Few months back, a friend suggested I take her place in the local farm’s meat CSA program. She was pregnant and the thought of eating half of a hog or 22 chickens was making her nauseous. understandably.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s the idea of sustaining local farms and vendors and supporting environmentally conscious views.
Initially when I first read about CSA’s I came across Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. Intrigued by the concept I found Valerie and the Cincinnati Locavore group she created on yahoo which really made me want to join a vegetable CSA. After contacting local farms I quickly realized vegetable CSAs are much more popular than I expected, here in Cincinnati; none of the farms had space in their vegetable program. I left the idea alone until the pregnant friend approached me for the meat CSA. And I thought I would much rather eat chickens that lived a healthy, free range life than chickens that are locked up in their tiny cages for their short lives, slaughtered and then travel 500+ miles to get to my local grocery store. And same for those pigs and sheeps. baaaaaa. After speaking with the husband and a close friend, we all agreed to join.
Our chore at the farm is to feed the chickens, hogs, sheep (we get our meat from these animals), the farm horses and the dogs. We would essentially be these animals’ food and water providers for the times we sign up to feed them. When we started (half way into the program’s cycle) we had first hand experience with the eggs before we even had our share of the meat. For each chore period we work, we get half dozen eggs.
As you can see, the chickens lay colorful eggs.
The husband made me a simple omelet from the eggs we’d picked the night before. The recipe includes 3 eggs, diced onions, halved pear tomatoes (grown by a close friend), chopped green onions, green chili pepper (as little or as much as you want based on your heat preference), salt and pepper. Mix everything together. Add oil to a small skillet on medium low heat, then add the egg mixture and cook couple minutes on one side. Neither of us are much fans of flipping our omelets but if you are, go head. I am sure your partner, friend or pet will enjoy watching you splatter everything outside the skillet. The key to a good omelet is to cook low and slow. If cooked on high, the moisture cooks out from the eggs and you end up with dried, rubbery omelet.
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the eggs from the farm because it brings out their freshness and light taste. Once you eat farm fresh eggs, you'll never eat store bought eggs.
Notice how yellow the omelet is; that's not an accident. I read that the locked-up-in-cage, corn and yellow-dye eating chickens lay eggs that have pale yellow yolks while the grass fed, free range chickens lay bright orange eggs. I am also tickled about picking eggs one night and eating them for breakfast the next as opposed to eating eggs that have been sitting in the grocery stores for weeks.
Although we all had our doubts and weren’t sure if we would be able to eat the meat from the chickens we fed and bacon from the hogs we watered, so far the freshly laid eggs have worked out quite pleasantly.
And to that I say Thank You for getting pregnant, friend!