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Putting the Heart Back in Breakfast

Small farms, raising hens right, remind us that love makes everything better.

In Partnership with Happy Egg Co.

How do you like your eggs?

Your choices at the supermarket are nearly endless. Do you want organic, natural, Omega-3, free range, cage-free? Brown, white, extra large, pasteurized, Grade A? Ah, the age of convenience. Options are an exciting luxury in just about ever aspect of our economy.

But do we know what we’re really choosing?

The truth is, we’re more than a little bit removed from where our food comes from—and how it was produced. Long gone are the days when we felt like real families were behind the faces of brands and companies churning out products.

We need meals made easy and fast. Family time around the table is often a lost art, with attention sacrificed to phones, tablets and TVs. As we blaze along from day to day and wonder what’s missing, we have to ask ourselves the question:

When we get separated from where the love comes from, how much do we lose?

Out in the Ozark Woodlands, one company’s small family farms remind us that reconnecting to care and tradition is well worth the effort.

Their farms, our tables

Happy Egg Co. is made up of small farms in Arkansas and Missouri. On these farms, real people are living on the land with their loved ones — and caring for the animals. “Farming is a great way to raise a family and make a decent living,” says Tim of T&L Poultry, one of many Happy Egg farms.

Happy Egg’s commitment goes well above the humane standard. Where others are doing the minimum, their farmers have a proactive mission: Raising eggs with love. Russ and Rhonda of Whitetail Valley Farms enjoy giving hens their freedom. “We like to see them out roaming over the hillside!” they say.

On Happy Egg’s social media channels, they post videos and pictures of hens strolling happily in the pasture. Each farm boasts 8 acres for the hens, along with play kits, outdoor watering systems, and areas for dust-bathing.

It only takes 2 square feet of outdoor space per hen to be humanely classified as “free range,” but Happy Egg goes the extra mile — or rather, the extra 19.8 square feet per hen.

Fans comment regularly — and excitedly — on the posts featuring hens.

“Thanks for all your hard work!”

“It’s great to see them so radiant and happy.”

“Love this. The way it should be.”

The other side of the industry

Most of the industry is not free range like Happy Egg. In the US today, roughly 90% (or more) eggs come from caged hens.

Caged hens spend their entire lives in an overcrowded wire frame with others. They don’t have space to stretch their wings. As you can imagine, this puts a great deal of stress on the birds, and it never gets better.

Within the last several years, the US egg industry has begun to lean toward cage-free to appease consumers. But even this is no guarantee of prime conditions. Most cage-free hens remain enclosed in barns and never set foot outside. In contrast, Happy Egg farms optimize time outdoors for hens in order to improve their welfare.

It’s true; companies like Happy Egg Co. are rarer than we would like to believe. But they remind us that there are still people out there, hard-working farmers and their families, trying to do things the way they ought to be done.

As Happy Egg has proven with their products, it just so happens that emphasizing animal welfare makes for high quality eggs. Consumers love them. The hens are happy. And families across the nation have more to celebrate around the breakfast table.

What do those egg aisle “terms” mean? A chef answers…

Love fills us up

The tradition of Sunday brunch, or even Saturday morning breakfast around the table, recalls a comfort that can only be found in quality time with people we love.

Food draws us in, but love fills us up. It doesn’t take us long to realize that getting back to the heart of things is what we wanted all along. Maybe the scrambled eggs on our breakfast table are better shared. Maybe leaving our phones in another room or switching off the TV would help us focus on the faces in our household. Somewhere else out there, in the Ozark Woodlands, another family is eating together… and working hard to share their eggs with you.

Learn how to make a quick French Style Omelet with Chef Jason Paul

To remind us that their eggs are raised with love, Happy Egg has a heart in its logo. And because of the 8 acres on every farm, The Free-est of the Free Range™ is right on the label.

For companies like Happy Egg, putting the heart back in breakfast is as simple as doing things right by their farmers and hens.

For us, it’s as simple as good choices… in the supermarket, where we can support responsible farming — and the real farmers behind the brand name — and in our homes, where a good brunch with family may be just what we need.

Egg basics with a chef

Learn the best way to scrabble, poach, boil and fry an egg in this short video.

Recipe: Mushroom Spinach + Goat Cheese Frittata