Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs ARE NOT affected by egg recall. See Details »
Photo courtesy of @talbotcox

Gwen Jorgensen joins Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs

Our new partnership with Olympic Gold Medalist Gwen Jorgensen is something I’m extremely excited about for Pete and Gerry’s this year. If you don’t know who Gwen is, you will soon, and prepare to be impressed. She is one of those very extraordinary people that comes along every so often, and we’re incredibly lucky to have her as one of our Organic Egg Ambassadors.

The Road to Rio

Let me start by telling you just a little bit about Gwen’s accomplishments. She swam competitively at the University of Wisconsin, qualifying for three Big 10 Championships while also being named an All-American in both cross-country and track. Since beginning her career as a tri-athlete in 2010, she has won Rookie of the Year (2010), Triathlete of the Year twice (2013, 2014), Three National Championships (2013 – 2015), Two World Championships (2014 – 2015), and finally, Olympic Gold in 2016 at the Rio Olympics. Gwen was the first American to ever win Gold in the Triathlon.

For more on her career accomplishments see the full list here.

Gwen takes the Lead at the Stanford Invitational 10K. Photo by @talbotcox

We are in awe of her drive, discipline, and ability. And we love the fact that she eats eggs every day as part of her daily training diet. Still, there was another reason we reached out to Gwen to see if she would work with us to share her enthusiasm about Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. That is because, like many of you, she is a parent.

Stanley is in the House

Stanley was born in August of 2017. Gwen and husband Patrick are making the thrilling, yet always chaotic, adjustment to parenthood. Gwen is now learning not just what fuel she needs to nourish her athletic performance, but also what Stanley needs to nourish his growing body and brain.

“I don’t endorse products that I don’t use, and we use a lot of eggs at my house. My favorite breakfast, which is full of whole foods like nuts, bananas, oats and peanut butter, is topped by two poached Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs!” says Gwen.

Game On, Tokyo 2020

After taking a little time off after Stanley’s birth, Gwen is again training and has her sights set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. This time, she plans to compete in the marathon. She is one of those rare athletes than can be competitive in a wide range of sports and disciplines.

If you want to follow Gwen on social media you can do so on Instagram and Facebook. You can also get updates and recipes from her that are exclusively for Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs by following us on Facebook and Instagram as well.

If you are an athlete or a mom, like Gwen, comment below and let us know how eggs play a role on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner table!

Where Do Your Eggs Come From?

If you’re a regular purchaser of our organic, free-range eggs, you know that we don’t produce all our eggs here on the home farm in New Hampshire. We did once upon a time, when we were just a small family farm ourselves. But as demand for our wonderful organic eggs grew over time, we had a decision to make. Should we keep adding barn after barn to our farm, which is certainly an efficient way to produce eggs, and wind up more like the enormous factory farms that nearly put us out of business only a few years before? Or, should we grow in a smarter, kinder and more sustainable way?

We choose the latter.

Where Our Farms Are

We now sell eggs in all 50 states, and those eggs are laid by hens on over 50 independent, small family farms that we partner with (see the interactive map here). They provide us with incredible, organic, free-range eggs. We provide them with the processing, packaging, and transportation they need to get their eggs to market.

Becoming a Pete and Gerry’s Organic Egg Farmer

Each farm in our partner network must go through a years-long vetting process with us, and become certified by Humane Animal Farm Care to become Certified Humane, which insures that they will be able to produce the kind of high-quality eggs our customers expect. It’s a true partnership with our farmers. We work with them throughout the process – helping them with barn construction, equipment purchases, and in most cases, really teaching them how to be successful as an egg farmer. And it doesn’t stop there, we are in touch with all of them weekly about the nutrition mix in their feed, flock health, and a range of other issues.

Every Farm Tells A Story

The result is farmers that stay with us for many years and are able to support their families with a livable income. Most of them have young children who help walk the barns picking up eggs, take care of the birds, and work in the packing room where the eggs are placed into pallets for shipping to us. You can learn about their lives here, or by watching this video.

Growing by Staying Small

Our customers like you tell us they appreciate that their eggs are helping to support their states and local communities. In that spirit, we continue to develop new farm partnerships further west and south as our grocery distribution expands in those regions. It is a multi-year process, but we’re making progress. As a B Corporation, we’re very proud of the difference this business model is making in dozens of small communities where our farms thrive.

To see where our farms are today, you can click on our farm map and see all the individual farms in the states where we have partnerships thus far. If we’re not already there, we hope to be in your state producing local farm eggs very soon.

