Category Archives: Green Lab

The Anatomy of an Egg

eggcrosssection copy

SHELL Bumpy and grainy in texture, an eggshell is covered with as many as 17,000 tiny pores. Eggshell is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) crystals. It is a semipermeable membrane, which means that air and moisture can pass through its pores. The shell also has a thin outermost coating called the bloom or cuticle that helps keep out bacteria and dust.
INNER AND OUTER MEMBRANES Lying between the eggshell and egg white, these two transparent protein membranes provide efficient defense against bacterial invasion. If you give these layers a tug, you’ll find they’re surprisingly strong. They’re made partly of keratin, a protein that’s also in human hair.
AIR CELL An air space forms when the contents of the egg cool and contract after the egg is laid. The air cell usually rests between the outer and inner membranes at the egg’s larger end, and it accounts for the crater you often see at the end of a hard-cooked egg. The air cell grows larger as an egg ages.
ALBUMEN The egg white is known as the albumen, which comes from albus, the Latin word for “white.” Four alternating layers of thick and thin albumen contain approximately 40 different proteins, the main components of the egg white in addition to water.
CHALAZAE Opaque ropes of egg white, the chalazae hold the yolk in the center of the egg. Like little anchors, they attach the yolk’s casing to the membrane lining the eggshell. The more prominent they are, the fresher the egg.
VITELLINE
MEMBRANE
The clear casing that encloses the yolk.
YOLK The yolk contains less water and more protein than the white, some fat, and most of the vitamins and minerals of the egg. These include iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, thiamine, and riboflavin. The yolk is also a source of lecithin, an effective emulsifier. Yolk color ranges from just a hint of yellow to a magnificent deep orange, according to the feed and breed of the hen.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/eggcomposition.html

The above graphic and definitions is from the coolest site on food and the science of cooking.  Love, love love this website!  It is from the San Francisco Exploratorium…what an amazing treasure of interesting knowledge.

Edible Weeds-

The “weed” pictured above is known as Lamb’s Quarter or Goosefoot.  We have TONS of weeds at the farm…in the rows, around the fence and in the raised beds.  I read somewhere, that the weeds in your garden can tell you a lot about the soil.  What it has going for it and what it is lacking.

So it seems that the Lamb’s Quarter is common in gardens with very rich soil.  Specifically in yards with animals doing the fertilizing.  So while our chickens and ducks pastured in the garden this fall, they were tilling, fertilizing and weeding…they also set the stage for a bumper crop of this tasty green.  It is used like spinach greens, and I already know the chickens love it.

A Central Park forager has an extensive list of wild edibles and recipes, Wild Man Steve Brill.  Maybe I will look him up next week on our visit!

All grape achievements require time…

The early peach tree already bloomed and is leafing out, the apricot tree has flowers on it…and the buds on the grape vine are popping!  So it was like kismet when I found my favorite virtual friend in this morning’s mail.  Peaceful Valley Organic Gardening supplies is a favorite online resource, I only dream of a real visit!  I love Trish and her informative videos on all kinds of garden tasks.  The one below is a great explanation of pruning the grape vines.  At the Spring Street Butterfly Garden, we have several grape plants that went in the ground August 2010 and are in dire need of a prune.  Please message me if you would like to work on the vines.  Enjoy the video to get you in the spirit!

Farm Box-Farm Stand January 13th

Today is Friday, January 13th and the stand will be open all day, from 10am-5pm.

It is located on the corner of Spring Street at Elm Avenue nestled off to the side of the Spring Street Farm Project with row after row of berries and veggies. Swing by and shop…or just grab a box!  A selection of just picked goodness has been packed up for you, it’s practically a drive through.

Today’s farm box contains:
Blueberries
Romaine lettuce
Red leaf lettuce
Carrots
Mushrooms
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Red Potatoes
Beets
Celery
Red Onion
Fennel and
Raspberries!

They sell out early, if you pre-order for next week, Tuesday or Friday we’ll make sure to save you one!! And if you want to add a dozen eggs, we can do hen, duck or a combination of the two!!

Fresh Today in the Farm Stand!

We have brown eggs, blue eggs, white eggs, duck eggs, small eggs, extra large eggs…

This morning around 7am – Shelly was getting a little disturbed by our gathering and decided to fly the coop and grab some chow…

Thanks Ladies! We gathered 23 eggs this morning…I think a week of 80 plus degrees has tricked them in to thinking it’s spring! I am also feeding them in the sunny south facing section of the garden and have made sure they can take their dust baths against the south facing wall. The micro climate there has got to be at least one zone closer to the equator…I am going to go ahead and plant the beans on the trellis’ there in our long and narrow garden bed.

Stop by for fresh eggs – and a new year of strawberries has begun- the winter root stock is already producing and the berries are in and on the table. Carrots are amazing, the romaine lettuce looked grand and the leeks are positively pristine!! There are onions, celery and much more…

Text me with questions or if you need directions! 562-528-6259

Extraordinary Eggs!

Healthy and delicious eggs from pastured hens are available at our Farm Stand every week. Tuesdays and Fridays from 10m-5pm.  Tomorrow we will have fresh chicken and duck eggs available – $3 per 1/2 dozen, or buy 18 for only $8

Interesting facts about eggs include:

There are over 150 breeds of domestic chickens.

Their eggs are a variety of colors from white, brown, green, blue and even pink!

Hens can lay eggs without a rooster. The eggs will never hatch though, as they are unfertilized.

It takes a chicken 24-26 hours to produce an egg.

Once a year chickens go through a molting process, where they grow new feathers.  This takes about 9 weeks and they do not lay any eggs during this time!

An unwashed egg can stay fresh for six months, if it is refrigerated shortly after being laid. Washing the egg removes the bloom-a thin protein coating that stops harmful bacteria from penetrating through the eggs porous shell-so a fresh egg shouldn’t be washed until just before cooking.

Eggs from hens like ours are a lot healthier than most supermarket eggs. USDA nutrient data shows that compared to commercial eggs, eggs from hens allowed to peck on pasture may contain up to: 1/3 cholesterol – 1/4 less saturated fat – 2/3 more vitamin A – 2 times more omega 3 fatty acids – 3 times more vitamin E – 7 times more beta carotene and 4-6 times as much vitamin D!

Healthy and delicious eggs from pastured hens are available at our Farm Stand every week. Tuesdays and Fridays from 10m-5pm.

Feathered Fabulousness

Taken yesterday in the late afternoon, this beauty is known as Cher, for her fabulous Bob Mackie feathered garb. She is fully dressed in her fresh and fluffy winter coat having molted a little earlier than the rest of the coop. I just read that it takes 9 weeks to grow a feather!  They stop laying eggs during this period and may not start again until spring…I certainly hope not!  I chose heavy breeds and good cold weather layers when researching for our flock.  They started laying last fall and went on laying well all year…until now.  Lots of high protein food and plenty of sunshine is what they need right now.

Stop by the farm any Friday (10a-5p) and visit our produce stand out on the corner of Elm and Spring St…and you can visit the chickens in the Green Lab teaching garden just north up the alley past the children’s orchard.

Enjoy a little Farm Life in the City Folks!  We welcome visitors, and volunteers!  Call, write or text  KelliJohnson1@mac.com, or 562-528-6259

See you in the fields!!