I was lucky enough to be raised in community that still lives off the land, so most of what we ate growing up was grown, harvested or caught within a 30-mile radius. But unlike many of our neighbors, we really have never housed any type of farm animal or livestock, even though we do live on 200 acres in Grand Bay, a rural South Alabama town of about 3,000.
So when my mother decided she and my step dad wanted to buy almost two dozen chickens to raise on their own, I was a little surprised, and a little grossed out actually. (If any of you have ever spent five minutes near a chicken coop, you know what I’m talking about!)
So why, I wondered, did they want to raise their own chickens, which need so much care and attention, when they could just visit the local grocer? Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to find out why. Three words: fresh farm eggs. It doesn’t get any healthier and tastier than this.
According to a 2007 study by Mother Earth News, eggs from hens raised in the pastures versus commercial eggs contain four to six times as much vitamin D, 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, two times more omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E and seven times more beta carotene.
Aside from the many health benefits of eating fresh eggs, there’s just something about toting the egg basket out to the chicken coop late afternoon in the summers and discovering eggs so fresh that they’re still warm to the touch. Whether it’s an award-winning bowl of homemade potato salad, famous scrambled eggs or made-from-scratch pumpkin pie, it seems that Mom always has a use for the dozen eggs she collects from her hens each day. Check out how I spent my afternoon gathering eggs with Mom and my step-nephew Brian during a trip home in July!