Know of a farm that might like to partner with Pete and Gerry’s? Have other comments about our small family farm approach to making your eggs? Please share with us in the comments!

Organic Soft Boiled Egg on Salad

Are Eggs Healthy?

Eggs are healthy. You just can’t say that.

Virtually everyone knows that eggs are nutritious. They are one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense, natural foods that you can find. Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein available. They boast generous amounts of Omega-3 and contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscles. They contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline. I could go on, seriously. All of that, for a slender 75 calories per egg.

But we can’t say that eggs are healthy. Not legally, not on the package. And we can’t tell people that they are “nutritious” or even “safe.” One of nature’s most perfect foods, and we can’t recommend that people eat it. Additional things that egg producers cannot say about their product include: “good for you,” “part of a healthy diet,” or “healthful.”

They will, however, allow us to say that they taste good. Which is nice.

Why can’t we say eggs are healthy?

If this seems like a triumph of well-intentioned consumer protection efforts over simple common sense, we would agree.

The original reasoning behind this policy goes back to the 1950s. The link between high cholesterol levels in the blood and health problems, like heart disease, was established by the now famous Framingham Heart Study beginning in 1948. But the USDA went further to make an unsupported conclusion that ingesting any food high in cholesterol would, in turn, drive up the levels of cholesterol in the blood, and thus should be avoided.

It turns out not all foods behave the same way in the body. Subsequent reviews of this study, and of numerous, more current studies, have revealed no evidence that egg consumption actually elevates cholesterol within blood levels. Thus, no correlation with increased disease risk can be drawn. You can read more about that here.

The USDA is not the only agency involved of course. The FDA also plays a significant role in the inspection of shelled eggs, as well as issues broad guidelines for all food products as to what can or cannot be labeled “healthy.”

Will they change the rule?

In recognition of the improved science and understanding around eggs, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, co-developed by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, eliminated their opposition to dietary cholesterol. Thus, eggs were no longer identified as a concern for overconsumption.

In fact, Karen DeSalvo, HHS assistant secretary for health, stated this at the time: “Eggs can be part of a healthy eating pattern and people should be thoughtful about including them into a healthy routine.”

That sounds promising. The FDA is currently reviewing their rules for what constitutes a “healthy” nutrient claim on food labeling as well. It seems that the science is catching up to the policy, ever so slowly. Today, eggs remain guilty of “misleading advertising” if they try to promote their considerable nutrition and health benefits, but hopefully soon, that will no longer be the case.

What are your thoughts regarding eggs and health benefits? Let us know in the comments below.

The featured image on this post comes from Reclaiming Yesterday, a member of our ambassador program. Click here to try the recipe.

B Corporation - Be the Change

What is a B Corporation?

Most people know what a “C” Corporation is, at least sort of. It just means they have incorporated under subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code and…well, we’re already falling asleep. But what is a B Corporation? And why did Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs decide to become one?

B Corporations, aka B Corps, are businesses that have decided to go beyond the very narrow goal of making profits. We seek to use business as a societal force for good. We have a triple bottom line of profits, people, and the planet. At Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, we wanted to ensure that we were maintaining the same standard of thoughtful and responsible business practices in the office, and in the community, that we did as Certified Humane farmers on our small farms.

How do you become a B Corp?

To become a B Corporation you go through the rigorous impact assessment process from B Lab, the non-profit that acts as the certifying body. This process looks holistically across all of the impacts of your business, on all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Think of it like being Fair Trade Certified when you buy coffee, or like the USDA Organic Certification when you buy Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, but for the entire company. B Lab certifies thousands of business around the world to ensure they are following strict guidelines around: employee welfare and policies, the environmental impact of the operations, impact on customers, and impact (positive or negative) on the community as a whole.

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs was first certified as a B Corporation in 2013, and we were the very first egg producer period to become so. This also applies to our Nellie’s Free Range Eggs and to Carol’s Eggs. Since 2013, we have been recertified twice, most recently this past year. If you would like to see our detailed report, click here.

And to learn more about having your own company become a B Corp click here.

Pete and Gerry's Caged Hen

What the end of the OLPP rule means for your organic food

The OLPP rule was created to ensure your organic food met the standards you’ve come to expect. That rule was just overturned. Here’s what you need to know.

It probably comes as a little surprise to anyone who reads this blog that the Trump Administration is hostile to small businesses, to everyday consumers, and to, well, animals. On December 15, 2017, they made official what everyone knew was coming: they killed the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule.

Read more in this Washington Post article.

