You go to the grocery store and look at the giant display of eggs in the cooler. There are so many different kinds there, does it even matter which you choose?
Of course it does! Especially if you care about choosing the freshest foods for your family and supporting the local economy!
I had the chance to visit Vanderwees Farms over on Townline road last week. Owner, Bruce VanderWees took me for a walk through of the facility and let me have a look at what goes on in our very own locally owned and operated egg farm!
Vanderwees began as a mixed farming operation in the 50’s and by the 1960’s had put their eggs all on one basket, so to speak, to focus on poultry farming.
The farm is home to over 30,000 chickens that live in a constant 72 degree climate controlled environment. The rules and regulations under which the chickens and eggs are handled are extremely stringent and rigorous. Everything is accounted for and they do extensive testing on everything. These practices help ensure that the animals stay happy and healthy, and that they produce the best possible product for us.
Amazingly enough, throughout their life on the farm, most of the eggs are never even touched by human hands. They are brought in on long rollers. Washed, candled, sorted and packaged without so much as a fingerprint. They are cooled and then sent off to local restaurants and grocery stores. About 80 percent of the eggs produced at Vanderwees stay right here in Thunder Bay!
You will be exceptionally happy to know that the chickens are also doing their part and eating local. They dine primarily on corn, local wheat and local barley. Weights of the birds are constantly monitored to assess how much food they need to make sure they are not over or underfed.
See? One of the best things about local food producers is that you can actually go there and ask questions! They are part of our community and want to provide us with a quality product and fantastic service. It is so important to know where your food comes from, and I am glad to know that much of mine comes from that Vanderwees egg truck that we’ve all seen driving around.
And the question you’ve all been waiting for. What is Bruce VanderWees’ favourite way to enjoy an egg? Why, a ham and cheese omelet of course!
In my household we go through a lot of eggs.
My kids love ‘em. Every morning the boys get them scrambled, hard boiled or over easy. I recently bought a new egg slicer so we had been doing lots of hard boiled. But, there has recently been an egg revelation in my household. My friend Stacy was over visiting one day, and asked if I ever steamed my eggs.
No. I had never done this.
As it so happened in an odd twist of fate, I ended up with a steamer basket a few days later. Coincidence? Who cares!
Anyhow I took this method of cooking out for a test-drive, and I will never go back. That’s right. Steaming is AWESOME! The eggs peel like a dream, and there is no off coloured yolk- Just a fantastic yellow orb.
To steam your eggs put an inch of water in your pot, put in the steamer and then the eggs. Turn on the heat, and when you start to see a little steam, put on the lid and set your timer for 16 minutes… tick, tick, tick, ding! Remove the eggs from the steamer with a spoon and put them into an ice bath for a few minutes, et voila!
I picked up a few (and by a few I mean 8 dozen) eggs when I visited Vanderwees. We had an Easter egg hunt, made eggs Benedict for Easter breakfast, and a lot more. Most people love eggs, and with so many ways to enjoy them it makes sense to buy this staple from a local farmer.
For more pictures, recipes and fun visit me at Relatively Gourmand and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @localflavorblog!
Know of a great restaurant, foodcentric event or local food producer? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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