About Our Eggs
How is pasture raised different from free range or cage-free?
Pasture-raised eggs are laid by hens that spend their days outdoors roaming the pastures as they please. Our pasture-raised girls get a minimum of 108 square feet EACH – unlike free range and cage-free birds that have far less freedom. Free range hens typically get a minimum of 2 square feet per bird and have limited access to the outdoors. Cage-free birds get a minimum of 1.2 square foot per bird and may rarely, if ever, see the sunlight. We make sure our girls have access to fresh air and sunshine year-round.
What’s a double yolk?
It’s like a four-leaf clover, but tastier! Double yolks usually come from young flocks that are just beginning to lay. Until the hens get the timing just right and learn how to lay, two eggs may merge together in the hen’s oviduct, meaning she’ll lay one large egg with two yolks hidden inside. Don’t be surprised if you see multiple eggs with double yolks in a single carton – they all came from the same young flock.
Why aren’t all eggs the same size?
A hen’s age is the main factor that determines egg size. Young hens that are just beginning to lay tend to produce smaller eggs, and, ironically, a few jumbos as well. To keep your cartons consistent, we do our best to grade out the eggs so you only get eggs of a certain size. Because our eggs are natural and not from a factory farm, you may see some variation in egg size.
Why do your eggs taste so good?
We believe our eggs taste so good because our pasture-raised hens live happy, healthy lives! Our girls’ fresh-air lifestyle is full of foraging and feasting on natural goodness, which shines through in every egg. If you’ve never cracked open a pasture-raised egg, your culinary life is about to change.
Why are the eggs brown?
While it’s true that a hen’s ear-lobe color will tell you what color their eggs will be, that’s not the reason behind the color. An egg’s color is determined by the breed. Most of our hens are Hy-line Browns – and it’s in their genetics to lay brown eggs.
Where are your farms?
All of our family-owned farms are in the pasture belt, which is the U.S. region, including Arkansas and portions of Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, where pasture-raised eggs can be produced year-round. Learn more about the Pasture Belt here.
Eating Our Eggs
Where can I find your eggs?
You can find our eggs in grocery stores nationwide – both natural and mainstream. Use our store locator to find a grocer near you that carries our pasture-raised goodness.
Can you deliver eggs?
Currently, we’re not able to deliver directly to your doorstep. However, if you use a grocery delivery app, you may be able to have our eggs delivered right to you! Check out our store locator to see which nearby stores carry our products.
What’s the difference between your egg types?
The type of supplemental feed our girls receive is what differentiates our three egg types from one another. All our girls forage for their own food in the outdoors, but they also receive supplemental feed to help round out their diets. The girls who lay our USDA Certified Organic Pasture-Raised Eggs receive a supplemental feed that’s USDA Certified Organic, and are raised on farms which are also Organic-certified. The hens who lay our Non-GMO Project Verified Pasture-Raised Eggs are given a feed and raised on a farm that’s Non-GMO Project Verified. The birds that lay our Original Pasture-Raised Eggs are fed a supplemental feed that’s carefully formulated to keep them happy and healthy. Regardless of the type of egg, our farmers refrain from using pesticides or herbicides on their pastures, and, all of our eggs are Certified Humane and hormone free.
Do you wash your eggs?
Yes. USDA regulations require that we wash our eggs before we pack them. Washing does remove the eggs’ natural protective layer (called the ‘cuticle’ or ‘bloom’), which is why they must be refrigerated.
Feed and Certifications
What do your girls eat?
Our hens spend their days foraging in the pastures, seeking out native and seasonal grasses like clover, rye and wild onion. They don’t stop with plants though! You’ll often catch our girls munching on a grasshopper or snacking on a worm. Alongside the food they forage for, our girls receive supplemental feed consisting primarily of corn and unprocessed soybean meal, along with nutrients designed to keep them happy and healthy.
Is there soy in the their feed?
Yes, our feed does contain unprocessed soymeal, which we’ve found to be the best source of the essential proteins and amino acids our girls need to lay.
What is Certified Humane®?
Certified Humane® is considered the gold standard in animal welfare . Certified Humane® standards are set by a scientific committee of internationally renowned animal scientists, veterinarians and researchers. Each of our farms undergoes an extensive application, inspection and verification process each year to ensure that we meet or exceed all of the Certified Humane® standards for pasture-raised laying hens. We’re proud to carry the Certified Humane® seal on all of our cartons. Read more about Certified Humane® standards for hens and other animals on their website.
What is Non-GMO Project Verified?
Non-GMO Project is a trusted verification for consumers looking to avoid GMO products. For eggs, the Project verifies that our girls are fed a Non-GMO diet conducting annual inspections of the feed mill that produces our supplemental feed. They also perform traceability audits at our packing facilities to ensure that we only pack non-GMO eggs into our non-GMO cartons. We’re proud to be the first in the U.S. to offer Non-GMO Project Verified pasture-raised eggs.
What kind of hens do you have?
Most of our girls are Hy-line Browns.
What happens to the girls in winter?
They go outside! Our girls live in warmer-weather states (an area we like to call the Pasture Belt) where the winters are mild. Day in and day out, our girls freely forage for fresh grasses, seeds and protein-packed critters.
How do you keep your girls safe?
Because the risk of predation is highest at night, our girls are taught from a young age to come indoors before sunset. We also regularly patrol our farms and use harmless countermeasures (like dummy owls!) to keep aerial predators at bay.
How do I become a farmer?
Ready to join our flock? Click here to learn more about becoming a Vital Farmer.
What makes your butter pasture-raised?
Pasture-raised describes a welfare standard, a way of living that provides the girls more room to roam and grass to graze. While some grass-fed cows never even set hoof on a grassy field, these pasture-raised girls come by their grass naturally—they spend most of their days outside grazing on the open pastures of family farms.
What do your cows eat?
The American family farmers who raise these cows know what’s best for their herds. So, for their health and well-being, they may also supplement their grazing with silage and baled haylage from locally grown crops. A nutritionally balanced diet yields the most delicious, high butterfat milk!
What do we mean by “small herds”?
From our experience, dairy cows live their best lives on small farms, so the biggest herd we partner with has 250, the smallest is less than 10. The average herd size on our partner farms is between 50-60 girls.
How often are the cows milked, and how is it done?
Dairy cows are normally milked twice a day (they can get uncomfortable otherwise). Most of the farms we work with use modern milking equipment, but some continue to milk by hand.
Which breeds are the cows on these farms?
Healthy, happy Jerseys, Holsteins, and Guernseys are the most common. These gorgeous girls are super efficient – they transform grass and water into high-quality, high-butterfat milk that makes the most delicious pasture-raised butter.
Is your butter Non-GMO?
Our butter is not third-party certified by the Non-GMO Project Because the FDA doesn’t consider milk (or butter) to be GMO, we think the certification would be somewhat redundant.
How long will Vital Farms butter last in the fridge? In the freezer?
Though our general rule of thumb is six months in the fridge (a little longer if salted), and up to two years in the freezer, every package of butter has its own expiration date. Check your butter’s packaging for an official date.