How Free-Range Is That? Soul Food Farm's Eggs

Last year, I did a tasteoff among various local free-range, organic eggs, including those from Trader Joe's, Judy's Farm, and Marin Sun Farms. The easy winner were the ones from Soul Food Farm: the eggs stood up higher, the yolks were brighter-colored, and, most important, tasted the best. They're a pricey treat--$5 at the farm or $7-8 at retailers such as Prather Ranch Co. and Avedanos--so perhaps best appreciated simply soft-boiled or poached.

I always wonder how free-range chickens so billed really are, so I dropped by the farm to see for myself. As you can see in the video below, at Soul Food--where they prefer the term "pastured"--the chickens are literally free to do what they like, wandering around open fields eating plants or bugs, or back into their roomy coop to eat feed, lay eggs (gathered five times a day), or get away from the dark. The farm also has a couple of llamas to scare predators off from one breed that prefers to spend the night outside. The birds are regularly moved around to greener pastures, while their manure naturally fertilizes new growth in the old ones. It's easy to see why these eggs taste so good: the hens are well-fed and happy.

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