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February 06, 2009

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Tom Stewart

I too will raise free-range eggs (need to get the chickens first). But I can not belive the misinformation some people have. I work with a woman who will not eat brown eggs! Why? The eggs are brown because the chickens were raised on a dirt floor!
Go figure.

Lesie

Love this post and your whole site (which I just discovered and will try to catch up on soon)! My husband and I bought a 115 acre farm north of DC after being raised inside the beltway and then starting as "farmette farmers" ... Now we are so proud of our two preschoolers - compassionate animal lovers who also know where their healthy food comes from. We don't eat much store bought meat, only occasional fish (I too was freaked by the PBS show on orcas n salmon). So far we've raised meat chickens, rabbits and hunted for venison. We'd like to get a few young calves for exactly the reasons you mention. So much to learn but so rewarding. THANK YOU for the great education!

denise

i've thought about this so many times... sheesh - truly annoying stuff. thanks for your post. where do you sell your eggs? also, what's the address to your website noted in your post.

Throwback at Trapper Creek

We found the same thing when we sold eggs and used recycled cartons for our CSA customers. One "local" Washington company who sells in the Portland area, had at least 7 different lines of eggs. White, Brown, Organic, Natural, Free-Range, Omega-3, and some odd name called Fry & Try. All were from the same company, and a quick glance at their website showed battery houses, and discarded cages in the cattle pastures.

With so many hens, and so many employees in this "small" family business, I'm sure if the organic feed ran out, the organic hens were fed what was on hand.

I had to buy two dozen eggs this winter to tide us over, I purchased Organic Valley, and while the eggs were OK, they were not in any way large eggs, at least 4 per dozen were pee wee size according to our scale. Our hens picked back up and I never did use all of those eggs. They ended up as cat food.

Homegrown Evolution

Excellent post! Some time ago I did a little photoshop spoof of what an honest egg carton should look like:

http://www.homegrownevolution.com/2007/10/open-letter-to-trader-joes.html

E Leb

Thank you for debunking some of the common "natural" california egg producers. Advertising can be so sleazy, but not many folks think that it would go so far as egg cartons.

We are looking for an egg CSA in the Bay Area and I would love to support you. Any chances you do business in the East Bay??

Thanks for your great blog!

BobPixel

Rebecca, as a former vegetarian who became uncomfortable with buying super-market meat, all packaged up and emotionally sanitized, I'm really appreciating your blog.

I killed my first meat animal yesterday. It was a beloved chicken named "Gavi." She dressed out to more meat than I've ever seen in a store-bought, plastic wrapped bird.

I killed her specifically to close the gap between the fact that I eat meat now and I must be honest with myself about what meat is: the flesh of a creature that was one alive.

The experience is really too raw for me to have any metaphysical grasp, yet. It's still in the "I did this thing" phase of processing. Being a "killer" has dropped a new blob of energy into my soul and it isn't finding a place to rest.

I might turn to vegan-ism. I might continue to be honest to my omnivorous nature. I am committed to continuing to learn how to move with integrity in this world, though.

Kate, thank you for pointing out Rebecca's blog to me.

kate

I LOVE your blog!

Where is your farm?

I'm sure it is on here somewhere, but it wasn't clear to me as a casual reader.

Thank you for doing this!

Rebecca T. of HonestMeat

Adam (& others)-
1) I wrote this post exactly because I can't stand fake or feel-good advertising that dupes customers into buying into the industrial model. I don't know how much supermarkets are complicit in this, but they too seem to be throwing around a bunch of words on their private labeled products and marketing materials that obfuscate the truth.
2) I would like to see some sort of certification for free-range, but the government doesn't always do this well. Voluntary certification, similar to where organics were before the feds stepped in, seems to work fairly well. The government typically waters down voluntary efforts, so perhaps they should stay out of it. Also, I don't think producers will start using the words "pasture-raised" unless their chickens are out on grass. Whereas free-range can mean free to walk about, you can't really say pasture-raised without the presence of pasture (at least I hope not!).
3) Prop 2 was needed because of the lack of transparency in the industry. If the industry continues to remain hidden and mysterious, more restrictive regulations are likely to follow because consumers don't like to be kept in the dark or lied to. It is very possible that groups will work to eradicate animal agriculture altogether, which will hurt our business, obviously.

adam

Hey Rebbecca,
1) Do you feel the problem with these marketing devises is that they are dishonest/non-transparent, contentious labeling, redundant rhetoric (like the 'hormone-free' label), a little bit of all of the above? Do you see supermarkets complicit in this system?

2) Do you think the government should set standards to certify 'free-range', not allow people to use such a label, or not interfere with such marketing? Also, do you imagine that in a few years people could be using 'pasture-raised' in a similarly dishonest way to appeal to disillusioned consumers?

3) Finally, I'm curious about the 'restrictive regulations' that have already been passed that you are referring to. Does this include Prop 2? And how would they 'hurt' your operation if it's as sustainable and high-welfare as you say. Taxation/certification for oversight/monitoring?

rich

You hit one of our sore spots with this. Unfortunately, it's not just the big producers that are capitalizing on the feel-good labeling...our local Portland markets are full of conventionally fed, near-confinement raised hens that are plugged, and priced, at the organic rate. Maddening.

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