One my favorite things to do is to make a daily visit with our animals be it the chickens, pigs, cows, or the many hives of honey bees. Much effort goes into providing a good life for these team players with the land and our health. We collaborate with the animals and bees in co-creating a better life. I’d like to be clear: none of the farms animals are commercial, industrial animals stuck in warehouses and maltreated. All of them live on pasture. All of them enjoy good grass and flowers, well drawn, clean water, and food scraps, fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
The chickens, for example are on pasture 12 months a year; each hen makes a decision to come-and-go as she pleases. She is an omnivore. No doubt that many people don’t know that chickens eat meat: bugs, worms, other meat pieces. Chickens are not by nature vegan or vegetarian. In the summer I feed them plentiful amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, and squashes.
Get the point, yet? All of the animals are well-fed and happy and therefore produce great and nutrient dense eggs, meat, and honey. If you want to know what happy agriculture looks and tastes like, come visit. The pork products we make taste terrific as well as the beef, and the eggs. We can show you –you can experience– what “Certified Humane®” means without the legal imposition of the concept upon us. We want and desire the animals to be healthy and to be themselves. There’s chicken-ness of chickens.
Each May the land, animals and honey bees are given a blessing by a Catholic priest. We walk around the fields so that we encounter each thing to be blessed. It is a long standing tradition of asking the Lord of Life to bless us and the animals with generativity (fruitfulness), safety, good health while shunning negligence, pathogens and pestilence. The blessing also reminds us –it keeps the memory alive– of our humility and that all of life is given –that is, we don’t re-create life. We, the farmer and consumer, are stewards of precious gifts given to us. And in turn, these gifts magnify the beauty and power of the Most Holy Trinity through man and woman fully alive (cf. St. Irenaeus: Gloria Dei est vivens homo – “the glory of God is a living man.”). Meaning, God wants our happiness not merely in heaven, but also here on earth.
Let me not digress.
Nothing is better that nutrient dense eggs with a rich orange yolk encased in a strong shell. Pastured eggs makes extraordinary crème brûlée and zabaione, they change the rise in cakes, they fill you up, and they nourish the body. There is little concern in pastured eggs for the ugly cholesterol most fear giving us higher amounts of omega-3 fats, including, as science reveals, lutein and zeaxanthin, with excellent amounts of vitamin D, four times more vitamin E, antioxidants that we need to protect the eyes and reducing eye diseases. In short, our eggs contain high-quality protein and healthy fats.
One of my favorite farmers is the Virginia farmer, Joel Salatin. He owns the well-known Polyface Farms. Joel educates contemporary farmers to do what is right, noble, and reasonable. He’s a farmer who combines the wisdom of great agricultural practices of the past and the experience of today. He challenges the conventual farmer to think and act differently. Why? Have you price cancer recently? The food we eat either builds or corrupts the whole of our person: body, soul and mind.
The other day Joel wrote on his blog, “The Musings of a Lunatic Farmer,” where he draws our attention to the ignorance of people complaining about the color of the egg yolks from pastured raised hens. At first I thought the Joel was joking around. Then I realized he’s got his finger on the pulse –or the lack of a pulse– of many people who today regard real, healthy food produced on healthy, beautiful land with disdain, ignorance and outright stupidity. There. I said it. We have stupid people in this world. You know, it doesn’t have to be that way. If people used their reason and not social media to form their intellect we would be so much better off.
You’ve got to read: “Orange Egg Yolks –Yuck.”