Have you ever thought about where your eggs come from? Are your eggs caged-eggs, cage-free, free-range, or organic? Huh, What?? Luckily I was invited out this past week for a presentation by the Happy Egg Co.’s eggs-pert and third generation chicken farmer Cyd Syzmanski to learn about the differences and about their hens (affectionately refered to as “the girls”) to clear up any confusion on these very vague terms.
Come from hens who live their entire lives in a wire cage that is so small that they cannot even stretch and flap their wings. These hens are definitely NOT happy girls! Who wants to live like that? I certainly do not! I LOVE my sunshine! Oh, and I like to be able to stretch and move my arms and legs too.
Cage-free eggs come from birds that are not raised in cages, but usually are in an open barn. The hens have bedding material such as pine shavings on the floor and are allowed perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs. However, they may still be at close quarters with many other hens — just not in cages. These girls are also locked inside for their entire lives. They NEVER get to see the light of day, poor things. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to have to be forced to live this way either!
Free-range eggs are laid from hens that have the opportunity to go outside. Some farms may keep birds outside in a small fenced in area. They may travel in and out of a barn at free will or spend some portion of their day roaming outdoors. Finally some sunlight!! This is by far the best choice for the girls at the happy egg co, but they go even farther and give them a whole 4 acres of land to roam free on!! The Happy Egg Co. set the golden standard to what all “free-range” hens and their eggs should be held to.
“At the happy egg, the definition of Free Range is the best standard as it addresses the total welfare of the hen from balanced nutritious feed to acres of land to roam in the sunshine and fresh air as well as access to an enriched, safe barn with nests.”
BEWARE of this label!! Organic eggs are laid from hens that EAT an organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics which is a GOOD thing of course, BUT these girls may be kept in a caging system unless specified otherwise on the carton. There are currently no standards requiring organically fed hens to be kept in a free-range system. For a company to be certified by the USDA as organic, the grains used for the hens’ diets must be grown on land that has been free from the use of pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years. Genetically engineered crops are not allowed, and the hens must be raised without hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.
Allowing hens to be hens and to engage in their natural behaviors is the happy egg co.’s definition of Free Range and is truly the gold standard. Lovingly referred to as the Girls, they are never locked up in a cage, barn, or forced to go anywhere else that they don’t want to go. In an eggshell, farmers provide them with the freedom to flap their wings and fly as they roam across four acres of pasture.
The Happy Egg Hens are so happy because they have daily access to:
* 4 acres of pasture to roam free among the trees, shade, sand pits, and just to enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine on their feathers with their favorite girlfriends.
*Large protective barn to keep them safe overnight from the elements, they have the freedom to choose where to roost for the night and can even choose their favorite nesting box, as well as some fun toys to peck at so they don’t get bored (since they don’t have access to any TV’s, computers with internet, or other technology to keep themselves entertained with like we do). ;-)
*Clean water and feed consisting of an all-natural formulated diet of corn and soy.
Happy eggs come from happy family run farms, which is the best way to raise happy, Free Range hens. No huge chicken factories here. Small family farmers are chosen based on several criteria, most importantly that they are good animal stewards who are very passionate about improving the life of the hens they care for everyday. With their network of small farmers, they will be scaling up to distribute across California and the nation.
Eggs are a staple in any home, and are packed with protein and nutrients galore which makes them perfect any time of the day. From fluffy omelets, to decadent French Toast, moist cakes, chocolate brownies, to quiches and more; the recipes for eggs are endless. To make the tastiest dishes, you want the highest quality ingredients, that you and your family deserve. The happy egg co. believes that the best eggs can only come from the happiest hens that are treated like gold and are well cared for, which just makes sense. I would be happy too if I were able to frolic and play outside all day as I pleased!
Now, look below at the packaging. How awesome is that? Not only are the hens, and the eggs happy, but even the packaging of these eggs are happy!! Adding a ray of sunshine to the otherwise dreary and boring gray, white and sometimes light blue egg cases, happy eggs are packaged in a happy sunshine-yellow carton with big pillars that cradle and protect the eggs. Cute pictures give you easy to understand information on the carton as well.
*Random Fact* Did you know that the color of the egg is determined by the color of the hens earlobe? The happy eggs girls are a Bovan Brown hybrid known for its egg-laying ability and easy-going temperament. Their girls always lay brown eggs, because their ear lobes are BROWN!!
So where can you buy the happiest eggs on earth? No, unfortunately not at Disneyland (although that would make sense to me too if you could since that’s the happiest place on earth) Schucks!! Starting Oct. 15, you will be able to find these happy eggs in their happy sunshiny day packaging at select Ralph’s and Fresh & Easy locations in Southern California, between Santa Barbara and San Diego for approximately $4.99 a dozen making it a breeze to add the best eggs possible to the family table.
At the Happy Egg Co, the goal is to make Free Range eggs available to everyone. Happy Hens lay Happy Eggs. Happy hens that are treated well will lay the highest quality eggs. Always putting the hen first, the girls roam free across acres of pasture on small family farms tended by experts who are passionate about what they do. The result? Only the highest quality eggs that will make your dishes the freshest, finest and tastiest as humanly (or is it henly?) possible.
For More Information on The Happy Egg Co:
*U.S. headquarters is in San Francisco. The happy egg co. brings its years of experience with Free Range eggs as part of Noble Foods Ltd. and the happy egg co. brand in the United Kingdom.
Disclosure: I was invited to an egg-cellent presentation and brunch by the Happy Egg Co. All opinions stated above are my own and I will be looking for the Happy Eggs in my local super market in just a few short weeks!