This week I’ll be switching egg suppliers over to Bryan and Brittany from Horse Shoe Ranch. Allow me explain.
The eggs that I’ve been getting thus far are distributed by Lancaster Farm Fresh (LFF), a fantastic company that has stellar quality food raised/grown the right way. It is also structured as a cooperative corporation, a business model that I find to be inspiring. The story of how they started is pretty great. Check it out by clicking here.
LFF is the single largest supplier of the products that you see when you visit Dave’s Backyard Farms (DBF ’cause I want an acronym too). Pretty much all of the veggies, much of the meat, and the eggs come from farmers that cooperatively belong to and own LFF.
The eggs we’ve been getting from them are great. But as the saying goes in chess, when you find a good move, look for a better one.
The main reason I got into farming was to reestablish a connection to the source of our food, something that most of the world’s population had intimately been tied to for thousands of year and something that has mostly been lost over the course of just a hundred. While I don’t farm anymore, what I try to do to the best of my ability is to get as close as I can to the people who do (um, not in a weird, creepy way…?). Maybe I do this because it allows me to live out my ideals vicariously through others. Who knows. Anyway, a major goal of mine when sourcing products is to minimize the degrees of separation between the farmer and your table.
Yes, the eggs from LFF are great, but I don’t have much of a connection to them; they get delivered after I respond to the list sent by the LFF sales reps. With Horse Shoe Ranch, I’ve had conversations with the farmers, we have mutual friends, and they go to farmers markets nearby in Philadelphia. These things are nice, but there is something more important that more closely ties me in. Bryan and Brittany are currently raising money to expand their business. They are not asking for donations. Rather, they are accepting loans from the public that they will pay back over the course of 5 years with 8% interest. You can click here to check out all the details and to lend.
Lending money to a good farm gives me a new level of satisfaction in carrying the product that they offer. I now have a personal, vested interest in the success of Horse Shoe Ranch, and I think that when I place financial responsibility upon something, I’m likely to better appreciate it, even something as seemingly inconsequential and ordinary as eggs. This is not because I’m concerned about receiving back my investment plus interest: I guess it’s similar to how if I were to built a chair I’d appreciate it more than if I were to purchase one from a store (not a perfect analogy exactly, but I think you know what I’m trying to say). If I build a chair, I’m more likely to think about how I sourced the wood, the proper tools to use, the years of training it took to gain carpentry skills, and the kindness and patience of the people who taught me, etc (purely hypothetical-I have no idea how to build anything). Similarly, if I have a financial interest in something, I’m probably more likely to think about how those hens are raised, how lending the money supports a young family reach their dreams, how much their toddler will learn from growing up on a farm, how much work it took to build out the fencing, and how their farming methods are improving their corner of the world,etc. And if I more greatly appreciate something via this route, I’m probably more likely to talk about it. Over time, the conversations that come out of all this create community and better solidifies what we all in the end so desperately need: more young farmers supplying their local populations with properly produced food. I think it’s best to ascribe as many layers of meaning on top of food production as we can: environmental, social, spiritual, emotional, and now, financial. It’s all quite different from buying a dozen eggs from any grocery store.
Ok, now the fun stuff. The eggs are colorful. Yup! each dozen has one or two blue or green eggs. If you have kids, they’re going to love them. And the eggs are going to have more colors once the farmers become established at their new location in Pottstown. The chickens are outside all day and they’re moved once a day so they eat as many bugs, worms, and brassicas as possible. This means deep orange yolks. And they follow cows, allowing them to spread nutrients across the soil. These hens are part of an integrative agricultural ecosystem, and this translates to what is best for the environment and what’s best for you.
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