Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Local Egg Hunt

Since December, I’ve been looking for a convenient local source for eggs, and I think I’ve found one. A close look in New Leaf Market rewarded me with local duck eggs – something I’ve always wanted to try. There was also an empty spot on the shelf next to the duck eggs, labeled for chicken eggs from the same farm – GlennHaven Ltd. Co. in Crawfordville. I opened a carton of duck eggs, to find the following insert:

Eggs of GlennHaven, Ltd. Co. (P.O. Box 1111, Crawfordville, FL 32326 ph. 850 926-8193)

At home with my new treasure: I boiled two of the duck eggs and sliced them to put on top of a pizza with Stilton, ham, and local collards). The yolks were yellower, paler and brighter than the deep orange yolks of all-natural or organic chicken eggs.

When it rains, it pours, and suddenly there are plenty of eggs to be found. This is the second week I've seen eggs at Turkey Hill Farm's stand at the Lake Ella Farmer's market. I asked Herman Holley (of Turkey Hill Farm) whose they were -- he told me and I wish I'd had a pen. However, when I asked him if he would be bringing these eggs on a regular basis, he said he would -- until he can build build up his own stock of happy hens to lay eggs for selling at the market.

I also noticed Ladybird Organics eggs at New Leaf Market. Ladybird Organics is a Monticello organic farm and winery whose products I'm aching to try. The wine is practically sold before it is even produced, so I will be making some calls and visiting the farm when I can, to find out how to get my hands on a bottle of muscadine wine. Owner Cynthia Connolly is an expert on worm-composting; her farm is a widely respected, exemplary model of sustainable farming.

Until December, all-natural eggs were delivered to our door by Penny and Kevin Orr of Zebra Truck Farms; we were shareholders in their CSA program and received a share of produce and eggs from their Monticello farm along with cheese from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville. Yesterday, we received notice that Zebra Truck Farm will have a market stall at the Saturday Downtown Farmers' Market (opens for the season on March 3rd) instead
of delivering or holding produce for CSA shareholders. After two years of being a CSA farm, the numbers just didn't add up for them. I got the impression that if money weren’t an issue, then time and labor – blood, sweat and tears – would have been. After a successful and promising first year, Kevin Orr left his day job to work on the farm full-time. However, last year’s winter and spring drought weakened plants and left them vulnerable to disease and insects during the hot and rainy months of July and August. Blueberries did not yield and corn was wiped out. Heirloom tomatoes did not produce as well as expected. Squash and Zucchini were riddled with insect damage and beans and field-peas perished too soon after picking. The Orrs are likely to receive the same overwhelming level of support at the market as they did as a CSA farm, with much less headache. This is still community supported agriculture, but now customers will choose the produce they want to buy and Penny and Kevin will get a break from driving all over town delivering produce. We look forward to seeing Zebra Truck Farms at the Downtown Market, and we are thrilled to have found additional sources for local eggs.

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