Part of my goal for this blog is to explain to my kids why we live the way we do and to also shed light on issues that other’s might not know about. Most people who know us, know why we are vegetarian. But rarely do I ever get into detail about what exactly it is about our food industry that is so appalling and sad to me. So here I go….
Anyone who knows about factory farmed eggs knows that egg-laying hens might just be the most inhumanely treated animals in our food industry. These poor animals spend their lives stuffed in cages too small to move, stand and stretch. And because they are confined to small, over-crowded cages, their beaks are removed to prevent harmful pecking and injury. Egg-laying chickens are also denied food, water and light to encourage further egg-laying.
When I learned of these horrific conditions a few years ago, I knew that I had to buy different eggs. So I switched to buying “cage free” or “free-range” ones, thinking that these chickens were better off. After all, they aren’t in cages and are free to go outside to roam; as the box says they’re “cage free.” Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Similar to their caged counterparts, cage-free chickens are packed into dark, overcrowded sheds without the room to be chickens. Typically their “access to the outdoors” is a small opening in the shed that the chickens generally do not exit because their food and water are indoors. After months/years of thinking I was buying eggs from happy chickens, I felt disgusted and resolved to stop eating eggs. As a family (yes, I converted my family) we adopted a vegan diet for a few months, but switched back to vegetarianism over my concern about Laird’s overall nutrition. The next best option was to find local, truly free-ranged eggs. You can find anything on Craigslist.
When I worked in Salem, Oregon, I found it quite easy to get my hands on raw milk and farm fresh eggs through Craigslist. My office was on the edge of the city near many local farmers, and I never had to drive more than 10 minutes to pick these essentials up. However, since I stopped working, it’s been a bit more challenging to find affordable milk and eggs nearby. I did have a consistent Portland egg source but he recently gave his chickens away because of noise complaints. Luckily, on Craigslist I found Kerry, a man in Yamhill, OR, who has free-range Rhode Island Red chickens and was looking for someone to buy his eggs consistently. He offered to deliver them to Portland (30 miles) for free if I would get at least 10 dozen a week. 10 dozen?! “Where will I find 9 dozen people to buy eggs?” was my initial thought. But, I began thinking of all my mom friends who also want the freshest food possible for their family. I sent out an email, some texts and asked friends in person and before you know it, I had a clan of women wanting fresh eggs every week. That was about a month ago.
As the egg distributor, every week before the weekend arrives, I take egg orders from everyone and Kerry delivers them to the mini-fridge on our front porch. Throughout the early part of the week, Curt or I will either do handoffs at playdates, church, basketball camp, bbq’s and make home deliveries. Thankfully, everyone lives within a 2.5 mile radius. I’ve had as many as 20 dozen and as few as 10 dozen delivered. Oh, and the eggs…the eggs are big, brown and beautiful, with blazing-orange yolks and perky whites. If you’ve never tasted or even seen the difference between a factory-farmed white egg and a farm-fresh brown egg, you MUST. It’s quite shocking. The latter actually tastes like an egg. For me, it’s gotten to the point now that if I know an egg is factory-farmed I can’t actually enjoy eating it; thinking only of how the poor animal suffered in order to make this egg.
The eggs are amazing indeed, but as I told Curt, do you know what the greatest perk about being an egg distributor is? Getting to hang out with friends every time we deliver them. This must be how it used to be, when the milkman would drop off milk at your doorstep. Okay, so maybe that’s too idealistic, but regardless. I look forward to dropping off eggs and catching up with friends, even if it’s just a quick 5 minute conversation. Five minutes that would’ve otherwise been lost to text or who knows what. In our incredibly fast-paced world, it’s nice to be doing something that is a step back in time. Letting chickens be chickens. Delivering eggs. Talking to people face-to-face.
Need eggs? 🙂
**Please think twice the next time you buy eggs from the grocery store. Look on CL, there might just be someone selling free-range eggs in your area. **