Sunshine and a foraging diet change eggs into a special treat.
I had a customer ask me one day “I guess an egg is an egg and they are pretty much all the same?”
Well of course I resounded with a big NO. Besides taste and appearance, (look at the size, shape and color of these eggs) the hidden nutritional benefits of “grass-fed” hen’s eggs is astounding.
Kate Crickmore of Neversink Farm
Eggs from pastured hens are far richer in vitamin D
Eggs from hens raised outdoors on pasture have from three to six times more vitamin D than eggs from hens raised in confinement. Pastured hens are exposed to direct sunlight, which their bodies convert to vitamin D and then pass on to the eggs.
Vitamin D is best known for its role in building strong bones. New research shows that it can also enhance the immune system, improve mood, reduce blood pressure, combat cancer, and reduce the risk of some autoimmune disorders.
This latest good news about eggs comes from a study released by Mother Earth News, a magazine that plays a leading role in promoting health-enhancing, natural foods. The editors found that eating just two eggs will give you from 63-126% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.
The benefit comes only from hens that are free to graze fresh greens, eat bugs, and bask in the sun. Most of the eggs sold in the supermarket do not meet this criterion. Even though the label says that the eggs are “certified organic” or come from “uncaged” or “free-range” hens or from hens fed an “all-vegetarian” diet, this is no guarantee that the hens had access to the outdoors or pasture.
www.eatwild.com for more information
Chickens enjoy foraging and benefit from the varied diet found in nature. Many farmers have moveable fences or pens (chicken tractors) to ensure protection against predators while giving the birds access to a variety of food, especially grasses which are high in Omega 3’s.
Foraging Heritage Breed Hens at Neversink Farm, Claryville New York
Look for eggs from “pastured” hens. You are most likely to find these superior eggs at farmers markets or natural food stores.
Better yet, purchase them directly from your local farmer, or join a CSA that includes eggs. Then, you can see for yourself how happy the hens are that produce these incredible eggs.
As more farmers embrace diversity and enjoy keeping hens of various breeds customers are treated to an array of color from eggs that come from chickens that lay colored eggs. For an interesting catalogue of rare breeds, that include a wide variety of unusual poultry check out http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html
Heritage Breeds produce natural Easter Eggs