Local Sustainability Corner By Val White Columnist
Eggciting News: Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion of Mother Earth Newsafter conducting tests involving 14 different flocks around the country. Six eggs from each of the 14 pastured flocks tested by an accredited laboratory in Portland, Ore found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol• 1⁄4 less saturated fat• 2⁄3 more vitamin A• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids• 3 times more vitamin E• 7 times more beta carotene
So how do you find these wondrous eggs? When shopping, don’t be fooled by all the “feel good” words that have no real meaning or don’t mean what you think: All Natural, Farm Fresh, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Vegetarian Diet, No Hormones or antibiotics, Organic and so on.
Look for “Pasture Raised” eggs, the ideal being “free range, organic pasture raised.” (http://www.npr.org). Many grocery stores, local food co-ops, farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs are now carrying these.
Another way to find these eggs, look for signs out in front of houses, or ask around. Fresh eggs are everywhere in Weare. There’s even a sign in the office of Weare Body & Frame that says “eggs in the frig, $3.” It is also much easier to tell if the eggs are from “happy chickens” when you can see where they live and ask what they eat.
The other option is to have your own chickens. You can order small numbers of chicks from Goffstown Hardware and Henniker Farm & Feed Store. Order now, for pick up the end of May or early June. Do some research and give it a try, though time, energy & start up costs need to be taken into account.
Sustainably, chickens are wonderful. They provide: eggs, meat, fertilizer, entertainment and eat ticks and bugs in the yard. In fact, put a ramp for the chix right up into the compost bin & watch how they speed the composting process with all their mixing…..as well as feeding themselves with bugs & other nutrients. You should be warned however that chickens tend to be the “gateway drug.”