eggs and I am trying out various local ground beef sources to see whose I like better. I can buy organic ground beef at the grocery store but it is imported fom Uruguay. Since I can buy local beef for the same price so I do. My family (sadly) doesn’t like organic milk and we do not always eat organic meat. We do not buy all organic pantry items. I do read lables, however, and avoid foods with added fats and sugars. We aren’t perfect. My kids like their junk foods and I don’t prohibit it. I am not here to preach a specific way of eating. We are omnivores but if you are vegan that’s a perfectly legitimate choice. I’m not starting a vegetable garden.  I am just here to share two things – the adventure of eating more like our great-grandparents did and the joy of cooking.