What’s the difference between caged and cage-free hens? Not much. The animals still spend their entire lives packed into a barn with hundreds of other hens, living their lives in just one square foot of space, on average. But because the public believes that cage-free is better, companies like McDonalds, Starbucks and Costco have embraced plans to phase out caged and heavily market cage-free eggs. As the egg-heavy Easter and Passover season is just around the corner, it’s important to know what you’re buying into when it comes to your eggs–and why pasture raised and free range eggs are better.
It’s important to know exactly why pasture raised and free range eggs are best. This year, I’ll be buying Blue Sky Family Farms certified GMO-free and organic pasture raised and free range eggs, which are sold in more than 750 grocery and specialty stores nationwide. In contrast to conventional caged production, in which chickens are confined to group cages that give them as little as eight inches of space per bird, Blue Sky’s new 10-acre pasture raised and free range egg production facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. gives them room to move. Each hen lives in about 21 square feet of outdoor space, where they can forage, scratch, perch, nest and flap their wings—natural behaviors for birds that are prohibited in caged and even cage-free environments. Check out these happy chickens!
Proudly trumpeting their “ethical eggs for the humane race” tagline, Blue Sky Family Farms is certified to achieve the highest Humane Farm Animal Care “Certified Humane” standards. Their parent company, Egg Innovations, is the nation’s largest 100% free range and pasture raised egg company, which believes in “moving animal welfare forward and bringing family farming back.” (Love that.) All eggs are certified organic, as well as antibiotic, hormone and GMO-free, and hens are never fed animal byproducts.
But it’s not just altruism that has me hooked on Blue Sky Family Farms free range and pasture raised eggs. With thicker shells, creamier whites and rich orange yolks, these eggs just look and taste better.
Want to try? Enter to win a coupon for a dozen Blue Sky Family Farms free range eggs. And let me know if you taste the difference, too!
Then, try this delicious recipe I discovered from Blue Sky—perfect for breakfast, lunch or (if you’re a Francophile, like me) dinner!
Mini Spinach, Mushroom, & Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Quiche is delicious, but it often includes ingredients like heavy cream, buttery crust, and high-calorie meats and cheeses. This mini quiche takes a lighter approach: It weighs in at around 245 calories—not bad! The recipe serves one; simply increase the ingredients to make it in quantity. I made 12 in a muffin tin and they were delicious!
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup sweet potato shreds
¼ cup chopped mushrooms
½ cup baby spinach
2 Blue Sky Family Farms pasture raise or free range eggs
2 tablespoons goat cheese crumbles
1. Peel a sweet potato, cut it in half depending on the size, and grate it into large shreds.
2. Grease a ramekin with ½ a teaspoon of olive oil and press the sweet potato shreds into the bottom and sides.
3. Roughly chop ¼ cup of mushrooms and steam or sauté them until they are lightly cooked through.
4. In a small mixing bowl, scramble eggs.
5. Add the mushrooms and spinach to the egg mixture and stir until incorporated.
6. Pour into the sweet potato crust and top with crumbled goat cheese.
7. Bake on a cookie sheet in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes until the egg mixture is cooked through.
8. Season with salt and pepper.