Tag Archives: organic food

Not All Eggs Are Created Equal

14 Jun

Like most people you may buy your eggs at the grocery store. Not all eggs are created equal and you do not always get what you

eggs think you are paying for.

Years ago we were like most consumers purchasing our eggs at the grocery store. We would just grab a dozen and place them in the grocery cart without giving any thought where they came from.

Then grocers started offering standard eggs, premium eggs, organic eggs, cage-free eggs, free range eggs and, occasionally, pasture raised eggs. Prices varied greatly between the various choices but did we really know the differences and were the prices justifiable?

For years we purchased cage-free eggs when we learned that regular eggs were being produced by hens in very small cages called battery cages. We weren’t necessarily looking at healthier eggs for us to consume but more concerned about the welfare of the hens that were laying the eggs. We also purchased organic cage-free eggs that we thought would be healthier for us.

Then we found out that the term cage-free was basically a good marketing ploy for people like us who were concerned about animal welfare. We were shocked when we learned that those cage-free hens never see the light of day and never go outside for sunshine or to scratch in the dirt, eat insects and other things happy chickens do. Yes, they are not confined to tiny cages but commercial egg production centers (aka hen houses) hold thousands of chickens at a time so the chickens have very little room to run around. This certainly is not ideal.

So we started buying free range eggs and felt better because we thought the hens got to range freely about the farm. We later learned that in large commercial egg farms they are still in the henhouse with thousands of other hens (like cage-free) but they are provided a small door to go outside to see the sunshine. This outside area in many cases is a small fenced patio and most chickens do not know that they can outside. Since there are so many free range chickens in the henhouse there is not enough room for many of them to go outside even if they wanted to. These outdoor areas are small fenced concrete patios in some cases so the chickens cannot naturally scratch in the dirt or eat insects which they love to do. We wrote an earlier blog post in June 2010 about the difference between free range and pasture raised eggs.

Since running the inn we have learned about pasture raised eggs and that is all we now purchase. Our eggs come for a farm up the road and the chickens have a house to go into at night or during bad weather for protection. During the day the are roaming outside around the farm scratching in the dirt and small gravel and enjoying the bugs and grasshoppers they like to eat adding to their healthy diet. These chickens are not confined in a henhouse with thousands of other chickens (like factory farms) so they tend to be healthier and do not require all the antibiotics of factory farmed hens. We visit the farm and can attest that our eggs come from happy chickens.

If you can purchase eggs from a pasture raised source, go for it!  You will get fresher eggs (ours are usually gathered the day we buy them), healthier for you eggs (check out those bright orange nutrient filled yolks) and know that you are getting them from happy hens.

Tomatoes: July to January

4 Jan

With smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes, we said good-bye to the last of our raw 2010 home-grown organic  tomatoes tonight. It adorned our salad adding a pop of red to our plates and a burst of flavor to our tongues.  How exciting to think that it grew from a plant we put in the ground in April and that it’s sisters and brothers were picked as early as July. We ate them green – both fried and in chocolate cake, red and raw in gaspacho, salsa, and salads, and cooked in pasta sauce, stewed tomatoes, chili, and more. They were gifted to friends and guests, and even traded for pasture raised eggs. Good-bye summer tomatoes!

Guests Discovering Loganberry Farm

4 Aug

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Many of our guests are visiting LoganBerry Heritage Farm for its farmer’s market from 10:00 – 2:00 on Saturdays and 4:00 – 7:00 on Tuesdays.  As you enter the Farm’s gravel drive surrounded by flowers and vegetable plants and drive past the rustic farm-house to the barn, you catch the sense that something special is happening in this slice of country heaven. Sharon the owner will greet you with her bright smile and floppy hat. She or Nadine will tempt you with delicious samples of yummy treats usually made with the farm’s bountiful harvest.  Nadine’s peach pie is to die for. You won’t leave empty-handed when you can buy sustainably raised fruits and vegetables right from the farm. Garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers, figs and more are in season now. Why not stop by?  Afraid you can’t do a winery and the farmer’s market too? LoganBerry Heritage Farm is right around the corner from Blackstock Winery on Adair Mill Road.
A video of the farmers market can be seen by clicking video.

