The Color of Egg Shells

Eggs blue green brown freckled

Why do some eggs have white shells, and some eggs brown shells?

The ear lobe of the mother hen determines the color of the egg:  white ear lobes, white eggs; brown ear lobes, brown eggs.  You can easily test this by reaching under a lot of hens—it works every time.

Our eggs are blue, green, pink, and dark brown.  But our eggs are not beautiful because of the color of the shells, or the ear lobes of the mother hens.

Industrial White, Industrial Brown?

By the early 1980’s, grocery stores sold only white eggs on their shelves.  That was because industrial egg factories produced only white eggs.  The hybridized hens developed by corporate scientists were designed to be as small as possible, and therefore consume less feed, to save expenses.

These industrial hens were descended from white layers, so they laid white eggs.  Every grocery store in America carried white eggs, not because of quality, taste, health, or concern for the treatment of the hens, but simply to cut down on expenses.  Taste and health, as anyone who ate these eggs could tell, were not priorities for the egg producers.

Eventually, however, the industrial egg conglomerates faced a big problem:  their white eggs earned a bad reputation among consumers due to the hormones, steroids, and antibiotics fed to the hens, not to mention the filthy and inhumane conditions of the egg factories.  White egg sales declined.

A Marketing Solution to a Perception Problem

Research by the egg conglomerates revealed that American consumers believed brown eggs were “farm eggs”, as opposed to “white grocery store” eggs.  The egg corporations capitalized on this consumer perception by introducing brown layers into their factories, and rebranding their product as “farm eggs”.

There was nothing different about the inside of the eggs; they were still full of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals.  The egg factories were as filthy and inhumane as ever.  But the corporate rebranding to brown eggs worked.  Brown egg sales soared, and soon brown eggs were as common on grocery store shelves as white eggs.  And all the egg factories had to do was replace white ear lobes with brown ones.

The egg corporations actually made money from this rebranding, because they sold “farm eggs” for a substantially increased price, much greater than the miniscule increase in feed costs for brown layers.  The brown eggs sat next to the white eggs on the grocery store shelf, and cost ten to twenty percent more, but the inside of the eggs did not change a bit.

Diversification in the Henhouse

We keep a wide variety of laying hens on our farm, and even their names are beautiful:  barnevelders, cuckoo marans, ameraucanas, black langshans, black australorps, Rhode Island reds, dominiques, barred rocks, and more.  We continue to add new varieties all the time.

Diversification in the henhouse increases the health of the flock just as diversification in the garden increases the health of the soil.  Some breeds fare better than others during the intense summer heat in Rockport, and some breeds take to pasture and forest better than others.  By selectively introducing breeds, we can easily track the ages and production of each cohort.

A natural selection based on climate, soil, native forage, and other localized factors helps us build the healthiest possible flock.

What’s on the Inside?

The diversification of our flock gives us a wonderful variety of color in our egg shells:  blue, dark brown, green, and pink with purple freckles.

Our hens live in the fields and fresh air and sunshine of our farm.  Their diet consists of grass, weeds, bugs, produce from our gardens, and our customized feed ration.  Our hens are routinely rotated onto fresh garden space, where they eat down the remaining harvest and green material, and fertilize and cleanse the soil for the next planting.

Our eggs are a pure distilled taste of Rockport, as fresh and healthy and delicious as any eggs anywhere.  Our eggs are beautiful, but not because of what is on the outside.  They are beautiful because of what is on the inside.

August Tomatoes

High, 98; Heat Index, 109; Low, 80; Humidity 76%; Wind SSE at 21

Friends, we invite you to stop by Coastal Bend Health Foods today for wonderful ripe red tomatoes, freshly picked from our garden.  We also offer eggplant, butternut and scaloppini squash, hot peppers, okra, mint, oregano, and basil.

You may find our pastured chicken in the frozen section, as well as our pork chops, ribs, pork roast, ground pork, and fresh bacon.  We collect our farm fresh eggs daily and deliver them to Kimmi’s store with our produce and herbs.

