There is a local place I’ve been visiting that seems to fascinate, relax, and inspire me each time I go – Whispering Dove Goat Ranch, or as I simply like to call it, The Farm. I go there mainly to get fresh eggs, but I leave with goat cheese, honey, and sometimes even hand lotion! Owners Dale and Linda are as kind as they can be and seem not to mind my numerous questions and ooohing and ahhing at the chickens, sheep, and goats. (And they only chuckled just a little bit when I said, “Oh, look! The chickens are chasing each other!” Nope…that isn’t chasing. More like mating. Whoops.)
I found The Farm when I was looking for local honey to give as wedding favors. Dale ordered the jars and packaged them up for me, and I just added a torn-edged tag that read “Thanks for sharing sweet memories.” Easy peasy, super cute…and local. Always a plus!
But back to The Farm. I have a vague memory of my grandmother’s chicken coop and the time she told my brother and me to go get eggs. The reason I remember it is because I was very, very terrified by those chickens. I couldn’t have been much taller than they were, and they had big, flappy wings. Needless to say, my brother did most of the egg-gathering.
Now that I’m all grown up—taller and no longer afraid of the chickens—I’ve come full circle. Now I find them just darling! And, I believe in eating healthfully and locally as much as possible. Plus, I don’t actually have to gather the eggs myself so there is nothing to fear! (I’ve even told my husband that I would really like to have a couple of my own. He keeps saying no…)
Dale and Linda have been kind enough to not only sell me eggs but also give me little tours of The Farm. They tell me about the different kinds of chickens there. Here are a few:
These chickens have very nice chicken-on-a-farm lives. Even after they are no longer laying eggs, they still just peck away and enjoy life on their little farm. And I swear, you can definitely tell the difference in the eggs. Currently my mom is in town and was making one of her fabulous desserts; she was worried the dessert would turn orange because of how rich the eggs are!
If you’ve read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (great book!), then you know about the importance of eating locally as much as possible. One thing that really stays in my mind from the book is the descriptions of how factory chickens are raised, whether for meat or eggs. In some places, they are so cramped they can barely move (that is, if they aren’t genetically bred to have bodies bigger than their legs can support, rendering them unable to move anyway). I won’t go into details here – Michael Pollan does a really good job so I recommend you check it out.
My point is, if you can, why not eat eggs from chickens raised very humanely by a local farmer? They may be a little more expensive, but the taste—and the experience of getting them—more than makes up the difference.
Find your local farm and give them a call. I called Dale and Linda out of the blue and haven’t regretted it one bit. Now, I look forward to running out of eggs just so I can go back. Those chickens are darn cute, and so are the sheep and goats too! And, the best part is, I know exactly where my eggs come from.