Rockgate Farm

  (Conway, Missouri)
A Small Slice of Heaven!
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The Truth About Eggs... Part 2

Part 2:

  Are free range, pastured eggs higher in certain Vitamins and Omega 3 Fatty Acids? Welllllll, before I answer that question, clarification of terms is required. 

The general public is actively being mis-led by the terminology used by the egg industry.  Let me break it down for you.

1.  Organic:  natural feed with no hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic particals such as preservatives.

2.  Antibiotic free:  Could be anything without antibiotics.  Does not stipulate organic status.  Be very careful here, as almost all "chick" feed contains some type of antibiotics.  It is the industry standard.

3.  Hormone free:  see number 2, but substitute "hormone" for "antibiotics".  All commecial  meat bird/butcher bird feed will contain growth hormones, as will game bird food.

4.  Cage free:  Bird is not confined to a cage, but is most likely on a brooder house floor, with several thousand other birds.  Very unhealthy, and VERY misleading.  A breeding ground for diseases. 

5.  Free Range:  The worst term.  Means NOTHING.  If the bird has access to a run, outside, for at least a half hour a week, the flock owner can claim "free range".  The rest of the time, they're in a brooder house, or factory in cages.

6.  Pasture Raised:  This term means EVERYTHING to me.  At least the bird is allowed access to nature, at some time or another.  But, know your farmer.  Ask for proof and an explanation of what this means to them.  Pasture raising birds is very costly.  Loss to predators and poachers can be staggering.

After my last blog, a reader (Gary_twist@hotmail.com) requested that I prove or disprove claims that farm fresh eggs were higher in vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids.  Well, here is my response:

Maybe.  It depends on how the flock is managed.

Pasture Raised, yes.  On pasture, they are foraging for natural foods.  Deriving consideral proteins from grubs and insects, vitamins and minerals occuring naturally in the soil and foliage.  What a bird eats, directly determines the quality of it's eggs.  Birds raised on pasture, suplimented with feeds high in polyunsaturated fats and kelp meal, will produce eggs with yolks measurably higher in vitamin A, E, D, Beta caretin (sp), and Omega 3 fatty acids.  The are also lower in cholesterol and fats.

This I will attest to....but nothing else.  Please be aware that a study in 2010 by the FDA/USDA determined that there was NO distinguishable difference in protein and crude fat levels in pasture raised vs commercial egg production.

So, the studies and debates continue.  Would I buy pastured eggs before commercial eggs, certainly.  I like to hedge my bets.  Even if the benefits are over-stated somewhat, what do you have to lose?

Hope this has been helpful.

 
 

So, let the games begin!

So, it finally happened.....The Government drew a line in the sand  that I just wouldn't/couldn't cross.   Just one more hit to the small farmer/producer. 

In my misguided attempt to "do it right", I made it past the county and the state requirements.  I attended their Process Control School.  I got myself certified every which way....I cooked in a commercially inspected kitchen, but it just wasn't enough.

NOW, I need to be registered with Homeland Security....I could actually be a potential bio terrrorist.  Lord knows how many people I could do in with my Salsa and pickles...eh?  I realize that I could be considered a Serial Pickler, but this is down right ridiculous. 

Once I break down and register with Homeland Security...we begin the actual process control.  Each one of my products, in each size jar is considered a process.  Each process must be submitted to an independant Process Authority to be tested and approved.  That cost can range anywhere from $250-$500 per process.  I estimated that it would cost me somewhere in the $40,000.00 range to get all my processes approved.....That's a lot of pickles!!

And, should any of my ingredients change....such as the variety of tomatoes in my Salsa, it's a new process.  Sweet, huh?

So, bottom line.....it is no longer legal for me to SELL salsa, pickles or relish.  Can't afford the process costs.  So, I've closed my listings. 

Now, you dairy people out there who complain because you can only sell raw milk from the farm...take notice...I don't even have that option.  I cannot sell acidified foods at all.  I am completely shut down.  FEDERAL.  My Grandmothers would be mortified.

Home processing is now becoming a thing of the past.  Unless your name is Libby, Del Monte, or Vlassic....you are  most likely not producing legally.  Anything promoted as  Amish made....is actually produced in a factory.  Where I come from, Amish don't work in factories.  Home made pickles are only for personnal consumption.  Those Hot Pickled Eggs that I've made so popular...are no longer available....unless you have something to trade:)

Hey, let's bring barter back on a large scale!!

But then again, they would probably figure out a way to regulate that also :(

 
 

Preserving the Right to Preserve

MY GRAMMA DIDN'T USE NO STINKING PH METER!!!!!!

Ok, so I may be a little out of touch with the times, and granted...I do live in my own little world....but I like it here!!!  In my little world, we remember and follow family traditions.  We respect and treasure what we learn from our Mothers and Grandmothers.  We value those traits and skills that they took the time to teach us.

After all, they did reach maturity and live to a ripe old age.....even without the FDA, USDA, Health Department, and Home-land Security monitoring their every move.  Most of my relatives have lived into their 70's and 80's quite well drinking raw milk and eating home canned food.

So, what's so different about today?  Well, to start with, you most certainly cannot produce high acid or acidified foods without a certified kitchen, and "process control".  I'm not going to go into a bunch of detail about this, other then to say that you can forget home-made pickles and relishes.  If you get them, they're most certainly NOT home-made.  Federal Statute won't allow it!! 

Can you imagine having to register with Home-land Security...just to sell Salsa?  It's true!!!  And you Dairy people think you've got it bad......At least you have the "pick up at the farm" option.  Picklers can't even do that!!!  If you notice, I've shut down all my listings for pickles, relishes and salsas.  Wouldn't want to end up in "the Pen" for pushing pickles.

Hmmm, imagine.....black market pickles :)  Does give one pause to question  things a bit, doesn't it?  

 

 
 
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