A quick review of the OLPP Rule:

The OLPP rule was developed to close a significant gap in the original USDA Organic Standards, between consumer expectations and industry practice. This gap allowed unscrupulous producers to sell cheap organic eggs and meat by raising them in factory farm conditions. As long as the feed was organic, it didn’t matter if the animals were badly cramped and grossly mistreated.

OLPP sought to update the standards such that consumers who paid more for Organic got what they expected: humane treatment and healthy living conditions. It also sought to protect small, responsible farms that were already maintaining high standards of animal care to be able to compete with the rock-bottom prices of Big Ag Organic.

The rule was seven years in the making, going from conception, through public review, and final passage by the Obama Administration in 2016. It was the definition of a thoughtful, democratic process and should have been left in place. Out of the 47,000 public comments made about the proposed rule change, 99.9% were in favor of it.

Just 27 individual comments were opposed to the new rule. These were obviously 27 very powerful voices, however, because the Trump Administration instantly sided with this infinitesimal fraction of the country upon taking office. As Brian Levin of Perky Jerky said: “it’s just about getting the fat cat fatter.”

The results of the decision to kill the OLPP rule

The tragedy here is manifold. There are the small farmers, like those we work with every day, who will continue to have to try to absorb the actual costs of responsible farming, while their giant competitors ignore those costs. And, there are the consumers who are becoming increasingly mistrustful of the USDA Organic seal. This is so unfortunate because so many things about this voluntary standard remain important and meaningful. But it’s no wonder that trust is eroding with decisions like this one.

For now, we will keep up the fight. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has filed a lawsuit to see if a court will reverse this egregious abuse of power and process. Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs will continue to offer Certified Humane Free Range, Organic eggs that meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.

And you can help too; by learning which Organic eggs are following the spirit of the rules, and which are not. Share that knowledge with your friends and family. One way to know is to look for the Certified Humane symbol, the most respected third-party animal welfare certifier in the U.S.

Pete and Gerry's Pasture

What are Pasture Raised Eggs?

It’s a question we’re getting more and more. What does the pasture raised eggs label mean? How is it different from our Free Range pastured hens? And why aren’t Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs pasture raised?

We wrote a longer blog post about this, a little over a year ago, titled ‘Why We Are Free Range and Not Pasture Raised.‘ But, as the question continues to come up, it may be time for an update on the issue.

Humane Treatment of Animals

First of all, we support humane treatment for all farm animals, including hens obviously, and we sincerely hope that people will only buy free range and pastured raised eggs in the future. The Cage Free standard has already been co-opted by factory farms. It is better than the battery cages that still dominate the industry today, but only marginally better, as the hens are essentially confined to larger cages in massive industrial facilities with no outdoor access.

Pasture Raised Eggs vs. Free Range Eggs

As for the difference between free range and pasture raised eggs, they are both excellent standards; provided that they are certified by a credible 3rd party, such as Certified Humane, as ours are. Beyond that, our firm belief is that the amount of space our hens have is more than sufficient. You can see that in all of the photos of our family farms, where the hens rarely cover more than a small fraction of our substantial pastures.

History of Pasture Raised Standards

The much larger space requirement for Pasture Raised actually originates from a British soil management standard defined in the 1940s that was based on rotational grazing needs. In other words, the amount of space per hen was not based on having enough for the hens to be comfortable, but how much you need if you are moving flocks from pasture to pasture.

The idea was to ensure viable grass and soil for other crops or animals after the hens had been on it for a period of time. So the space requirement had nothing to do with animal welfare.

Despite this, it was adopted by the two primary certifiers in the U.S. as the “Pasture Raised” standard. And interestingly, the standard allows for “rotational fencing” meaning that even if they claim 108 sq. ft. per hen, that is the undivided total, not what is available to a hen on any given day.

More space is great. We applaud responsible egg farming at whatever scale. But the more space you use the higher your prices. One only has to look at the price of farmland to know this.

Pasture Raised Eggs vs. Organic Eggs

It’s important to not confuse Pasture Raised eggs with Organic eggs either. They are entirely different things. Laying hens, including Pasture Raised hens, do not get their primary source of nutrition from foraging. It comes from their feed, which is either organic, or it’s not. There are many Pasture Raised Eggs that are not organic as they are fed conventional feed that was grown with pesticides and herbicides.