Free Range Versus Pasture Raised Eggs

18 Jun

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At Cedar House Inn we care about animal welfare and eating healthy. Our breakfast ingredients contain organic milk, pasture raised eggs and seasonal veggies from our permaculture garden.

Many do not know that there is a big difference between free range and pasture raised eggs. We only use pasture raised eggs at the inn unless they are not available from the local farmer. Then we purchase free range organic at the grocery store.

Free range chickens (as defined by the USDA) have access to the outside but have no requirements on how much time they must spend outdoors. They also do not have any requirements for the size of the roaming area. Producers of free range eggs can label their eggs “free range”  even if all they do is leave a little door open in their giant chicken houses. Often chickens do not  go outside since they have not learned that behaviour. If they go outside there is often no bare dirt to scratch in or bugs to eat.

Pasture raised chickens stay outside and eat all kinds of seeds, green plants, insects, worms along with grain or mash. They have a hen-house with nesting boxes for egg laying and are free to come and go. They tend to be happier chickens and lay more nutritious eggs.

If you have the option, pasture raised chicken eggs are the preferred choice for nutrition and animal welfare.

To see a short video of the innkeepers visiting the egg farm visit farm.

Locally Grown Organic Food in Atlanta

5 Apr

Many of our guests who stay with us live in the Atlanta metro area. Many care about purchasing wholesome farm fresh food that does not travel from faraway places to the store, minimizing their carbon footprint. We recently learned about Moore Farms and Friends through Georgia Organics. They are a marketing association of small Sustainable, Certified Naturally Grown and USDA Certified Organic food producers. They never use any toxic chemicals to grow their food and use earth-friendly methods which we like. You can order what you want online and pick up at many Atlanta area locations. Check out their video or visit their web site.

Georgia Organics

8 May


Georgia Organics is an association that is trying to support and encourage more production and utilization of organic food grown in Georgia. The State is not known for it’s organic practices compared to other regions of the country.

At Cedar House Inn we purchase organic free range eggs and organic milk for preparing breakfast dishes for our guests. In our area we also have an organic farm, Revival Gardens, who sells locally grown organic vegetables.

In a recent Georgia Organics ezine they asked reader’s the following question which I found interesting: What’s the single biggest obstacle to growing more sustainable farmers in the state of Georgia?

The Answers were interesting but not totally surprising and are noted below.

Low prioritization of university system – 20.8%
Lack of political will – 25.0%
Powerful special interests – 54.2%
Lack of training amongst cooperative extension service – 4.2%

I was dissappointed in the university system percentage being so high since as an ex college professor I expected,encouraged and experienced innovation.

Lack of political will in Georgia is not only a problem in Georgia among our lawmakers in organics but anything progressive or innovative. Lack of political will to take on nasty big coal for electrical generation is another Georgia political problem.

Powerful special interests is a real key problem in Georgia and around the country. Even Michelle Obama is taking heat for planting the White House garden with organics.

For more information on the Georgia Organic’s Association visit Georgia Organics.

Organic Harvest Dinners

9 Mar

Guests staying at the Cedar House Inn have an opportunity with advanced planning to enjoy an organic vegetable harvest dinner at the local certified organic vegetable farm, Revival Gardens. The next dinner is Saturday March 21st,6:30-8:30PM.

The revived, first-growth greens and wild greens are full of flavor.
Join them for the first outdoor dinner of the growing season!

If you can’t make this dinner plan another time. Reservation required and the dinners fill up fast.

What a great way to lower your carbon footprint and eat healthy food grown in a sustainable eco-friendly manner. A localvore dining experience. Stay green at Cedar House Inn and eat green at Revival Gardens.

Schedule and information at web site

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