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HELP! trying not to travel too far for cage-free eggs..impossible dream?

i
Idas Jan 19, 2012 09:06 PM

Hello
I am seeking cage-free eggs. I normally only ever see true cage-free free roaming eggs from Hope ECO-Farms at Big Carrot and Brickworks evergree.
It is killing me to commute there, especially in the winter.

Are these anywhere closer to Yonge & Lawrence, organic wasteland? (We managed to kill the first organic grocery store here in record time because people would not support them.).
thanks!
Idas

  1. k
    KraTToR Feb 15, 2012 01:03 PM

    I thought loblaws sold free range chicken eggs..??!!??

    1 Reply
    1. re: KraTToR
      i
      Idas Feb 15, 2012 02:00 PM

      Unfortunately I understand that "Free-range" doesn't mean humane. By definition by the Ontario Egg Farmers association, all Free-Range means is this: A production system where hens have access to the outdoors.
      This access hatch can be pathetically small and unreasonable for the number of hens in that particular egg production factory.
      My lay-person (no pun intended ) assumption of the Egg definition mean "access to outdoors " does not certify that the hens are not at times caged.

      http://www.getcracking.ca/Farmers/PDF...
      There is also a lot of information on chowhound on the egg issue.
      Id

    2. Kagemusha Jan 31, 2012 05:37 AM

      I've bought eggs farmgate off several Brampton farms for a few years. I''ve resigned myself to skipping them in the winter since there's no taste premium. It's become a seasonal thing for me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha
        f
        Flexitarian Jan 31, 2012 08:43 AM

        Care to share where I could go in the summer in Brampton to get these eggs?

        1. re: Flexitarian
          i
          Idas Feb 4, 2012 06:41 AM

          I toyed with the idea of just having to get my own chicken...though in my neck of the city the peeps would have a COW. My parents (still at Keele and Wilson) used to have them when I was a little girl. Those were some damn good eggs.
          Thanks to everyone for the interesting comments and incredible research. I got eggs from Culinarium yesterday. Taste differences or not, the karma of that egg sits best in my stomach and worthy of a financial sacrifice for me.
          Just a side note, egg colour in my mind is been obliterated because farmers can doctor the egg colour with marigold petals in feed so esthetics aside, IMHO a good egg comes from a good farm. You people ROCK. I love ya's.

      2. prima Jan 20, 2012 09:25 AM

        .

        21 Replies
        1. re: prima
          f
          Flexitarian Jan 20, 2012 10:19 AM

          I'm gonna visit the Hope Eco Farms in the spring to see how these hens are really raised. I don't mind paying a premium for what I think these eggs are but I want to know that that is indeed what I am getting. I'll report my findings.

          1. re: Flexitarian
            a
            auberginegal Jan 20, 2012 10:25 AM

            i just found this on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2sWyK...
            if you do still visit, i'd be interested to know whether the video accurately reflects what you see!

            also thanks Idas for the original post, i was wondering the same thing recently about where to find cage-free eggs

            1. re: Flexitarian
              m
              magic Jan 20, 2012 11:06 AM

              I like you. You do all my legwork for me.

              This is VERY appreciated.

              Please report back in the Spring, Flexitarian. I'm sure we'll all benefit from your fantastic effort.

              1. re: magic
                i
                Idas Jan 30, 2012 05:53 PM

                Me too!! Thank you all!!!!!

                1. re: Idas
                  Ediblethoughts Jan 30, 2012 06:06 PM

                  Me also! I don't mind paying a premium either. A member of the Toronto Vegetarian Association once suggested I get my own chicken (as a pet) who could produce eggs for me since then no harm no... foul.

              2. re: Flexitarian
                f
                Flexitarian Jan 30, 2012 06:16 PM

                I did a taste test this weekend. I bought Costco's Burnbrae eggs and then went to The Big Carrot and bought Hope Eco-Farms' 'Small Flock's Delight Brown Eggs from Hens on Green Grass'. No doubt the Burnbrae eggs are raised in the most factory/industrial way with caged hens. The Small Flock's, although labelled as being from hens on green grass, does say in small print on the carton that in the winter 'dried legume provided and lots of loose litter.

