How Free Are Your Free Range Eggs?

The notion of “Free Range” has always been a slightly contentious topic. Unlike “organic”, the free-range-ness of animals is not widely certified, particularly when it comes to eggs. Just check the egg cartons in any supermarket aisle and you will see what I mean.

Of course the health-conscious, environment-conscious, animal-friendly (I say animal-friendly, not animal-lover by the way) chicks like me would still choose to pay $6 for a dozen eggs instead of $2.49 to keep our consciences free of evil as well, but I’ve often wondered to myself – exactly how free are those chooks laying our supposedly free-range eggs?

My folks spent a week up in the country and just returned to the city today. We joined them over the weekend at the Tonimbuk House, which is in a little township called Tonimbuk about an hour and a half’s drive from the city. Anyway, when they returned this afternoon, my city-bumpkin mother excitedly announced that she had brought back with her a DOZEN FREE-RANGE EGGS from the owners’ chickens! Frankly, I think my mother was more excited about the fact that the eggs were from the owners’ chickens (because you don’t ever get chickens running around in your HDB/apartment balconies in Singapore), while I was doing a little victory dance that mother dearest had scored us some beautiful REAL free-range eggs. And we know that they’re free range because we’d seen witnessed those chooks running around with our own eyes!

Free range eggs from the Tonimbuk House

Free range eggs from the Tonimbuk House

Daffodils from the Tonimbuk House garden

Daffodils from the Tonimbuk House garden

That’s not all. My father-in-law has a colleague whose family runs a farm, and they too have free range chickens (according to the FIL who’s supposedly visited them before, and thus has seen ’em chickens running around happily). So every now and then, when our stars are slightly aligned, we get to buy some free range eggs of them! DOUBLE SCORE! It also happens that the family makes their own cabana. Lovely paprika-scented, smokey smokey smokey and delightfully flavourful cabana, which we had the privilege of buying home earlier on in the week. TRIPLE SCORE!

Eggs from the FIL's colleague's farm

Eggs from the FIL's colleague's farm

So yes. I’ve now been spoilt with unsupermarketed free range eggs (I now have 23 free range eggs sitting in my fridge) and homemade cabana. I wonder if I can ever go back to the supermarket shelves to get my supply now. We’ll see!

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