It all began with five chickens.
Ten years ago, Bryan and Betsy Babcock moved to upstate New York to start their farm. “We thought it might be fun to try raising chickens, so we purchased our first five baby chicks, which then grew into our first flock,” Betsy told us. And just a year later, after adding Suzie and Ned (their sheep), and Ezra the calf, they started a farm stay bed and breakfast featuring, of course, their farm-fresh eggs.
Get the recipe for Egg-and-Tot Brunch Pizza here.
It’s their eggs that attract, not only visitors, but also grocery shoppers far and wide. “We tried to figure out what made our eggs so special and realized it’s how our hens are raised,” she told us. The Babcocks don’t treat their chickens like farm animals—they’re part of the family. “It’s so important for us to ensure that our hens spend plenty of time outdoors, on the pasture where they hunt, peck, and exhibit their instinctive chicken behavior like dust bathing, free movement, and foraging.”
Over the past few years, especially in light of the California legislation banning caged-layer hens, consumers have become more aware of the conditions that layer hens are raised in, and now want eggs from humanely raised, organic hens. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that people tend to believe that cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised mean the same thing, and that all cage-free and free-range chickens go outside. While there are some free-range egg producers who both encourage and provide for pasture outside for their hens, there are many who do not.” Handsome Brook Farm has been ahead of the curve, working hard since 2008 to make what we call “pasture-raised” eggs available to the public, from hens that are humanely raised with frequent access to the outside.
Thus began Handsome Brook’s mission to make pasture-raised eggs more widely available. Simply put, pasture-raised eggs are from chickens that spend a large portion of their day outdoors on the pasture. In addition, they’re provided a spacious and protected indoor area for nesting and sleeping, and are allowed and encouraged to move freely between indoors and outdoors (as weather permits). “We want all consumers to understand that people need to make educated decisions in terms of their egg purchase because an egg is no longer just an egg. For those who truly care about where their eggs come from, a third party-certified, pasture-raised egg company provides the highest level of transparency when it comes to sustainable animal welfare,” says Betsy.
“We’re making serious progress, as more and more stores like FreshDirect are adding Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Eggs to their dairy cases,” says Betsy. “This change in the way people buy eggs helps keep farmers farming sustainably and humanely and that is incredibly gratifying!”
This mission is exactly what led FreshDirect to Handsome Brook Farm back in 2012—the search for a local provider of pastured eggs. “We were so honored and excited to be invited to partner with FreshDirect and serve FreshDirect customers and it’s been a wonderful relationship ever since,” Betsy told us.
Shop Handsome Brook Farm’s pasture-raised eggs here.
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