Web Statistics

Friday, November 27, 2015

What does "free range" eggs mean?

Among many of the labels we see on products these days, the term "free range" is one of them you are probably familiar with seeing. Free range chicken, free range eggs, free range beef, etc. but what does free range mean?

Growing up, I remember my grandma giving me the chore to go collect the eggs for the day and feed the chickens. I'd take the pail out and gather all the eggs for the day, bring them in and wash them off. There was a lot of egg gathering memories from my childhood. My husband has the same memories as his grandpa raised chickens as well. We find ourselves doing the same thing with our kids, having them go out and collect the eggs for the day.

Along with growing produce for our CSAs and local farmers market, we also raise chickens for meat and eggs. Our Rhode Island Red hens enjoy a nice size chicken run where they can go outside from the chicken house. Speaking of chicken house, we just built a new, larger one this fall. It gives our hens more room inside for when they come in at night. We then also have a large size chicken run pen for them. We have a 3 area rotation outside the barn that the chickens still can enter the pen from the barn and vise versa. We rotate the pens every so many weeks for the chickens to enjoy new pasture. This is how our chickens are free range and we have free range eggs.

To many consumers the labels, free range, organic, local, cage free, etc can be confusing. In this post, I'm going to address free range. What does free range mean to a farmer.

A free range chicken is allowed constant 
access to the outside, with plenty of fresh 
air and room for exercise. 
The chickens are not contained in cages. 

The USDA says free range chickens are allowed access to the outside.

We feed our chickens a combination feed, but not so much that they don't forage graze.  They have constant access to the outside with plenty of room for exercise. They also have a nice size chicken house to protect from temperatures, wind, and to roost in at night. Our pastures pens get rotated for fresh pasture for them to graze and roam on. Our meat birds and our egg layers are raised the same. Inside our chicken house, we have our nesting boxes available for the hens. They have access to the nests from the inside of the pin, and we gather the eggs from the outside.

This allows us to have free range chicken and free range eggs to sell to our consumers.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Banana Bread

If you are looking for a delicious and moist banana bread recipe, this one sure won't disappoint!

I'd say I probably bake banana bread once a month. I like to make loaves and put them in the freezer. This recipe is my mom's blue ribbon recipe when she entered it into the 4-H fair for her foods project. She has been making it ever since, shared the recipe with me and it is my favorite bread recipe to make. I remember during the holiday season especially, my mom gave out a lot of baked items to the neighbors, and service people for our family. Saying have a Merry Christmas to the bus driver and handing her a loaf of banana bread all wrapped up, and taking baked goods to the neighbors doorsteps is something I remember so well from my childhood days.  I have also been doing this with my kids and banana bread is a favorite I like to give.

The kids love banana bread too! We enjoy for breakfast, after a meal, or just for a snack! Banana bread is also a great way to use up those bananas that haven't been eaten. Sometimes if we have one or two loan bananas on the counter, I'll mash them and place in the freezer until I have enough bananas to make several batches of banana bread at a time.

I think I'll go make some right now!

Banana Bread

1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 mashed bananas
3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Mix Crisco and sugar together in large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk and mashed bananas and mix. Then add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix together well. Pour mixture into loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Yields 2 large loaves.
Let cool before taking out of pan.

 Add 1 cup of nuts for Banana Nut Bread
Add 1 cup of Chocolate Chips for Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Pour mixture into mini loaf pans for several mini loaves.
Freezes well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...