Tomatoes at 98 degrees

Wonderful August Tomatoes

It is nearly impossible to grow tomatoes in Rockport in the blistering heat of late July and August.  Tomatoes typically do not set fruit when the nighttime soil temperature rises above 70 degrees.  The noontime sun can rot tomatoes on the vine in a single day, and burn the vines to dust.

In our Spring gardening talks, we discussed some of the techniques we use to grow prolific tomatoes through the worst of our summer heat.  Drip irrigation beneath a deep oak leaf mulch, early morning and evening shading from oak trees, native wood ash and crushed oyster shell amendments, and strategic companion planting are some of these methods.

However, the key factor in our ability to produce such sweet, flavorful, and prolific tomatoes in this intense heat is the health of our soil.  This factor is more important than all the other techniques combined.  There is no shortcut to developing this kind of soil health, and there is no possible way to duplicate it with chemicals.

Each successive year that we employ our heritage farming methods, we increase the health and vitality of our plants, animals, and environment.  And with each new garden cycle, the taste of our produce improves.  The taste of our food is very unique—it is the flavor of our farm, a distilled taste of Rockport.

More Tomatoes and Eggplant to Come

Click on the photo above for a better view of our tomato garden.  We plant one row of tomatoes on a fence trellis, then two rows of eggplant, then another row of trellised tomatoes, and repeat.  The tomato vines grow extremely tall and dense, and having eggplant on either side allows easier harvest.  We have just finished harvesting all the collards, cabbage, chard, lettuces, radishes, carrots, beets, and turnips that grew on that space as companions to our tomatoes and eggplant.

You can see many green tomatoes still on the vine, so we expect to offer tomatoes through the middle of August or longer.  Stop by Kimmi’s store to get yours.  Thank you for shopping locally!

Two More Weeks of Tomatoes

End of May Harvest

End of May Harvest

Tomatoes, beans, eggplant, peppers, collards, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, scaloppini, ginger, basil, oregano, and more!

Friends, we invite you to Coastal Bend Health Foods today and tomorrow to shop at a local store that would love to have your business.

To prepare for your Memorial Day weekend celebration, we offer a wide variety of freshly picked produce.  We offer fresh chickens today and tomorrow.

Stop by Kimmi’s store and discover the difference our heritage farming methods bring to the flavor and health of your food.

Daily Harvest for End of May

Edible Squash Blossom

Tomatoes, large, roma,  cherry, and roma grape.  Eggplant, Japanese and black beauty.

String beans:  stringless, purple pole beans, French long, Kentucky Wonder, and Mayflower beans (these heritage beans were brought over on the Mayflower, and the seeds have been continued unchanged for 400 years, and you can enjoy them grown on our farm).

Squash:  acorn, butternut, gray-striped zucchini, yellow straight and crookneck squash, dark green zucchini, yellow scallopini, Mexican, Italian long, and spaghetti.  We also offer our beautiful edible squash blossoms upon request, perfect for stuffing with ricotta, cream cheese, or other fillings, and so delicious.

Carrots, collard greens, and kohl rabi.  Our companion planting methods allow us to continue to harvest all of these winter vegetables until July.

Thai, serrano, and jalepeno peppers.  Coming soon, sweet peppers.

Ask Kimmi about our freshly picked ginger, as well as basil, oregano, and thyme.

Fresh Chickens Today and Tomorrow

Enjoy fresh broilers in the 3, 4, and 5 pound range, as well as half-chickens, perfect sizes for roasting.  We offer blue, green, dark brown, and speckled eggs, lovingly gathered every day.

Pastured Pork on the Grill

Get the grill ready for pork chops!  If you love hamburgers, try using our ground pork for the best burger ever.  We also have roast, ribs, and bacon.

Thank you friends for shopping locally!  Please enjoy!

Beans on Corn Stalk Trellis

Tres Hermanas: Harvesting beans from a corn stalk trellis.

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