Nick's Organic Farm hens and their solar powered “eggmobile”
How To Purchase Eggs from Nick's Organic Farm
Eggs can be picked up anytime on a self-service basis year round at our Potomac or Buckeystown locations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org find out how, or add eggs to your order for beef, chicken, or turkey. (Smaller eggs from younger hens, sometimes called "pullet eggs," are offered at a lower price, when available.)
Our organic free-range eggs are farm-fresh and raised on pasture; they have brown shells, deep orange yolks, and are high in Omega 3s and beta-carotene.
Our hens are out on organic pasture each day foraging for insects, grazing fresh grass, running around and exercising, and breathing clean fresh air.
About Our Pasture Raised Eggs at Nick’s Organic Farm
We have been farming organically for over forty years. We raise our pastures, crops, grass-fed beef and pastured broilers and hens without any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics or animal parts in the feed. Our methods and products are pure and in concert with nature. Our animals are treated humanely.
Nationally Recognized Eggs
Our eggs are recognized nationally by the Cornucopia Institute as one of the few farms meeting the highest 5 egg standard for truly organic pastured eggs.
Nationally Recognized Farm
Our farm was one of the pilot farms selected nationally to help launch the Real Organic Project (ROP). The ROP is creating an add-on label in addition to our USDA organic certification to show that our farm meets standards higher than what USDA organic is willing to enforce. For example, the USDA organic program permits chickens and laying hens to be raised almost exclusively or entirely indoors in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). Conditions in CAFOs for thousands of birds crowded together are unhealthy and unsanitary. The ROP and Cornucopia standards do not permit CAFOs. Birds must be on pasture, as our birds are.
What Distinguishes Pastured Eggs—Don’t Be Fooled
Truly pastured eggs, such as ours, come from hens that have MOVABLE housing. These eggs contain many health and food safety benefits over conventional eggs and eggs advertised as “pastured” but that only use fixed, non-movable, housing. Moving their housing daily means the hens are constantly rotated to fresh clean grass.
Just because eggs are labeled “organic” does not mean they are pasture raised—probably 90% or more of organic eggs (the major national brands) do not have access to pasture, and even less are truly raised on pasture. The law only requires access to the “outdoors,” which USDA has ruled includes second floor screened in porches. And even this “access” can be denied for certain “stages of production,” such as the first 16-20 weeks of a laying hen’s life.
Eggs raised in fixed housing are labeled “cage free” and "free range” and even “pastured,” but these eggs are not truly pastured. Fixed housing methods keep the birds on what become bare brown lots or concrete pads, or what are known as feedlots in the cattle industry.
The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, of which I am a member, estimates that: “99% of ‘pasture raised’ eggs in the grocery store are raised in a barn, not on pasture. Just giving a hen access to 108 sq. ft. of pasture does not make her egg pasture raised…just like having access to a kitchen does not make you a chef.”
In reality, the vast majority of hens do not range far from their house. Thus a barn with 5,000 to 20,000 hens will “wear out” the nearby pasture until very little but dirt and poultry litter are left near the barn. Fixed housing concentrates all of the chicken litter in one place, creating a source for pollution and nutrient run-off.
Movable hen housing builds soil health and fertility, puts more carbon back into the soil, and avoids nutrient run-off into the Chesapeake Bay.
Nutritional Value of Truly Pastured Eggs
Pastured eggs are a nutrient dense food compared to large scale factory farmed eggs. This fact is not surprising given the unique nutritional content of grasses and forbs (broadleaf pasture plants) that the chickens consume—not to mention their foraging for bugs, and the fresh air and sunshine they enjoy. Compared to conventionally raised factory farmed eggs, studies have shown the nutritional benefits of eggs raised on pasture to include:
Up to 10 time higher rates of healthful Omega-3s
Three to six time more Vitamin D
One third less cholesterol
On quarter less saturated fat
Two thirds more vitamin A
Seven times more beta-carotene (as evidenced by the deep orange color of the yokes)
Deep orange egg yokes are the richest known source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotene vitamins essential to combatting eye damaging macular degeneration in people over age 55.
Eighty percent more folic acid and vitamin B-12
Thirty percent more Vitamin E
Humane Treatment of the Birds
Pastured eggs treat the bird much more humanely, allowing them to forage for pasture and bugs, exhibit their natural behaviors, breath fresh clean air (rather than air filled with ammonia from decaying fecal matter) and to gain the health benefits of living in the sunshine (more vitamin D in the eggs too).
Freshness of our Eggs
Our eggs will be a few days old on delivery. The age of eggs the consumer buys in the grocery store is a little hard to determine because all dating is done from the time the eggs are placed in their LAST container. So eggs held in bulk waiting to be put into their final packaging are, in effect, “ageless.” That being said, it is safe to assume under the most unlikely of optimistic assumptions, eggs from large producers traveling across the country are a minimum of two weeks old before they hit the grocery store shelves. Realistically, these eggs are 3-8 weeks old, and more than likely toward the older end of that continuum. The good news is that the eggshell keeps eggs safe to consume during that period and beyond.
Integrity of our Organic Feed
We grow all of our own organic grains and grind them freshly on the farm for our hens. In this way we can assure the integrity of our organic production. We also sell our certified organic poultry feed to other producers who tell us their birds prefer it over feed from much larger mills.
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