Tuesday, October 23, 2018



Hardy Country Fried Steak and Baked Potato with Egg is another favorite among our Country Hen farmers Find the recipes here: Hardy Country Fried Steak and Baked Potato with Egg

Swimming in Savory Gravy Country Fried Steak is great for pot luck dinners

Egg in Baked Potato - Great combination of flavors. Find the recipe here:Baked potato with Country Hen Eggs a real treat on a chilly day
Try these variations: Add your favorite shredded cheese, ham or bacon to make this a loaded baked potato with egg.


I had a lot of fun putting these recipes together for the folks on the farm. The fact that these can be held in warm oven and crock pot for a good long while makes them ideal to bring to pot luck gatherings.

And for Dessert...


This Key Lime Pie was sooo tasty!
The recipe can be viewed here: Sweet and Yummy Key Lime Pie 




One of our Country Hen Farmer''s Favorites from our Website: One of our Farm Favorites



Farm Cheese Quiche

• 12 Country Hen eggs
• 4 C. Milk 
• 2 pkg (8 oz.) Cream Cheese (16 oz. total)
• 1/3 C. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
• 2 Tbsp. Chopped Green Onions
• 2 ½ Tsp. Salt
• ½ Tsp Oregano
• ¼ Tsp Ground Pepper
2 Ready Made Pie Crusts can be substituted if you wish.
For homemade pie crust in 9 X 12 inch baking pan: 
• 4 c. flour (for homemade pie crust)
• 1 C. Shortening (for homemade pie crust)
• 7 Tbsp. Ice Water (for homemade pie crust)

Directions:

Preheat Oven To 350*

Combine The Flour And Salt In A Bowl And Mix Well.

Cut In Shortening Until Crumbly Then Add The Water Stirring Until The Mixture Forms A Ball. Roll The Dough On A Lightly Floured Surface To Fit The Bottom Of A 9 X 12 Inch Baking Pan. (Note, ready made pie crust can be substituted if you wish) Place In Pan And Sprinkle With The Jarlsberg & Gruyere Cheeses. Beat The Cream Cheese In A Mixer Until Smooth. Add The Eggs 1 At A Time Beating After Each. Add The Milk, Parmesan, Green Onions, Salt, Oregano And Pepper Beating Until Mixed. 

Spoon Into Baking Pan And Bake 45 Minutes Or Until Set.

Yield: 12 servings
This recipe can be cut in half to make one 9 inch pie quiche for 6 servings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Stars May Be Born in the Bright Lights of Broadway, but Our Stars Shine Brighter in Our Candling Booth


          We would love to welcome every fan of The Country Hen to our farm. Unfortunately, that is not possible, but we still want to open our virtual doors to you. Welcome to a series of posts that will take you through our special farm – from specially formulated feed to sunlit barns to the processing that prepares our organic omega eggs for your table.
                If you missed the previous entries, catch up here: Lets Visit Our Country Hens 


          This is our candling booth where the very experience hands and eyes of our two Candlers are viewing the interior of our exceptional eggs as they gently roll over bright lights that illuminate any imperfections like tiny hairline cracks on the shells. One very happy coincidence I like to tell folks is the name of our most experienced Candler, Lumen. Lumen is also the name of a measurement of light if you look it up in a dictionary. Our Lumen has been doing this important work here in our FARMily for more than fourteen years and she does an exemplary job to be sure. Our Lumen also has a very bright and sunny disposition offering up a stunning smile and a friendly greeting of “hello” whenever she passes by.
           I am reminded of the bit in that movie called Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory where the character Veruca Salt stands on a scale and is determined to be a “bad egg” before she drops down a chute to be discarded. We don’t have a piece of equipment like that to determine which eggs are good or not. We have Lumen instead, and she is not only more fun to work with than some lifeless scale, she is also much more efficient than Willie Wonka’s fictitious method. Both of our Candlers can spot a bad egg and remove it quick as lightning to make sure only the very best quality eggs move on from this station to the Egg Grader weighing station that will sort them into their respective size categories.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Let's Visit Our Country Hens

                      We would love to welcome every fan of The Country Hen to our farm. Unfortunately, that is not possible, but we still want to open our virtual doors to you. Welcome to a series of posts with videos that will take you through our special farm – from specially formulated feed to sunlit barns to the processing that prepares our organic omega eggs for your table. For our previous posts in this series, see our tour of the processing plant.