                I soft boiled both eggs so I could taste them as unadulterated as possible (and it's also my favourite way to consume an egg). Maybe it is the fact that it's the winter and Small Flock's hens aren't running around outside and foraging on fresh grass and other things they can find, but I found the Small Flock's eggs only very slightly more flavourful and that was only in the yolk, not the egg white. And the colour of the yolks were very similar. Also, since one egg was brown and one white I wasn't sure if I was biased knowing which was which. Maybe I'll have to prepare them without the shell to remove this bias.

                Now I know that taste isn't the only reason to buy Eco-Farms' eggs, as their hens are raised much more humanely, but it is one of the major differences I was looking for.

                I am going to try the taste test again in the spring to see if eggs hens raised on mostly grass taste any different. Has anyone had a different experience with 'winter' eggs?

                1. re: Flexitarian
                  m
                  magic Jan 30, 2012 07:30 PM

                  To me, I could give a sh!t about how they taste (well that's a bit dramatic but you get my drift). Insofar as this product is concerned what truly matters to me is how they are treated.

                  Taste is always important to me of course, but in this case it's mainly about the bird's quality of life as well as the environmental and even socio-economic benefits smaller flocks help foster.

                  1. re: magic
                    aser Jan 30, 2012 08:29 PM

                    Maybe it's the Chinaman in me, but taste trumps all. I'm not going to pay $6 for a carton that tastes not much different than Burnbrae. If taste is taken care of, the other things fall into place accordingly (living conditions, animal welfare). Taste = numero uno.

                    I buy Homestead Farms eggs usually, labelled as free run (they're ok). When lucky sometimes I get these eggs a farmer sells on the side since they're not licensed, their private stash. Highly illegal, but man are these the only eggs I've ever had in Ontario that brings back memories of uber rich yolks in Asia. It tastes like the chickens eat a lot of nasty critters, delicious.

                    I do my egg purchasing at Fiesta and Gasparro's.

                    1. re: aser
                      m
                      magic Jan 31, 2012 06:38 AM

                      Haha, fair enough.... : )

                      1. re: aser
                        f
                        Flexitarian Jan 31, 2012 08:42 AM

                        Actually it wasn't $6/carton. The costs were as follows:

                        18 Burnbrae Farms eggs from Costco - $3.69 = 20.5 cents/egg
                        12 Small Flocks eggs from The Big Carrot - $8.49/12 = 70.75 centsegg

                        So, Small Flocks was 50 cents more per eggs or 3.45 times as much. I didn't expect them to taste more than 3 times better but something up to twice as good. Now I have to do some soul searching about buying these eggs in the winter to support the living conditions of the hens.

                        1. re: Flexitarian
                          aser Jan 31, 2012 11:20 AM

                          I'm 99% certain the small flock eggs are $6.50 at Fiesta. I've also seen them at around that price at Qi health food stores.

                          For the record, I've had small flock eggs before. I just don't taste any value in them when compared to other free run/free range eggs that are in the $4-5 range. I buy those instead. I feel there should be incentive for farmers to produce a better tasting product. I reward their efforts with my wallet. I admire their ethics but at the end of the day I don't feel we should put up with average quality eggs (taste wise) at double the costs. It's done easily in many different parts of the world, why is it so hard to achieve in Ontario? Why are the illegal eggs I get for $5 far superior to these?

                          To expand on the taste philosophy. If something tastes good, it's most likely the animals were raised with care. I highly doubt a stressed/confined animal would yield tasty meat/eggs/dairy. So again, taste is my number one barometer.

                          Big Carrot is friggin expensive.

                          This entire thread can be summed up by "first world problems".