Our Free Range Organic Eggs

At Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, we don’t see a meaningful difference in animal welfare between these two excellent standards, so we choose to maintain the Free Range standard and sell our Organic eggs for a bit less money. If you prefer to buy Pasture Raised eggs instead, we are absolutely fine with that. Just know that when you choose our Organic, Certified Humane, Free Range Eggs, you are guaranteed that you are getting an egg laid by a hen that has an exceptionally humane existence.

Can You Really Trust Organic?

Should you trust the word “Organic” when you see it on your food labels? Regrettably, 74% of Americans do not based on the most recent survey conducted by the market research firm The Mintel Group.[1]  I say regrettably because while not perfect, the USDA Organic program is one of the most successful and reliable standards ever implemented in the food industry. It has simultaneously revived the ability of smaller farmers and producers to compete with “Big Ag,” and at the same time, it’s given consumers a choice about what goes into their bodies and into the environment.

Part of the skepticism around organic is a lack of education about what organic means. Many people believe that “anyone can say it.” This is definitely not true (it is, however, true of the terms “all natural” and “farm fresh” which have no definition or standard whatsoever). Every category is a little different, but every organic product must be comprised of all organic ingredients and be annually certified by an independent organic certification agency, all under the oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the egg category, in order to be labeled USDA Organic, our hens must have received 100% organic feed from the time they are born and the pasture they graze on must have been kept free of pesticides or herbicides for a period of at least 3 years. There are even stipulations that address humane animal care, such as not allowing cages and having regular access to the outdoors.

So, are all organic eggs the same then? Definitely not. The regulations mentioned above are the minimum standard (and a very good one at that). But some giant egg producers who have seen the growth in organic have converted some of their conventional egg production to organic and are now only following the letter of the law, and not the spirit. For example, one producer in Michigan keeps millions of hens on one organic “farm” that is really an industrial scale egg complex. The “outside access” for these birds is token at best with only small doors at one end of giant enclosures leading to a small concrete porch. These birds live their lives inside massive warehouse aviary systems. It’s better than being caged, but it’s still not really getting to be a chicken – pecking in the grass, running, dust bathing, etc. At Pete and Gerry’s, we follow the USDA Organic standards and we also are Certified Humane Free Range, which means we take a host of additional measures to ensure our birds are happy and able to behave like real chickens.

As a member of the Organic Trade Association, I, and all our family farmers, have supported an effort to strengthen the humane animal care aspects of the organic rules. After a three-year effort, we finally were successful; but then recently, the Trump Administration postponed the rule change, and that may ultimately mean it’s not implemented. We will continue to push for this change (see recent blog post on this), but in the meantime, you can trust that our brand will continue to exceed the required standards.

So can you trust organic? Yes, to a great extent you can. But it’s certainly possible that some brands who are organic are not doing everything the way you would hope, while still being technically organic. Our advice at Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs is to understand the organic standard for the categories you buy and know that it is being enforced — but also understand that it’s worth digging a little deeper into how each brand is complying with and or exceeding that standard.

[1] The Natural/Organic Shopper – U.S., July 2017, The Mintel Group

Saving Organic Egg Farms

Recently, I submitted an editorial to some major national newspapers about some actions taken by the Trump Administration on the Organic Livestock & Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule that was placed into the Federal Register in the final weeks of the Obama Administration. This is a vital issue to all our customers and to all of our organic egg farmers whose very livelihoods may depend on it.

Here are the basic tenets of my letter:

The USDA, now headed by Agricultural Secretary Sonny Purdue, has delayed the implementation of the OLPP rule, for the second time, at the urging of several key members of Congress. This second delay is most likely to result in the rule simply being killed, unless the President, or someone in his administration, intervenes, which at this point is exceedingly likely.

The Organic Livestock & Poultry Practices rule was first crafted over three years ago and was then subjected to years of thoughtful review, examination, and public comment before finally being approved in January with a March 15, 2017, effective date. The rule is overwhelmingly supported by consumers, organic egg producers, and the organic community as a whole. Only “Big Egg” the formerly non-organic, not humane, mega-production companies now moving into the organic market oppose it. And they have some powerful friends.

