Happy hens, healthy eggs.
$6.50 per dozen
At The Farm, Thursdays 330pm-730pm
Trinity Bellwoods Market, Toronto, Tuesday 3pm-7pm
Add-On to a CSA Share: $135 for 21 dozen
Pastured Hens lay the best eggs.
At CloverCroft we supply "The Ladies Who Lunch" with a diversified diet: organic grain ration, amplified by their own natural tendency to scratch and eat grasses and to chase bugs, as well as extra greens and produce from the garden. Pastured poultry are protected from predation and are moved weekly to new ground which allows our hens the freedom to live and act as chickens should. The combination of all these factors enables us to raise healthy hens who produce vibrant eggs with significantly higher and more diverse nutrient profile than traditional grocery store offerings.
The Farm: 285 Ayr Road, Thursdays, 330pm-730pm.
Toronto: Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market. Tuesdays from 3-7pm, Dundas and Shaw. Pre-order only.
Add Eggs to a CSA Share: When signing up for a Vegetable Share, you may choose to add 21 dozen eggs to your 21 week share for $135.
$7/doz Wait, really? Gosh, that sounds expensive.
We've struggled with this cost for a while. The bottom line is, its more than worth it. $6.50 is still cheaper than organic eggs at most grocery stores, and after raising hens for a while now we've come to realize that our eggs outstrip the grocery store options by leaps and bounds.
In keeping tabs on the organic egg scene, the eggs we've found available for purchase that most closely resemble how we raise eggs at CloverCroft, are normally sold for $9 a dozen. Which is also expensive, but also just a bit more expensive than a fancy latte from the Starbucks.
Most of the cost comes from purchasing Organic Feed, something that we're not willing to cave on.
At $6.50/dozen, we're just breaking even. We cover the costs of raising the hens and feeding them, but not actually paying ourselves for a time consuming enterprise on the farm. We considered removing the egg program because of this, but we just love these silly hens so much, we can't bear to not have them around.
There comes a time when a laying hen is about 1.5 years old, when her egg productivity naturally decreases, the shell becomes thinner, the albumen more watery. It begins to cost more to feed a large group of these hens than we can reasonably recoup in selling their more-sporadically laid eggs, and the hens are then processed as stewing meat. At this point a new group of laying hens takes over.
Here at the farm, one of our highest priorities is to provide our livestock the best quality of life we can. Our cultural practices are designed around encouraging our livestock to live similarly to how they would in a natural state, but also in a way that they are protected from predation and the elements, and productive for the farm. While it's difficult to say goodbye to these animals, we're grateful for the way they nourish our lives and the important role they play in the having a healthy farm, and we show our appreciation in respecting them as much as possible throughout their lives.
Stewing Hens are available frozen while supplies last. They are sold for $12 each which helps offset the cost of rearing pullets prior to them starting to lay.
A stewing hen makes for some of the best broth and gravy you'll ever taste, and work wonderfully in soups and stews. This is an excellent way to finally appreciate your laying hens.
For large scale production of poultry, that industry must encourage certain traits in their breeding programs which at times conflict with the health of the bird. An example is the meat industry where the birds grow so fast that some can no longer walk near the end of their short lives, but produce a large carcass for general consumption. It also means we've come to grow only two breeds of chicken: The Meat Bird and The Egg Machine thrive while other beautiful breeds are quickly disappearing.
Heritage breeds celebrate the biodiversity that once was our poultry scene. Birds that can lay a decent amount of eggs, and also put on some weight, but cannot compete with the requirements of a supply managed commodity. They excel at being chickens, and we celebrate that here at CloverCroft. We maintain a group of several different heritage breeds, encouraging natural traits in all: mothering, foraging, activity, manners, and of course, hilarity.