                          1. re: aser
                            m
                            magic Jan 31, 2012 05:26 PM

                            I'm not sure that treating animals with compassion should be a first world problem. Not sure what you mean by that.

                            It's a problem. Pure and simple. And it has global environmental, social, health, and political implications. I hope you're not diminishing this issue as one only the privileged cares about.

                            And even if that were true, thinking of this as a first world problem is a problem in itself.

                            1. re: magic
                              aser Jan 31, 2012 08:36 PM

                              Us complaining about the quality of our eggs = first world problems aka http://whitewhine.com

                              1. re: aser
                                m
                                magic Feb 1, 2012 05:51 AM

                                Ahh. I get it. Like "champagne problems". Gotcha.

                          2. re: Flexitarian
                            m
                            magic Feb 5, 2012 03:41 PM

                            Fiesta Farms has a sale on Small Flock now for $6.29

                            $8.49 is steep. Even for me. I find Big Carrot crazy expensive.

                            There's a place in north St. Lawrence Market building (west side of building) that usually has them for $6.49.

                            1. re: magic
                              m
                              magic Feb 11, 2012 08:54 AM

                              The place that sells Small Flock for $6.49 in St. Lawrence Market is called Golden Orchard - top level, west side. Near the pizza place.

                              1. re: magic
                                i
                                Idas Feb 15, 2012 12:17 PM

                                Another reason to visit the St. Lawrence! thank you Magic.

                                1. re: Idas
                                  m
                                  magic Feb 15, 2012 12:35 PM

                                  Pleasure!

                        2. re: magic
                          j
                          JennaBean Jan 31, 2012 08:51 AM

                          I'm with you on this one magic. We made a decision a few years ago to avoid mass farmed anything as much as we possibly can. Well I know I'm only one person making small choices, those choices matter much more to me than the cost or the slight difference in taste.

                          1. re: JennaBean
                            m
                            magic Jan 31, 2012 08:55 AM

                            Exactly. I'm paying more than double for a product that I honestly cannot sense a taste difference in, when compared to industro-eggs.

                            But to me, knowing that I'm supporting something that goes far beyond taste alone makes the cost worth it. For me at least.

                        3. re: Flexitarian
                          jayt90 Jan 31, 2012 02:48 PM

                          I get free run farm gate eggs for $2 per dozen, but I had to move to SW Ontario for this bounty. They are still rich and flavorful in winter, but better in spring. The hens can go out any time to get scraps, bugs, seeds, or grass. The photo is from December.
                          I encourage anyone interested to develop a farm gate itinerary on your days off.

                           
                           
                    2. c
                      crawfish Jan 20, 2012 03:41 AM

                      Culinarium?

                      http://www.culinarium.ca/

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: crawfish
                        b
                        bytepusher Jan 20, 2012 05:52 AM

                        Culinarium carries the "Small Flocks Delight" eggs, this is a cooperative started by a number of farmers in south west Ontario to pool their resources and operate a grading station so they can sell their eggs in stores and not be limited to the farm gate but I don't know if the are fully cage free.

                        1. re: bytepusher
                          f
                          Flexitarian Jan 20, 2012 06:51 AM

                          I too am interested in eggs from cage-free roaming hens. Eco-farm is a co-operative of 3 farms. Small Flocks Delight eggs are apparently from Hope Eco Farms. You could always call them to find out how the hens are raised:

                          HOPE Eco Farm (Franz Seeberger Family)
                          10737 Walker Road, Aylmer • 519-765-1031, ext.3

                          HOPE Eco Farm (Ira Stoll Family)
                          50521 Glencolin Line, Aylmer • 519-765-1031, ext.1

                          HOPE Eco Farm (Mervin Miller Family)
                          52013 Glencolin Line, Aylmer • 519-765-1031, ext. 4

                          1. re: Flexitarian
                            m
                            magic Jan 20, 2012 08:36 AM

                            I'm curious about Small Flocks as I do buy them....

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