Monday, March 28, 2011

Unfair Easter Hunt...

Camouflague Easter eggs?  Now that just seems unfair...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Egg Dilemma - Part 2

My post about my Egg Dilemma:  http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-egg-dilemma.html

Well, i kept my promise to research better egg options and so far it seems i have two choices that are "easily" accessible here in East Hampton.  Country Egg farms are sold in the grocery store i regularly stop in on my way home.  They seem to be the best out of any commerically sold eggs.  Not perfect, but their hens do seem to have it the best.  I recently wrote them an email with some further questions, i look forward to getting an answer.

Letter to Country Hen Farm:
Hello.

I'm a lifelong vegetarian who recently became aware of the disgraces of factory farming.  I am trying to make my dairy purchases more informed from now on.  I have a few questions about your farm and practices.

1.  The FAQ about debeaking says that some farms do it too close... but you do not.  Does that mean you do not debeak at all, or that you don't do it too close?  If you do debeak, how is it performed?

2.  Where do you obtain your hens?  From hatcheries or do you hatch them yourselves?  If from hatcheries, which ones?  If you do it yourself... what do you do with the male chicks?

3.  What happens to sick hens and/or hens at the end of her laying "career"?

Thank you in advance, I look forward to tasting your eggs.

dana alison
Dxxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com

Research on Country Hen:
http://knowyourfoodboston.blogspot.com/2009/03/these-days-there-are-so-many-different.html

http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/egg_profiles/FarmID_43.html

http://mobile.forbes.com/device/article.php?CALL_URL=http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/1112/096.html?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0820/is_n228/ai_18523873/

http://magblog.audubon.org/are-your-organic-eggs-factory-farm

***

My other local choice seems to be Iacono Farms which is a local farm that sells eggs and chicken meat.  There doesn't seem to be much info on them online, so i sent them a similar email (see below).  My wife is also concerned about illness/bacteria from eating local eggs, so that is something i need to research too.  I look forward to hearing back from them as well, but so far, they seem the best option... but slightly inconvenient due to their shop hours and my work schedule.  Perhaps i can get over there myself this weekend and check it out.  I'd love to meet their hens!

East Hampton local eggs:  http://www.localharvest.org/iacono-farm-M32373

Sent to Iacono Farms:

Hello.

I'm a lifelong vegetarian who recently became aware of the disgraces of factory farming.  I am trying to make my dairy purchases more informed from now on.  I have a few questions about your farm and practices.

1.  Do you perfom debeaking?  If you do debeak, how is it performed?

2.  Where do you obtain your hens?  From hatcheries or do you hatch them yourselves?  If from hatcheries, which ones?  If you do it yourself... what do you do with the male chicks?

3.  What happens to sick hens and/or hens at the end of her laying "career"?

4.  Where are your hens kept and what kind of outside access do they have?

5.  What are your hens fed?

6.  Are your eggs pasturized/irradiated in any way to prevent illness? 

Thank you in advance, I look forward to tasting your eggs.

dana alison
Dxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com

***

So the research is ongoing, i've decided not to eat any factory farmed products (which means virtual veganism, since most packaged foods contain factory farmed eggs and milk, more about my new selective veganism to come in a later entry), but i'm OK with buying eggs from sources that give the hens a quality of life i find acceptable.  So when my family needs eggs, i will purchase from one of these two sources until i figure out more info.

***

My last egg post led to my friend, Mary, recommending that i read "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer... so i did.  It's a beautifully written book with both researched (and source cited) information and memoirs/opinions.  While the author is a vegetarian, the book doesnt preach vegetarianism, but rather INFORMED choices, anti-cruelty, and anti-factory-farming.  There are socially, morally, and environmentally responsible ways of eating meat and dairy.  And until the government/laws can bring an end to excessive cruelty & suffering, we can make choices to reduce it.  I was shocked to discover the egg business is actually crueler and results in more death and suffering than the beef industry!  I was shocked to find out that the average meat-eater produces 6x as much pollution as the average vehicle-driver.  I wish every American would read this book and/or do their own research and then decide for themselves.

