Marla Gets Cracking! Egg Farm Tour {& Giveaway}

by Marla on March 5, 2010 · 27 comments

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My folks are very supportive.  They generally hop on board my whimsical ideas and offer up token parental guidance.  They are fans of my blog ’cause I’m their kid.  My dad likes the “pictures” and my mom thinks my recipes are “interesting.”

Growing up we would spend each summer together as a family on my aunt and uncles dairy farm in the UK.  My dad would beam with joy as we stepped off the plane after  a frustrating and exhausting relaxing 7 hours squashed  on an airplane with his two children.

With eyes half closed we would clear customs, collect our bags, rent a car and drive the 3 plus hours southbound to the green pastures of Devon.  For the next eight weeks my dad dropped his title of “NY Dentist” and became a farmer.  Each day he jumped out of bed before dawn to milk the herd of Jersey cows.  He moved fences, dug holes, fed chickens, gardened, made hay & tirelessly milked the cows again in the evening.  He was dedicated.  My dad should have been a full time farmer.

When I told him that my food blog endeavors were noticed by the American Egg Farmers, he nearly jumped out of his skin.  An all expenses paid visit to an egg farm was a feather in my “professional” bloggers cap.  His daughter had finally made the big time folks. Forget about making huge dollars, his kid was heading back to the farm.

Here it is: the post that reveals my experience on an egg farm in Phoenix.  Dedicated lovingly to my dad.

As a mom we all need some down time.  We stayed at the Wigwam resort located just outside of Phoenix.  It was great to wake up at my usual 4:00am, brew up a pot of steamy coffee, blog and hit the gym all before our 7:30am breakfast.  I turned on all the lights & make as much noise as I wanted without waking my family.  A true party for this gal!

FFC Gets Cracking!

About a month ago Foodbuzz asked its featured publishers if they were interested in learning more about the the Farm to Table process as part of the Good Egg Project sponsored by the American Egg Board.  This project is creating community awareness by educating us about farmers so we can better understand where our food comes from.  It also encourages folks to reach out to their local communities and help feed the hungry.

I am thrilled to better understand the full circle of farming and egg consumption.  The Good Egg Project is building public awareness to get folks to make healthier food choices.  Sounds a lot like the exchange we have here on FFC.  We need to get clean, healthy, whole foods on our tables.  This tour helped reinforce eating fresh, unprocessed foods.

I love eggs.  I eat so many each day and thankfully my kids love them too.  I love ‘em because they are an excellent source of lean protein, they are versatile in recipes, inexpensive, found everywhere & simple to prepare.  Eggs are natures fast food. (Just to think it has it’s own little “to-go” container!)


The other bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting on this trip were:

There were presentations by a very informative nutritionist, Mary Lee Chin and two of the Incredible “Eggs-perts,” spokesmen Jeffrey and Howard.  These guys are super charged dynamos when it comes to cooking up some good looking and great tasting eggs.  They share a bunch of great recipes here.

Jeffrey has operated and owned many restaurants and he was runner up for season five of “The Next Food Network Star.” Chef Howard Helmer is the Guinness World Records “World’s Fastest Omelet Maker.”  These guys have loads of simple & tasty tips to get us cooking our eggs.

Chef Jeffrey has his own foodie blog: www.jeffreysaad.com

This was a passionate group of folks uniting to create awareness for americans to get it together with eating whole/high energy good for us foods.


Hickman’s Family Farms

The farm that hosted us is located just outside of Phoenix Arizona.  We spent a nice chunk of time getting to know the Hickman family.  There are three Hickman brothers.  We spent the most time with Clint and Billy.  They answered all of our questions with honesty and wit.  It was a fun bunch to spend time with.

The Hickman egg farm has been going strong since 1944.  In Arizona their hens are caged and in California they own a free-range Organic farm.  They speak freely and are knowledgeable about both sides of the fence.