          Let’s visit our girls! First stop is biosecurity at the shower house and a fresh clean bio-secure coverall uniform, ball cap or head cover, clean rubber boots and a sanitizing footbath. We do not want to carry any potential hazards into the barns with us. Now that we are dressed appropriately let’s go inside to say hello. In our barns, you’ll see lovely ladies all enjoying each other’s company and all the “creature comforts” of their sunlit barns and porches. We love to pamper our girls and watch them enjoy their lives in our care. Whether indoors during the frigid winter months or outdoors on the specially designed porches during warmer weather, the girls have plenty of space to engage in all their natural behaviors. Thick litter fills the scratch areas where the ladies can dust-bathe, sunbathe, scratch and peck to their heart’s content. We even provide them with some simple toys to keep them active and happy. Some of the girls enjoy mobile-like shiny objects suspended from above or lengths of hemp rope naile, others love to kick and peck at brightly colored balls and empty water bottles with a few pebbles contained inside so they rattle when the hens play “football” with them. On a raised level beside the scratch area, you will find the “food court” where our feed is available from sunup to sundown for any and all to enjoy at their leisure. A very innovative track shuttles feed along from the silo down the length of the barn in a little trough that has square dish-like links forming a chain. Everyone can have as much as they can eat whenever they like!
                I love the chirring sound of happy hens and you can hear the girls chattering in chorus even before you step inside.  Our barn workers (a.k.a. chicken tenders) come to bond with their flocks so well that they can tell from the sounds the hens make whether everything is as it should be or if there might be something wrong. The hens are gentle creatures but they are also very skittish and so we must walk slowly so as not to startle them when we visit with them. Some of our workers keep music playing for the hens while walking the floors and along the benches looking for floor eggs, equipment failure and perhaps any of our feathered friends that may be feeling under the weather.
                We care for a few different breeds of hen here at our farm. The breeds are chosen based on how well they are suited to the climate here in Massachusetts. Perhaps you will recall an old advertising slogan “brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh”. Brown eggs come from brown hens and brown hens have proven to be better suited to the kinds of winters we get in New England. Believe me, winters here are not a peaceful and serene as you might imagine when looking at a Norman Rockwell painting or listening to carols about a White Christmas. We heat our henhouses to keep the hens warm and cozy even through our girls are better suited to this cold climate than their white-egg-laying cousins living in the southern states. The color of the egg does not have any bearing on nutritional quality. A brown egg has exactly the same nutritional value as a white egg as long as the hens that are producing them are eating the same manner of diet. The nutrients the hens eat become concentrated in the eggs those hens produce. Better nutrition going in means better nutrition coming out!

Our Eggs Take a Wild Ride



      
           We would love to welcome every fan of The Country Hen to our farm. Unfortunately, that is not possible, but we still want to open our virtual doors to you. Welcome to a series of posts with videos that will take you through our special farm – from specially formulated feed to sunlit barns to the processing that prepares our organic omega eggs for your table. For our previous posts in this series, see our tour of our feed mill.


       The eggs move from the loading conveyor into the Diamond 8200 Egg Grader we affectionately nicknamed “Bertha” That nickname might be better suited to an incubator room at a hatchery though, but someone tagged the machine with this name and it just stuck. Soft cushioned suction gently lifts our exceptional eggs to begin their journey through a gentle rinse, wash, sanitizing process that resembles a miniature automatic carwash of sorts. The eggs travel along on rollers that turn and continually spin each egg so the entire surface of the egg gets clean as they proceed through this hulking piece of equipment.  The eggs pass through a spray rinse followed by a gentle scrubbing wash with rolling brushes and then on through yet another sanitizing rinse before moving on to the candling booth. Watching the eggs being lifted this way reminds me of some of those wild rides they have at amusement parks you see advertised. Lucky for us eggs don’t need a ticket to have fun on this little water-park ride.
                Here is an interesting bit of trivia for you; hens deposit a natural “bloom” membrane coating called a cuticle on the outside of every egg that provides a barrier to prevent bacteria from getting inside the eggs. In some European countries it is illegal to remove this bloom from eggs that will be sold in retail markets and these places do not require refrigeration of their eggs as a result. Folks from these countries find it strange that we keep our eggs in the refrigerator. I find it strange that they keep their eggs at room temperature, on their countertops. The FDA enacted The Final Egg Safety Rule here in the USA to prevent outbreaks of Salmonella and since that  time, all eggs that are sold in retail stores here in the USA must be “bloom” free, sanitized, and then they must remain refrigerated at less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit to prohibit the growth of bacteria. Once the outside of the shells are scrubbed and sanitized they move on to their big chance at stardom at the “bright lights on Broadway” of our Candling Booth where our experienced Candlers inspect them for imperfections inside the shell.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Meticulous Milling Makes Mealtime Magic




      We would love to welcome every fan of The Country Hen to our farm. Unfortunately, that is not possible, but we still want to open our virtual doors to you. Welcome to a series of posts with videos that will take you through our special farm – from specially formulated feed to sunlit barns to the processing that prepares our organic omega eggs for your table.

