We’ve had a good dose of winter lately! Freezing temps are affecting crops (as well as people!), but the farmers’ markets are still open for the winter season – check their sites for new hours.
As the seasons change and the daylight hours get shorter, we’ll start seeing fewer eggs from pastured chickens available at our local farmers’ markets. Too bad Charlotte Fresh hasn’t figured out a way to store eggs on a long-term basis. (I hear you can freeze the raw whites more successfully than you can freeze the yolks.)
A brief egg lesson: laying hens need about 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs on a regular basis, and each hen lays about an egg per day in her early years. If the farmer does not use artificial light sources to keep the 14 hour light cycle in the fall and winter when the days are shorter, the egg production cycle is affected. As the chickens sense shorter daylight patterns, their internal clocks signal to them to give the laying a rest, and they begin to molt their feathers. Once spring comes again, they’ll readjust their laying habits and go back to producing on a more regular schedule.
Talk to your farmers to find out how their laying hens are doing and how long production will last. And savor every delicious fresh egg you can find.
Some egg producers to chat with:
- Alex’s Free Range Eggs – Matthews
- Baucom’s Best – Matthews, Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, Hillbilly Produce Market
- Cackleberry Farms – Davidson (at Coldwater Creek Farms) and Hillbilly Produce Market
- Calico Farmstead Cheese – Davidson
- Carlea Farms – Matthews, Atherton Market
- Laughing Owl Farm – Matthews, Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
- Red Dirt Ranch – Atherton Market
- Wild Turkey Farm – Davidson
- Windy Hill Farm – Atherton Market
- Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch – Davidson (1 ostrich egg is approximately equivalent to 20 chicken eggs!)