Going Green

“Hickman’s Family Farms utilize stringent methods of conservation and recycling to remain as environmentally-friendly (“green”) as possible. Wash water is recycled and reused, and manure is dried, ground, and turned into high quality fertilizer. By the time we are through at even our largest facilities, we actually discard into dumpsters less waste than the average apartment building does in a day.”



Fresh Benefits

Egg-cellent stuff to know:

“One egg has 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts – including high-quality protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc – for  70 calories. Eggs also play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.”

To learn more about this low fat, awesome source of protein click on this link:

Incredible Edible Egg

Facts I learned about Eggs:

  • The size of the egg is determined by the age of chicken.  Younger chicken=smaller egg.  Older chicken=larger egg.
  • Brown eggs are not nutritionally superior to white.  They both have the same nutritional profile.
  • Brown chicken = Brown egg
  • White chicken = White egg
  • The older the egg gets the more watery the white gets when we crack it open.
  • Different states have different “sell by” time periods.
  • Egg farmers can be really good lookin’!

Egg-cellent Family Fresh Cooking Recipes

Eggs are natures “Fast Food.”  From a quick poach, to a scramble or fried egg…it’s so easy to get a high energy meal with eggs.  A great addition to custards, casseroles & baked goods, eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients out there!

I have some awesome egg based recipes coming you way, but in the mean time enjoy these FFC Egg-cellent Recipes!  They all use eggs in some way, again proving their versatility!

Thanks for joining me on this virtual tour.  We all want you guys to enjoy your eggs.

A great giveaway awaits….click HERE.


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen March 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm

What a great post. I loved hearing about your family and your childhood. Your father reminds me of my own dad :) And in hindsight, I should have gone to the spa too!

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2 Jessica@Healthy Exposures March 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm

What a great recap. Looks like so much fun, and so much great information! Beautiful photos, as well :)
-Jessica

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3 Rosa March 6, 2010 at 6:27 am

Thanks for the interesting post! What a great spa…

Cheers,

Rosa

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4 Ann @ Healthy Tasty Chow March 6, 2010 at 6:54 am

Great lookin’ post! I love what you can do with pictures and graphics! Mine will have content but won’t look near this cool! Why in the heck didn’t we go to the spa? For your dad to drop everything and farm for a while in the UK is pretty awesome! You must’ve had a fun and interesting childhood:)

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5 FoodFitnessFreshair March 6, 2010 at 8:12 am

This sounds like a wonderful experience! I love learning like this. Your dad sounds almost a little similar to my dad…He would get up in the morning, head straight to the garden and get an hour or so of work in, then hop in the shower, put on a suit and go to work. Then he’d come home in the evening and work until it got dark (or after dark), gardening away. It’s great because he’s instilled this same love of gardening and working hard in me, while I can also strive for a business-side as well.

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6 Rose March 6, 2010 at 9:11 am

Fantastic! Must have been nice to get away for a few days. Interesting about the brown & white eggs! I love eggs – they are a perfect food :)

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7 Kristen @ Change of Pace March 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

See that would be like the perfect vacation for me! Staying at a hotel (kid free!), eating yummy food, and learning about food and animals. What an amazing trip girl! I’m jealous :)

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8 Kristen @ Change of Pace March 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

Tweeted!

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9 grace March 7, 2010 at 3:10 am

i didn’t think it was possible, but my love of the egg has grown even more. great post, marla! now if only i can find my very own good-looking egg farmer… :)

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10 Michelle March 7, 2010 at 4:25 am

Very cool… I love eggs. An egg chair too! LOL

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11 Faith March 7, 2010 at 4:57 am

What a sweet dedication to your dad! That spa looks gorgeous, and all the info about the farms and the eggs was really informative. I love eggs too — they’re delicious and probably the most versatile food I can think of!