Lilian drinks soy milk anyway... and i don't mind it.  But my next issue will be to find cruelty-free, but safe and healthy milk that we can but locally.  (For my wife, and for cooking).  Again, so many products contain factory-farmed milk, so i'll be choosing to buy ones that don't.  (Pepperidge Farm wheat bread has milk in it... i found 2 brands so far at my grocery store that don't.  Thomas' English Muffins have dairy... but their bagels don't.  Easy choices...)

So, this is an ongoing thing i'll need to research, but i know i can find acceptable alternatives that wont give my hard-earned money to support torture, and won't cost me a fortune or be too inconvenient.

(If you have any helpful information... i'd love your feedback.  Please comment here, and not on Facebook so everyone, including non-Facebook friends can read and share.)

*posted from my Droid phone, please excuse any typos and other mistakes*

Monday, March 14, 2011

Veguary Guest Blogger *Christine*


Although "February" is over... Veguary lives on... and i have one more guest blogger... Christine!:

When Dana asked me to guest blog for Veguary, I had some trouble trying to decide what to write about and she suggested "something personal about vegetarianism". I've been varying degrees of vegetarian since I was kid, but I'm not a vegetarian right now. My friend tells me that what I am is flexitarian. Veguary defines a flexitarian as someone who doesn't eat red meat. I do eat red meat, but I also know some people who say they are vegetarian and they eat chicken. To avoid the confusion of nebulous vegetarian labels, I'll describe my personal eating philosophy and you can call it whatever you want (I call it not being a vegetarian). My roommate and I keep a vegetarian kitchen and we primarily cook vegan. We even started a vegan cooking co-op, where we meet up and swap dishes with actual vegans. I really enjoy playing around with recipes and making them vegan. We had a southern themed brunch party and I made a vegan pecan pie with a recipe I adapted from a Kentucky Bourbon cookbook and vegan sausage gravy. I made the vegan sausage gravy again for Christmas breakfast with my family and my niece, Charlotte, went crazy for it and refused to eat the regular sausage gravy. It was an intensely proud moment for me. My dog, Weebles, eats vegetarian dog food because he has allergies and that is all that seems to work for him. One of his favorite treats is baby carrots.

If I order takeout, it will usually involve cheese because it is usually iizza. When I eat out, I eat whatever I want. Sometimes, that involves a bacon cheeseburger or seafood. I'd like to be a vegan, but I also like cheese and and I personally don't see a difference between eating cheese and eating a hamburger. I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for years, and I got to the point where I really just felt like a hypocrite because I am aware that cows and chickens die for milk and eggs just as much as they do for beef and chicken. I was recently diagnosed with an allergy to milk and wheat, so that may end up being the final push for me. At the moment, I am trying really, really hard to not eat cheese anymore, but I have had cashew ice cream that is better than real ice cream and I hear they make cheese from cashews too so I think I can do it. I did make really tasty mac & cheese from a recipe I found on the PPK blog, and I have a vegan cheesemaking book on my Amazon wish list.

So pledging to not eat meat for Veguary was kind of like pledging not to shave my legs in February. Chances are, neither of those things would have happened anyway. In fact, I spent a week in Paris with my sister and ate things that I very rarely eat, like real butter and cheese and cappuccino with real milk without breaking the pledge. The most delicious foods in Paris are vegetarian, including bread slathered with sweet butter, pain au chocolat, croissants, pasta, cheese and various different kinds of cappuccino. We did a day trip to Brussels and ate waffles, pommes frites, chocolate and beer. I feel like we had a great experience and pretty much ate our way through both cities without feeling the least bit deprived by not eating meat. I intended to check out some vegetarian restaurants, but we just never got around to actually eating in a restaurant. I suppose there is always next time.

-- Christine L


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