Eggs

Caged Chickens vs Pastured Chickens- See for Yourself

I was out at the Sioux Empire Fair this week and had the opportunity to experience modern farming practices at the Pipestone Discovery Barn.

Although I appreciate that the Pipestone Discovery Barn desires to educate about where food comes from and be open about how they raise their animals, I do not think that these farming practices are something to be proud of.

Take a look for yourself.  There were 4 hens in a cage that was no bigger than 24"x24".  This is where they live 24 hours a day.

Because these chickens are short-changed of sunlight, exercise, and the ability to forage for fresh greens and bugs, WE are short changed because the eggs they produce don’t have as many nutrients as eggs from chickens raised on pasture.

Researchers have found that compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs 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

If you want to learn more about the fascinating comparison between the eggs from convention and pasture raised chickens, check out this article.

Now enjoy these pictures of the chickens who supply Glory Garden with eggs.  These are the girls at Prairie Coteau Farm in Astoria, SD and Free Happy Farm in Brookings, SD.

Basted Eggs: Easier Than Poached and Better Than Fried

A friend recently introduced me to basted eggs and I have gotten hooked!

To me, they seem like a cross between fried eggs and poached eggs.  Basted eggs are quicker to make than poached eggs because you don't have to simmer water, but the white of a basted egg is still tender and delicate unlike a fried egg where it can sometimes get crispy and chewy.

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How to Baste an Egg
Melt 1 tsp butter in a skillet.
Crack an egg into the skillet.
Pour 1 T. water over the egg.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Quickly cover the skillet with a lid to trap the steam as it evaporates and cook the egg.
Cook until it has reached your desired done-ness.  I like my white hard and my yolk runny.

Have you ever heard of basted eggs?  Let me know what you think!

Give me one good reason you can't eat this dessert for breakfast

Are you getting stuck in a rut with breakfasts?  I've got something new for you to try! 

*Weird Maifeld Secret  #26: We eat dessert for breakfast.*

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But why not?  This baked custard has 3 simple locally-sourced ingredients.  Plus vanilla (if you know of any SD vanilla growers, send them my way! LOL)  The main ingredients are:

Eggs-  definitely want to use local free-range eggs for this recipe.  Glory Garden will have them available in just a few weeks!
Honey instead of white sugar-  GG has got you covered for raw local honey, too!
Milk-  the best place to get milk in SF area is Happy Grazing Dairy- it's grassfed organic raw milk. 

With wholesome ingredients like those, can you give me a good reason why this custard wouldn't make a good breakfast?

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Baked Custard

2 free-range eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey and/or maple syrup*
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients well. 
Pour into an 8x8 glass dish. 
Place the 8x8 glass dish in another larger glass dish (such as a 9x13) and fill the large glass dish with 1" of hot water (as hot as it comes out of your faucet).  This water bath will help the custard cook evenly and gently.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the custard is just set.  Test it by inserting a butter knife into the center of the custard- it will come out clean when it is done. 
Serve with berries and whipped cream.
*Note:  We like to use 2 T. of honey plus 2 T. of maple syrup.  We like to use a combination of sweeteners so that neither the flavor of the honey or the maple syrup is too strong.  You could certainly use one or the other alone if you prefer.

Wondering where to get free-range, local eggs during the winter?

The 2017 season has come to a close.  :(  Which means that I will no longer be making deliveries of produce, eggs, and honey until we open again in spring 2018.

You are probably wondering if there is another place that you can get the awesome Fruit of the Coop eggs that Glory Garden sells during the summer.  When I told one of my customers, that the eggs were only sold to restaurants during the winter, she emailed back, "I think I will cry;) they are the BEST eggs I have ever had!!

So Stephanie (from Fruit of the Coop) and I put our heads together and have come up with a plan to keep you stocked with eggs over the winter.

We are going to have a delivery every-other Thursday to a drop site on the south side of SF.  You will pre-order the eggs and pick them up at a home located near Tomar and 57th St.  There will be a 2 hour window for you to stop by and help yourself to the eggs which will be in a cooler outside (self-serve style).

What I need you to do is email Stephanie at s.peterson@fruitofthecoop.com and let her know "I'm in!" and she will give you further details.

You definitely don't want to be without these eggs, because as John said:

"I don't know what it is but the difference between these eggs and the ones I get at Hyvee is phenomenal!" 

