Posts Tagged ‘Cornucopia Institute’

A good egg.

Our friends at the Cornucopia Institute have made our lives easier – again. This time, its by providing eggcellent info to help us consumers cut through the greenwashing and figure out whether we are buying humanely raised, organically-fed chicken eggs.

It’s all in their recent report, Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture. This report outlines which eggs are really humanely raised and sustainable and which are from factory farms make false claims about being pastured  or organic.

They’ve also developed another one of their super-useful scorecards. It rates almost 70 different name-brand  and private-label eggs based on a score of 1 to 5  with 5 being the best.

The criteria includes stuff like: adequate outdoor indoor and space, whether the farm is family owned or corporate managed, whether the hens have access to poophole/exits and overall commitment to organic. I’ve attached a PDF of their appendix of their complete ratings here. (Via Cornucopia Institute)

It’s interesting, for starters, to look at what they were researching. Like, what do the farms do with their manure? Or do the hen’s have a place to perch? Do they rotate the chicken coops so the hens can graze on fresh vegetation? And does the farm raises its birds from chicks?.

Here’s what a “5-egg” or “Exemplary” rating means. The eggs come from small to medium-scale family farms that, “raise their hens in mobile housing on well-managed and ample pasture or in fixed housing with intensively managed rotated pasture. They sell eggs locally or regionally under their farm’s brand name, mostly through farmer’s markets, food cooperatives and/or independently owned natural and grocery stores and sometimes through larger chains like Whole Foods.”

A 1 egg rating means that the farm is, “ethically deficient – industrial organics/no meaningful outdoor access and/or none were open enough to participate.” Our friends at Trader Joe’s got a 1 egg rating, and disturbingly enough, so did 365 Organic.

The very expensive The Country Hen eggs, which are available at my Bodega didn’t do much better. They got a paltry “2-egg” rating “which means that there is, “Some Questions Remain Concerning Compliance with Federal Standards.”

I didn’t recognize any of the brands from the 4 egg “Exemplary” category. And I’m a bit concerned that my personal brand of choice, Knoll Krest Farm, (which I buy from the Inwood Farmer’s Market) was not on the list.

However, now, armed with the right questions, I plan on calling up Knoll. I’ll keep you posted.

Commuter biking follow-up:

I rode my bike to the Inwood Greenmarket on Saturday to make up for the fact that I didn’t ride my bike to work last week. I was a bit freaked out by my last ride to work the week before. I now understand what people mean when they say driving in NY is hard. In a car, I’m fine. But on the bike — well it’s a whole different, slightly scary story. The bike path took me always the way down to 40th street, but then I had to cross the city during rush hour, past the Holland tunnel and the Port Authority.

Instead, I decide to ride to the Farmer’s Market in Inwood. It’s only about 20 blocks away, or three subway stops away, depending on how you measure the city.

In actuality, this ride made more of a difference in terms of my global footprint. I always take the subway to work. But I normally drive to the market, which is probably less than 2 miles away. I figured this ride would be a piece of cake next to trekking 140 blocks to work. But I hadn’t factored in the hills. And it was hot on Saturday .

As I huffed and puffed back to my stoop, I ran into one of my neighbors.

“Out for a ride?” she asked.

“No,” I said, “I just biked up to the Inwood Greenmarket.”

“Oh,” she said as she shifted to redistribute the weight in her plastic bags of groceries. “That place is great. I wish they had something like that near here.”

I didn’t state the obvious that Inwood was, “near here.” Instead,  told her about the farmer’s market on 168 the street on Tuesday morning. (There’s also one on 175 street on Thursday.)  In truth, we are lucky, there is Greenmarket on most days of the week in NYC — here’s the list.

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