Vital Farms: Pasture Raised, Organic Eggs at Whole Foods

Image from the Vital Farms blog.

Over the weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo West, a massive health food industry convention. Yes, indeed, Fabio was in attendance selling some sort of powdered supplement and I may have seen Ziggy Marley packing up his own bottles of “Coco’Mon” coconut oil. Such are the indignities one encounters on the downward arc of a career in reggae music or romance book cover modeling.

Out of the nearly 2,000 exhibitors of, frankly, health food store junk food, one stood out: Vital Farms, purveyors of eggs from pasture raised hens. The overwhelming majority of eggs in this country are laid by chickens crammed into small cages or, arguably worse, crammed into big sheds.  “Free range,” “cage free” and “organic,” mean absolutely nothing. What makes Vital Farms different is that the eggs they sell were laid by chickens who live outside, during the day, on pasture. Their spokesperson offered to let me tour the farms they contract with, something that, I doubt, any of the big egg producers would offer.

The Cornocopia Institute gives them a “five egg (exemplary)” rating, citing their rotational grazing methods, abstinence from the practice of beak trimming and year round outdoor access for the hens. Vital Farms contracts with several farms in Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia. Their eggs are available nationwide at Whole Foods and they have expanded into meat chickens.

Now, hopefully, I can recover from the spectral celebrity hallucinations induced by downing hundreds of free samples of things like pro-biotic frozen pizza (I’m not making this up) and caveman power bars. Perhaps a pasture raised egg omelet will wipe away my açaí berry hangover.

Thanks to Dale Benson for suggesting attending this event and for driving, spending a half hour finding a parking space and pointing out Ziggy Marley or someone who resembled Ziggy Marley packing up those bottles of coconut oil.

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10 Comments

  1. Back in the 1980s my job required me to go to that conference yearly. The hotel manager I talked to said that that it was quite profitable for the hotel – it was the heaviest-drinking group they had! Gosh, I think maybe Fabio was there back then, too….

    • Speaking of heavy drinking at conferences, my youngest son was a bartender at a local resort for a while and told me that the best weekend of the year was the Catholic priest’s convention. Son said, “They drink a lot, tip really well, leave early, and don’t start fights.” Wow! Who’d have thought? Maybe this isn’t so unusual; after all, hotels and resorts seem to love to host almost anybody’s convention.

  2. lol Fabio! I saw him at my local whole foods.. First I saw his stand with his face on it ‘Fabio’s protein powder’ and I snorted to my friend ‘Oh my god, look at that’. And then she whispered ‘Is that Fabio?’. Yes, I had guffawed right in front of him. :P

  3. I used to go the the convention in Chicago. It’s so huge and disorienting. But the last one we went to had natural, international, and conventional food items. I got to see great things like Mr. Peanut, Koolaid guy, the real sherif car from Andy Griffith, the 3-D chalk art guy, and much more. The Lithuanian Vodka girls were pretty fun!

  4. Fabio is well preserved, for those keeping score. Perhaps it’s the powder he’s pimping. I also neglected to mention the Voss water booth babe (in a blue dress, of course). And the hippie DJ spinning discs in a lotus position while sitting on the floor of a natural cosmetics booth. There was also, as Terry mentioned, the booze exhibitors back at the hotel. I had a few too many samples of not so great wines and beers, to be honest.

  5. I was there on Friday and since I don’t do supplements, I didn’t even get to enjoy the samples. Somehow I ended up at the Albert Vieille Matieres Premieres Aromatiques boothlet inhaling the amazing scents from their fabulous coffret of extractions. That alone was worth the trip.

    I love Vital Farms Eggs and until our chickens start laying we will be enjoying them!

  6. What do Vital Farms do with male chicks? I emailed them twice with this question and have not received answer.

    • I’m also interested in this question. I love their eggs, but will stop eating them if I get the wrong answer.

  7. I heard Vital Farms does put soy in the feed, although it does not make up the majority. I don’t care if it’s organic soy (what’s the likelihood?), I don’t want any soy. And corn is in the feed too, although they say that’s organic too. I think it’s nearly impossible to have totally clean food anymore. We have to know that we are being screwed, in every direction.

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