Where to Buy Organic, Cage-Free, and Free-Range Eggs in the Hudson Valley
Because shopping for local eggs along the Hudson River is no yolk.
The United States produces a lot of eggs. According to the American Egg Board, total U.S. egg production reached 9.56 billion during February 2019, with the majority of production based in central states like Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio. In the Hudson Valley, cage-free, free-range, and organic eggs offer local, healthier alternatives to national, widescale production. Read up on the differences between the terms, then check out where to pick up a lovely dozen near you.
Store-bought eggs: The eggs you'll find in the grocery store. These are laid by hens living in small cages, which create a hot and crowded environment. The birds eat feed that contains a mixture of corn, soybean meal, vitamins, and minerals.
Free-range eggs: Laid by hens who are allowed to roam free outdoors. The USDA regulates free-range chickens and eggs, requiring that the hens must have unlimited access to food, water, and the outdoors during their laying cycle.
Cage-free eggs: Come from hens who roam free indoors. These eggs are regulated by the USDA, which specifies that hens must be housed in a space that includes unlimited access to food and water, along with the ability to move throughout the edifice.
Organic eggs: These are more difficult to come by, since farmers need to follow strict guidelines addressing soil quality, animal raising practices, and use of additives, among other factors, to ensure that the feed is organic.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): In each season, Hudson Valley farmers offer “shares” of their produce to the public. Once you buy a share you receive produce weekly throughout the season. Some local CSAs include farm eggs among the offerings for the week.
Eggs in the Hudson Valley
Fable’s market is open year-round on Saturdays and Sundays and was recently redesigned to feature new seating with a view of the farmland. You can stop by the market during the weekend to pick up hand-picked, free-range eggs. During a visit you’re also welcome to see where your eggs are coming from and meet the free-range chickens.
Sweetman’s Farm was the first farm to be preserved in New York under the statewide farmland protection program. The farm offers free-range eggs all year thanks to its Rhode Island red hens, which can lay 200-300 eggs annually. The hens are low maintenance and their eggs are medium to large-sized and light brown in color.
Glynwood’s eggs are produced by chickens that have a diet supplemented with non-GMO feed. The farm store is open three during the week from late May to November and sells Glynwood's free-range eggs onsite. The smaller winter farm store is open late November to April once a week, so you're covered if you want to stock up on Hudson Valley eggs throughout the cooler months. Glynwood accepts SNAP benefits for all farm products.
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Yellow Bell Farm is all about chickens and eggs. It keeps hens happy with mobile houses that give the feathered flock a comfortable place to lay eggs at night and the freedom to roam outside and come and go during the day. The mobile coops are moved routinely to provide fresh pasture for the hens to graze. The eggs come in an assortment of colors with bright orange yolks and firm whites, making them ideal for poaching.
Zfarms offers chicken and duck eggs year-round at its farm stand and at Hudson Valley farmers' markets in Amenia and Pawling. The farm is USDA certified organic, and the farm feed is clear evidence of that. Using the mobile coop method, Zfarms feeds its hens a combination of green pea meal, sunflower meal, and flaxseed meal, and never gives them antibiotics or hormones. Per appointment, the farm offers a pick-your-own eggs activity in which visitors can learn how to pick up, wash, and grade the chicken eggs from the coop.
Obercreek Farm is USDA certified organic farm offering seasonal produce from May to November, along with farm-fresh eggs from from Woven Stars Farm in Ghent. Throughout June and October, Obercreek works with Woven Stars to produce an egg share CSA, which offers 11 pickups of hand-gathered, pasture-raised eggs from five different chicken breeds.
Kinderhook is another farm that utilizes mobile coops to ensure its hens have fresh grass upon which to graze. Along with free-range eggs, the farm offers a farm stay for people to come and stay on the farm overnight. Kinderhook takes pride in being able to produce not only nutritious eggs but beautiful eggs as well, with a variety of colors in every dozen. The Valatie spot has several breeds of hens laying blue, white, and brown eggs, all of which visitors can pick up throughout the year at the onsite farm store.
Hearty Roots Farm gives their chickens a happy life while also providing the public with the best free-range eggs it can. In the summer months, it uses the mobile coop system to create a safe place for hens to sleep at night and the freedom to roam outside during the day. During the winter, the hens take shelter in a big greenhouse that provide them with an area to roam away from the wind and snow. In the summer, the eggs are available through the Hearty Roost CSA and at the farm stand. Heading into winter, the eggs feature inside the Sparrowbush Farm winter CSA.
Helder-Herdwyck Farm is dedicated to informing people about farm-fresh eggs. The eggs are extra-large and have dark yellow yolks, which make for beautiful fresh pasta. The website also includes the nutritional value of the eggs compared to store-bought eggs. In fact, the eggs have less cholesterol and less saturated fat, plus more of vitamins A and D. Call ahead to stop by and pick up free-range chicken or duck eggs from April through November, or buy a share of the CSA for eggs year-round.
There were a couple of "fairy eggs" in the basket today - the tiny white one in the middle, and a tiny brown one next to it. Our hens lay these as they come back "on line" after going on a hiatus (due to cold, dark, stress, whatever). I take this as a sign the hens believe spring is approaching! These eggs likely don't have yolks, but will still find a home in an omelet. #laughingearth #winter #farmlife #certifiedorganic #eggs #consumesomethingawesome #enjoytroy
Laughing Earth Farm’s hens are kept in a mobile coop, coined the “Eggmobile,” which is moved weekly to ensure the hens have plenty of bugs, grass, and clover upon which to dine. Along with what they eat outside, the hens munch on certified organic grain rations to make their eggs certified organic. Those eggs are available year-round at the farm and at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market.