October 7, 2010

The Good Egg Project in Portland Oregon {Webisode #44}

Two weeks ago I participated in a fabulous trip to Portland Oregon to tour the Willamette Egg Farms. My Farm to Table Tour was sponsored by The Good Egg Project. This is an effort by America’s egg farmers to educate people about where eggs come from and encourage them to join America’s egg farmers in the fight against hunger by pledging to “Eat good. Do good every day.” For each pledge made on GoodEggProject.org, America’s egg farmers will donate one egg to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief charity, up to one million eggs. Since 2009, America’s egg farmers have donated more than 28 million eggs to food banks and charities across the nation.

Joining me were some great friends and bloggers, Jennifer from Savoring The Thyme, Amy from She Wears Many Hats, Michelle from Gourmet Mom on the Go, Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, Erin from Prudence Pennywise, Kristy from The Wicked Noodle, Dara of Cookin’ Canuck, and Susan of She’s Becoming Doughmesstic.  We had the pleasure of being taught and accompanied by Howard Helmer, the World’s Fastest Omelet Maker (no joke!), Chef Jeffrey Saad upcoming star of the Cooking Channel’s new show The United Tastes of America and Mary Donkersloot, RD. Needless to say, it was quite a crew.

I have to say, I’ve always been an egg eater. I like them poached, olive-oil fried and soft-boiled with asparagus soldiers. I also enjoy them added to sandwiches, whipped into quiches and used for souffles or french toast. In short, eggs go into just about everything I make. It is no wonder I buy at least two dozen each week. I was glad to hear Mary assure me that I was a-okay serving eggs to my family (this is not an egg-white only household!) because eggs are an all-natural high quality protein. One large egg has only 70 calories and provide all nine essential amino acids! Simply put, enjoying one egg a day is a perfectly healthy and delicious way to eat well. Just be aware of the company they keep – heavy bacon and cheesy potatoes can quickly increase your caloric intake and decrease the health value of your egg-a-day meal.

Chickens love being outside, but need to protected from predators

Chickens love being outside, but need to protected from predators

This farm tour seemed like a great way to educate myself on the production of eggs. I like to consider myself an educated consumer, always trying to make ethical and healthy choices for my family. I usually try to buy eggs at my local farmer’s market, but that is not always possible. When it isn’t I turn to my local grocery store. There are millions of ways to label cartons these days I always buy organic whenever I can. As you’ll see in the video above, I was able to see the way all three kinds of eggs are farmed – Organic, Cage-Free and Caged – and found them each fascinating. I still maintain that organic eggs are the healthiest, but the cage-free hens have a good life too. Their houses were spotless and a USDA inspector is on the farm full-time to ensure they maintain a clean bill of health. The owners of this farm clearly care about their hens and the quality of their product. I was blown away when I was told they produce more than 1.6 millions eggs per day!

I could go on and on about the tour but I think the best thing at this point is to watch the video. The tour was incredibly well organized and after the egg farms we spent the afternoon cooking with Howard and Chef Saad. If you think I’m joking, check out these videos of The Wicked Noodle and Savoring the Thyme. I’ll have a video of me cooking with Howard up very soon. So, press play and let me tell you all about my amazing trip to Oregon!