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Eating with the Season: Pastured Eggs

written by

Susan Blasko

posted on

March 20, 2024

Eggs are most plentiful in the spring and summer. The days are longer, the temperature is warmer,

and hens lay more eggs when they have more sunlight and when it’s warm. Chickens are tropical

birds. Longer days and warmer weather agree with them. They are more comfortable in these

conditions. They are stressed when it’s cold and dark, so they produce fewer eggs in the fall and

winter. So you might say that eggs are a seasonal food, just like strawberries and tomatoes are.

Eggs are more nutritious in the spring and summer. The hens are eating grass, worms, and insects that

aren’t available to them in the colder months. The nourishment they receive from this diet can’t

compare with what’s available in the fall and winter. As a result, eggs laid during warm weather have

a much higher nutrient content. Two of the more important ones are conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

and choline. CLA confers many health benefits such as protecting against cancer, type 2

diabetes and heart disease. Choline is essential for normal neurological function and a healthy brain,

and it’s not found in many other foods.

Eggs from hens raised on grassy pasture have the correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty

acids, which helps reduce inflammation and promote healing and regeneration. This balance is

shifted when the hens consume more grains after the grass stops growing and the insects are gone.

How can you tell if an egg is nutrient-dense? Crack it open and look at the yolk. If it’s deep golden-

orange, it’s loaded. Ever notice how the winter egg yolks are pale in comparison? In general, intense

color equals superior nutrition most of the time.


Polyface does not provide artificial light or heat in the hoop houses in the winter in order to keep the

hens laying year-round. Nor are they given hormones to stimulate egg production. Instead, they are

allowed to rest as part of their normal, natural life cycle. They molt and replace their feathers every

winter, too. The process takes about 6 weeks. They completely stop laying while all their energy

resources go into growing new feathers.

Over the past 12 years or so, I have noticed that Polyface customer demand for eggs reaches its zenith

in the fall and winter, and drops dramatically in the spring and summer. Every year, the trend seems

to be out of sync. Technology allows us the luxury of buying almost any food all year round. We’ve

become disconnected from the rhythm of the seasons.

Dr. Buck Levin writes in his book, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, “Nourishment is a connection

between our inward health and the most distant reaches of the Earth. We break with this connection

when we live in an isolationist, separatist, exclusionary, exploitative, and extractive way, and we

restore it by being inclusive, accommodating, integrative, and considerate. When all is said and done,

nourishment is about the connection, not the payoff.”

Instinctively we know that food is most delicious and nutritious when it is grown and harvested in

season. Take advantage of this principle. 

Polyface hens have emerged from their winter shelter, and are now on the pasture.

Reconnect.

May you be deeply nourished.

eggs

chicken

seasonal

season

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