      The first stop on our virtual tour of The Country hen is our mill where the real magic happens. We make our own proprietary blend of feed using certified organic ingredients we source as locally as possible from organic farmers we know and trust. Our proprietary formulas of feed, developed by the founder of our FARMily, George Bass with the help of a whole team of scientists, veterinarians, and specialists in human and hen nutrition. This feed is directly responsible for the superior levels of all three varieties of Omega 3 PUFAs, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Vitamin D, and 13 essential nutrients contained in our delectable eggs. The old adage “you are what you eat” fits pretty nicely with the egg production process as the quality of the eggs our hens produce is the result of the quality of feed our hens are eating.
      Our meticulous Mill Manager, Brian, never wonders what our hens are eating, where the feed might have come from, or how fresh the feed might be. Brian just happens to be a graduate of Harvard University and so I do affectionately introduce him to folks as our “Resident Professor of Feedology.” This is not an actual title but the nickname suits him just the same. I have never met an actual professor of anything who is willing to climb up to the tippity top of an enormous silo during a blizzard to check on the ingredients the way Brian does. Brian and Miguel work together to make the very best feed for our feathered friends. These great people know precisely when a feed ingredient was harvested and even from which plot in the field the item came from!
      Brian and Miguel inspect every ingredient upon delivery and test it for moisture content and quality before accepting or rejecting the item. The ingredients are stored in silos that send ingredients through an intricate network of auger tubes into this mill to be blended together to become our fresh and flavorful feed. Brian is so confident in the quality that he actually samples the ingredients himself. I could not resist the opportunity to try some myself after I watched him do this. It tastes very much like the grainy popcorn crumbs you find in the bottom of the popcorn container in my opinion but overall, not bad! Do you know any other farmers daring enough to eat the same food they give to their animals?
      After the feed is made, it is transported through yet another network of tubes to smaller silos that fill the feed truck. These silos are set up on a steel structure high enough to allow the feed truck to pull in underneath and then gravity drops the feed into the truck. Brian and Miguel deliver the fresh feed to the henhouses and replenish the silos at each barn location.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Tropical Mango Cheesecake

Tropical Mango Cheesecake 
Submitted by Rosemary from East Brookfield, MA 
Ingredients:
• 1.5 cups graham cracker or mixed graham and gingersnap crumbs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 6 tbsp. melted butter
• 2-3 (13oz. each) ripe mangoes-peeled, pitted, and quartered (reserve 5-6 slices for garnish if desired)
• 1.25 cups of sugar
• 3 eight oz. packages of room temp cream cheese
• 2 tsp. of real vanilla extract
• 4 Large Country Hen eggs

Directions:
P
reheat oven to 325. Butter a 9 inch diameter springform pan with sides that are 2.75 inches high. Stir the cracker crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl and add butter. Stir until crumbs are moistened. Press crumb mixture into the bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake until the crust is set (10-12 min.). Let the crust cool. Puree the mangoes in a food processor until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of puree. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the two cups of mango puree and when well blended, pour into the crust.

Bake at 325 degrees until the filling is set and puffy/golden around edges (center may remain slightly soft when jiggled)- approximately 1 hour 20 min. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight (uncovered). Remove pan sides once chilled, transfer to serving dish and garnish with a fan of the reserved mango slices if desired.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Field Day Artwork from Local Students
















We really enjoyed all the artwork and the essays from the delightful kids at our local Hubbardston Elementary school. We had a lot of fun at the school for Farm Fun Field Day June 19th and want to thank all the kids for submitting artwork and essays about farming. The kids from grades K - 6th were asked to write or draw a description of farming in the future. These have been posted at the farm in the common area so all the folks can enjoy the great stories and drawings. Nice Job!

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Country Hen Eggs NOT Affected by Recall


We want to assure The Country Hen customers that no Country Hen Eggs or products are involved in the current recall announced on April 13, 2018.

All of our farms comply with all local, state, and federal regulations for food safety. As part of our compliance with the FDA Egg Safety Rule, all of our farms test for the most common Salmonella serotype - Salmonella Enteritidis – that may occur in egg production. In addition to these precautions taken on our farms, we also encourage you to follow the safe handling guidelines for eggs, which includes cooking eggs until both the yolks and the whites are firm and avoiding eating raw or under cooked eggs. Learn more about how to safely handle, cook, and store eggs on the American Egg Board website.

For more information on this recall and for the farms and products it does affect, visit the FDA’s recall page.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Why are your eggs so expensive?"

      This is one question that pops up quite often. Our USDA Certified Organic, HFAC Certified Humane Raised and Handled Omega 3 enriched eggs do cost a bit more than competitor brands its true. It is common knowledge in most parts of the world that quality costs more. The answer I like to give people who ask why our eggs are more expensive than others is simple: How can those others be so much cheaper than ours? What corners are those others cutting, what steps are they skipping, what concessions are they making on quality to be able to make a profit on their product while selling their eggs for so much less than we could ever hope to match?

      "But their eggs are so much cheaper than yours... I can get twice as many of their eggs for about the same as six of yours, is there really a difference? "



      It is not difficult to find cheaper versions of  quality items out there in the world of commerce.  A knock-off might look the same, might claim to serve the same purpose but, simply put, the value of an imitation is based on the consumer's willingness to settle for less. Health conscious individuals rarely settle for less when it comes to what goes into their bodies.