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12 sophia March 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Loved this post! I applied but didn’t get in, so sad.But I’m glad you went, you certainly deserve it!
For some reason, I’ve been having the hardest time trying to load up your blog! I’m relieved that I can finally get in! Phew!

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13 rebecca March 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm

so happy you won so your have British blood in ya!
and so interesting to read

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14 Megan Gordon March 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Your comments about your parents cracked me up. Thank god we have them around, huh? My mom and dad are also supportive–although clueless. They think Bon Appetit will be knocking on my door any second to start buying photos and begging for interviews. Too funny. But nice to have someone in your corner.

Now this looks like it was such a wonderful opportunity–how exiciting for you! The spa, in and of itself, looks incredible. I love that you mentioned getting up early, working out, and blogging as a treat/vacation whereas most people would just sleep in and call it a day. But yes, coffee without kids is, I’m sure, a huge vacation in and of itself. Anyway, congrats. Sounds like fun. Oh, and I definitely always thought brown eggs were better for you–fooled all these years!

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15 Blond Duck March 8, 2010 at 4:30 am

Popped in to say hi! I’m a firm believer in the power of eggs!

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16 Cara March 8, 2010 at 6:35 am

Thank you for sharing! For a long time I have been using Eggbeaters to cut calories but I’m slowly incorporating more whole, real egg dishes into my repertoire. I realize they are very good for me… and actually pretty trendy right now!

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17 Maria March 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

How fun! I am glad you were able to go! Loved seeing all of the photos!

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18 Kevin Crowell March 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Egg’s Rule!!!

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19 sweetlife March 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

what a great trip…quiet time..u derserve it girl!! Glad you had such a great time!!

sweetlife

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20 kristina March 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Awesome recap. You included everything and then some. I enjoyed meeting you at #farmtotable. Hope to see you again at another bloggy event.

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21 Sloane March 9, 2010 at 10:56 am

I loved reading this post! Boy, can I picture it! Keep up with the great anecdotes. Looks like a fun trip. The farm girl (and spa-lover) in me was so glad you got to do this…and jealous too. Can’t wait to read more!

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22 Nicole, RD March 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

What an amazing opportunity! I love that “Egg Farmers Can Be Really Good Looking!” Hahaa :) That’s awesome! 4am, girlie!? You’re intense! The accomodations and farm look beautiful! What an exerperience! I loved seeing and reading all about it!!

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23 Nicole, RD March 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

P.S. I already have an egg slicer, so I’ll let other lucky individuals take a shot at the giveaway! Love it!

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24 Blond Duck March 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Bear says thanks for the sweet birthday wishes, but it was my husband’s b-day! Bear thinks every day is his b-day however, so he was delighted you acknowleged him.

He also says he likes eggs, shall you decide to make a quiche or scrambled eggs and biscuits…

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25 A Canadian Foodie March 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

What a fantastic opportunity = and I cannot wait until you finish sorting through your photos. You are singing my song!
XO
Valerie

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26 leanne March 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I’m very jealous by your egg farm tour, but since we have a couple chickens of our own, I probably wouldn’t have been allowed in the facility (due to sanitary reasons).

It’a actually the earlobe color that determines egg color, not the color of the chicken itself. And, it’s more like White Earlobe = white egg, Brown Earlobe = not-white egg since you can have eggs that range from pink to blue to green to dark maroon, in addition to the “plain” brown eggs!

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27 Clint April 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Hi Marla, ok I am thinking way too much time has past for a comment on the tour, but oh well…seems to be my style. And by the way, Leanne is correct..DANG IT! Anyway, I am so glad you took the time to come out and see the farm. I very much enjoyed reading about your thoughts of the tour. I cracked up reading about the egg farmers can be cute line, you must have been talking about Billy. In fact, I was at an industry meeting where your comment was read aloud…it took me a couple minutes to crawl back out from under my chair. Once again, please thank your family for sharing you with us last month! Your BLOG is Beautiful..love the pics and graphics, you know your stuff girl.

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