With the recent salmonella egg scare, it’s more important than ever to know where your food comes from. A photo of a happy chicken on your egg carton does not mean much more than you have a pretty egg carton.
If you can’t raise your own flock, try to purchase your eggs from another backyard grower, or read this article from Mother Jones to find out who NOT to buy eggs from. And the Cornucopia Institute has a very helpful scorecard rating local to national egg brands (including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods).
And, by the way, the term “free range” doesn’t mean those chickens have access to fresh air, sunshine, grass, and bugs. Unless your eggs are from a small backyard or family farm or the carton says the hens are pastured, the eggs are more than likely coming from hens that are, yes, cage-free, but crammed into hoop-house like structures where they don’t have access to all the things that make chickens really happy. Fresh air, sunshine, bugs.
We keep a flock of chickens for eggs, meat, pest patrol, their manure, and for the life they add to our farm. We know our eggs are safe and healthy.
Oh, and chickens aren’t vegetarians.