Monday, September 24, 2018

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.

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