In praise of pastured eggs
This article was originally published in June 2013
PCC is pleased to say we now sell pastured eggs at all our nine stores, depending on availability. They come from a variety of Washington farms where the chickens run free and feast on fresh pasture year-round, producing eggs that research shows are significantly healthier than conventional eggs.
Misty Meadows Farm
Melissa and Mark Moeller of Misty Meadows Farm in Everson, Wash. provide Greenlake, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and West Seattle PCCs with organic eggs from hens that spend their entire lives on pasture. They have shelter, but they spend most of their time outside. They eat a certified organic, soy-free, locally milled grain daily ration and all the bugs they can catch.
In 2010, The Cornucopia Institute rated organic egg producers throughout the United States on humane animal husbandry standards. Misty Meadows was rated the top producer in Washington and one of the highest in the nation.
Palouse Pastured Poultry
This small, family farm on the southern border of Spokane County is where Allen and Emmy Widman and their children raise organic, pastured poultry.
“Our birds eat grain we raised ourselves or local, organic grains we process; roam, graze and socialize on green grass in their very large, open and protective pen; and drink fresh, clean water from our artesian well,” say the Widmans.
Little Eorthe Farm
Little Eorthe Farm, located in the Orting Valley near Tacoma, is where Carrie and Ken Little run a diverse 35-acre, certified organic farm with pigs, sheep, alpacas, ducks, turkeys and crops.
They also have 250 layer chickens, which frequently are moved around to fresh grass, leaving behind soil that’s fertile for planting. Carrie says the winter squash she harvests there grow beautifully due to the chickens’ natural fertilizer.
Helen the Hen
Baron Farms in Wapato, Wash. provides pastured eggs to Edmonds, Fremont and Greenlake PCCs. It’s a 90-acre farm with 2,500 layer chickens that live in a giant covered coop similar to a greenhouse, with access to pasture on both sides. The chickens mostly are out in the pasture first thing in the morning and at night, and inside mid-morning laying eggs.
Half the chickens get a conventional ration, and the others get a soy-free, non-GMO feed. (Both varieties of eggs are sold at PCC.) Soon all the eggs will be from hens fed a corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO feed.
Stiebrs is a local farm that provides most of PCC’s eggs, including those from a flock of about 3,800 pastured chickens. At night and in the morning when they’re laying eggs, they live in a giant barn with 1.5 feet of space for each bird, per organic standards. During the day they’re free to forage on organic half-acre pastures where they eat grass, legumes, grains and insects. They’re rotated through three pastures to give the grasses time to rejuvenate.
The hens are offered an organic mix of corn, wheat, barley, alfalfa, soy, minerals and oyster shells, which provide calcium to give the eggs a harder shell. Available in all PCC stores except Seward Park.