What the imperiled OLPP rule does is simply standardize the requirements for the humane treatment of animals when their meat, eggs, butter or other products are sold under the USDA Organic seal. In effect, it just brings the original organic regulation up to date with consumer expectations. This rule was designed to correct the vague language in the original regulation and close loopholes so that consumers would get what they thought they were paying for. In the absence of clear standards, a number of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) were constructed to supply organic eggs. These operations have no regard for consumer expectations or animal welfare and treat animals like cogs in a giant machine. The rule was also designed to protect the small farms like those we work with, who were already farming responsibly, but could not compete with the lower prices coming from the giant factory farms that do not maintain outdoor access for the hens or any other humane standards. Big Egg’s lower prices are not driven by better farmers, superior technology, or smarter people – they are driven solely by the ability to confine massive numbers of hens into colossal warehouses. This disregard for animal welfare and a willingness to mislead consumers does not belong in organic food production. In fact, according to a recent study published by the University of Illinois, 86% of consumers, who often buy organic food, ranked animals raised with high animal welfare standards as highly important. We certainly know that’s how Pete and Gerry’s Organic Egg’s customers feel.

The Big Egg lobby, led by their congressional champions, Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Debbie Stabeno (D-MI), state two key falsehoods about the reason they want to kill this rule now:

One, they claim this will raise prices for consumers. This isn’t true. Organic eggs make up about 4% of the egg market; so it’s very misleading to suggest that all egg prices will increase. Furthermore, what we can say for sure is that it won’t raise prices for products already being produced responsibly, like ours. At Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, we partner with over fifty small, independent, family farms to produce our organic eggs. Not one of them will need to raise their prices as a result of this rule going into effect. And we are, collectively, the leading provider of organic eggs in the country. We don’t need to raise prices, because our farmers are not only already compliant with the revised standards, they exceed them. Allowing hens to move about freely, nest comfortably, drink fresh water, and get outside on grass in good weather is the only responsible way to farm, and it’s what consumers expect is the case when they buy organic.

There can be no illusions about whom Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow are trying to protect. In Roberts’ home state of Kansas, the largest egg corporation in the world keeps over one million organic laying hens on one site, with nearly 100,000 hens per building, stacked floor-to-ceiling, in a farm complex that could never attain the welfare standards mandated in the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. In Stabenow’s home state of Michigan, one of the largest caged egg suppliers to the McDonald’s corporation also maintains the largest single organic egg production facility in the nation, keeping roughly 2 million hens in two-story barns of nearly 200,000 hens each. Factory organic complexes like these are so inconsistent with consumer expectations; they never should have been constructed in the first place. You simply can’t build a farm that has more than 1,000,000 hens and give them ample access to the soil, grass, and sunlight. These factory farms do not belong in the organic standard, and there will be ample opportunity for them to supply the other 96% of the egg market with their mass-produced eggs. Organic consumers do not want them.

The second falsehood opponents of the new rule claim is that the new rule is bad for farmers. It’s actually good for farmers, if by farmers you mean people who farm for a living. If, on the other hand, they mean the huge corporations that produce most of the eggs, in this country, they’re going to be all right. They always are, especially with the millions of dollars that go to lobbying firms to make sure of it. But the real farmers, the people like Maynard Zimmerman, in Millmont, PA or John Miller in Lyndonville, VT are absolutely counting on this rule to allow them to sell real organic eggs for a price that reflects what it actually costs to farm this way. Killing this rule will put thousands of small farms across the country at further risk of failing.

What consumers want, and what should be enshrined in our market economy, is a choice. Consumers should be free to choose the product in accordance with their values, and pay for the associated cost of its production accordingly. Consumers expect to pay more for an organic tomato than a conventionally grown one because they know that it cost more to produce it. It’s the same with eggs. Some consumers are willing to pay more because they believe the USDA Organic seal means they are getting an egg produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or animal cruelty. Insuring that this is in fact the case is vital to retaining the trust and integrity of our food system. It’s also vital to allowing real organic farmers to keep their farms. It is our hope that President Trump recognizes this for what it is, an attempt by a very concentrated and powerful lobby to protect their profits at the expense of thousands of small businesses, farms and everyday consumers.

If you are as incensed as we are by this blatant disregard for not only organic consumers and farmers, but also for the thoughtful process that led to the rule’s creation before it was cast aside by the new administration, then please contact the USDA or your representatives in Congress to let them know how you feel.

From Our Friends at The Works Bakery Cafe

(A Guest Post from our Friends at The Works Bakery Café! The Works has 8 delicious bakery locations throughout New England)

Sit back and grab an omelet. We’ve got a story for you.

You like eggs, right? At the Works, we buy, make and eat a LOT of eggs.

Which means a lot of chickens need to lay a lot of eggs. Farmers sort these oblong gifts of white-gold nutrition into five sizes from small to jumbo.

Here’s the thing. Generally speaking, we like big eggs. We like eggs that fill up a carton like the Hulk fills jeans. Big is not only beautiful, it’s the only thing our moon pie eyes can see.