For those of you who haven't tried Stephanie's eggs yet, she wants to give a you a free dozen to sample.  You will be hooked!

Poached eggs- so easy a 10 year old can do it

I recently learned how to make poached eggs and then showed Ella how.  Now she has another easy meal that she can cook for herself when Mom's off-duty.  In this video, she is going to show how easy it.  

The key is to add 1 T. of vinegar to the pot of water so that the eggs stay in a nice cohesive shape instead of developing whisps and floaties.

Leave a comment if you try poaching eggs (or if you already like making them).

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Meet Clint and Barb

I recently accompanied my friend, Stephanie Peterson, on an egg run down to Canton to visit with one of our egg suppliers.  Stephanie's business, Fruit of the Coop, makes it easy for local foodies to get farm fresh eggs from small local chicken flocks.  My business, Glory Garden, is one of the places where these eggs are available.

You can consider this blog post a virtual introduction to Clint and Barb and take a tour of their farm through the lens of my camera.

 
 

Meet the livestock guardian dog, Bear.  Barb told us that ever since getting Bear, they have not lost any more chickens to predators like coyotes, owls, or hawks.  She estimates that they have about 50-60 chickens and they free-range the farm in safety, thanks to Bear!

 
 We found this hen roosting in the shade of a pine tree.

We found this hen roosting in the shade of a pine tree.

 
 Barb has a variety of chicken breeds.  This one is a silver laced Polish.

Barb has a variety of chicken breeds.  This one is a silver laced Polish.

 

Although Barb was the one who chatted with us the most, she said it was actually her husband Clint who does chicken chores.   She said, "They all have different personalities and Clint, he knows them.  There was one, it was almost weird how tame she was.  She would come and jump up on your lap and Clint just loved her."  She told us that one time after a chicken died, Clint said, "Barb I think we should gather the chickens all together and have a moment."  We laughed as she related this story and then she continued, "I was going- 'Oh, good grief!'  He was upset.  'Well you just go have your moment then'." 

Clint told us that in addition to the bugs and weeds they forage for, he also feeds the chickens cracked corn grown on their own farm, beef lard and beef liver (chickens weren't created to be vegetarians!), as well as surplus garden vegetables like zucchini.

In addition to chickens, they also have some quail.  I was fascinated watching these little birds and admired the tiny eggs they laid.

 Quail eggs.

Quail eggs.

 

Notice Bear eyeing the quail eggs.  When we set them down and turned our back, he helped himself to a tasty snack.  I guess that's his reward for protecting the chickens.

After a lovely afternoon chatting, we headed home, thrilled to be able to connect you with the people who grow your food.  I am so excited to open Glory Garden in a month or so and begin providing you with farm-fresh eggs along with the produce from my garden.

Brown eggs vs. white eggs- which is better? Or does it even matter?

Have you ever wondered if there is any difference between eggs with brown shells vs. eggs with white shells?

You know that saying:  "Don't judge a book by it's cover"?  Well, don't judge an egg by the color of its shell.

Here's why: The shell color is determined by what breed of chicken laid the egg. Some chicken breeds lay brown eggs, some breeds lay white, and some, called "Easter Eggers" lay pale blue or green eggs.

 

The real test for egg quality is the color of the yolk.  A deep golden (almost orange) yolk usually indicates that the chickens forage outside and have a healthy life, which in turn means that their eggs are rich with nutrition and flavor.  Most grocery store eggs have sickly pale yellow yolks- stay away from these!

 Can you tell the difference? (Store-bought egg on the left, farm-fresh egg on the right.)

Can you tell the difference? (Store-bought egg on the left, farm-fresh egg on the right.)

 Look at the difference here! Farm-fresh egg on the left, store-bought on the right.

Look at the difference here! Farm-fresh egg on the left, store-bought on the right.

 

So while the color of the shell doesn't matter, the color of the yolk DOES.

How do you know if the eggs you're buying are high-quality?  Sorting through labels like "cage-free", "free-range", and "all-natural" is frustrating since these terms have been hijacked by marketing and no longer mean what they say.

The best way to cut through all the labeling hype is to go directly to the source and KNOW YOUR FARMER!

Stay tuned for my blog post next week in which I introduce you to one of the "keepers of the flock" who provides her locally-laid eggs to Glory Garden members!

Anna