But, chickens, man. Chickens… They lay what they lay. Big, small, medium. So what’s a chicken farmer to do?

Ten years ago Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs were swimming in petits oeufs when they met #TheWorks founder Richard French, who couldn’t find local, organic eggs at a price that would work for his customers. No recording of the conversation exists, but we have it on good authority that it went something like this:

RICHARD: “The Works needs eggs! So many eggs.”

PETE AND GERRY: “Dude, we have eggs.”

R: “Are you from New England? We try to be really thoughtful about where we get our food.”

P&G: “Yep. Monroe, NH.”

R: “Are your eggs organic? Any chance?”

P&G: “Organic, free range, from small family farms. Certified Humane. B Corp Certified. The works.”

R: (shakes his head, looks at the ground, grins, looks up to the sky, shakes his head again and says) “Wow. But man, premium eggs — that’s a path to the $12 breakfast sandwich.”

(There is a long pause, with a hint of pessimism hanging in the air. Then…)

P&G: “Do you care about size? Would small and medium sized eggs be okay?”

R: “Heck yeah. But can we get ’em already cracked? No way we can crack 400 eggs on a busy breakfast line.”

(P&G and R look at each other. A general feeling of “Dude, we’ve come this far, we can figure this out” fills the air.)

P&G: “Dude, we’ve come this far.”

R: “We can figure this out.”

NEARBY CHICKEN: Bravo, gentlemen! Strong regional economies start when producers and restaurants get together, tell each other what they need, see what products aren’t fitting into the market right now, figure out how to use them, and come up with a solution that benefits everybody. Creativity, practicality, patience, good will. Awesome. BWAAAAAAAAAWK.

Ten years on, The Works and Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs remain partners in getting awesome eggs to our customers.

 

Good Feed makes for Good Eggs

You are what you eat, as they say.

We all know that a good diet is essential to good health. That’s one reason many of us eat eggs. And yet, too often, as people, we don’t always do a great job with our own nutrition, ill-advised temptations being abundant. At Pete and Gerry’s, our organic, Certified Humane, free range hens have it a little bit better. To begin with, their “treats” are finding insects in the grass. And when it comes to their main meals, they get the benefit of PhD nutritionists as their personal chefs, something few of us enjoy.

Les Morrison, of Morrison Custom Feeds in Barnet, Vermont, a Pete & Gerry’s feed supplier, puts it this way “people food is in the stone age compared to what the hens get for balanced nutrition.” Feed mixtures are developed with an eye to making sure that a hens’ every nutritional need is met in terms of nutrients, protein, sodium-balancing bi-carbonates, ground limestone for developing a strong egg shell, electrolytes and much more.

Contrast that to the giant factory farms that make most of the eggs sold today which use a “least cost formulation” for their feed. That means exactly what it sounds like ­— whatever is the cheapest way possible to give the hens enough calories to lay eggs that day. You can see and taste the result in the eggs.

There are between 30 and 35 separate organic ingredients in our feed mix. And the mixture is adjusted continuously, based on the weather (cold or hot), the flock’s age and point in their laying cycle, general health, and a range of other factors. That’s why another of our feed advisors, Heritage Poultry Management Services, employs two full-time PhD animal nutritionists on their staff.

There is a lot of science to the way we formulate our feed. But one aspect of science that you won’t find in any of our feed is pharmaceuticals ­– something you will find in just about all feed that goes to factory farms, which make up 90% of the eggs sold in the U.S. According to Morrison, that’s just putting a Band-Aid on a problem that won’t actually fix it. “The way to keep birds healthy, besides feeding them properly, is to make sure their living environment is clean and not overcrowded” he says. “Good egg farmers are in their barns every day. They can see problems before they happen, sometimes just by listening to the birds” (quiet hen houses can be an indication of a virus starting to spread through the flock).

That’s why we don’t treat our free range hens prophylactically with drugs that are only going to decrease their resistance and then wind up in the eggs. We treat them with care instead.

Morrison concludes, after admitting to a weakness for potato chips in his own diet, that if he were to die and come back as a hen, he would hope to be a Pete and Gerry’s hen.

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs not affected by egg recall!

Over 200 million eggs have been recalled recently by another company due to a concern over Salmonella stemming from a single Rose Acre Farms location in North Carolina.

None of our eggs are part of this recall as we would never produce eggs on a factory farm of that size or style. If you’re concerned about eggs you purchased recently, see what brands have been recalled.

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs are produced responsibly and safely on small family farms. Learn more about why our eggs are different.