When you’re a foodie like me, so much boils down to outrageously great taste, to flavours and textures that just make you want to savour spoonful after spoonful, forkful after forkful. But really? Nothing tastes more delicious to me than food that feeds my conscience, satisfying my need for a more just and compassionate world.
Rabbit River Farms produces Metro Vancouver free-range organic eggs that simply check off everything for me. Their products are fresh and full-flavoured, with those strikingly vivid yolks that reflect a high nutritional profile.
And these eggs are laid by happy chickens! Rabbit River Farms chickens roam freely rather than live distressing lives in cages. They eat natural feeds free of genetically modified ingredients or animal by-products.
Cage-free chickens are happy chickens. And when chickens are happy, so am I.
Local Metro Vancouver free-range organic eggs are an incredible way to satisfy my need for high quality and tasty protein. And when I learned Rabbit River Farm’s story, I was feeling even more grateful for this pioneering company.
You see, when Rabbit River Farms was established in 1994, it was Canada’s first certified organic egg farm. In fact, it’s founder Steve Easterbrook co-wrote the organic standards for egg production the year later.
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve in person at the Farm to Fields event on Rabbit River Farms in Richmond a few Sundays ago. He told me about the decades he has spent supporting farmers to do free-range organic production. He said, “When we began production, less than 1/4 of 1% of hens were cage-free in BC. Currently, cage-free production exceeds 22% of layer hens.”
What? What a transformative company! Many a time I have picked up a dozen Rabbit River eggs, admiring its pastoral packaging, and had no idea what an incredible story was attached to them.
Steve says Rabbit River’s mission is to continue educating egg-lovers and producers about humane animal welfare practices, supporting the trend of cage-free chickens. Their philosophy, he says, “is to provide the best quality of life possible for the livestock that produces our food.”
I also love it when a food producer has a long history of passion for what they raise, make, or craft. Steve is certainly a long-time egg production enthusiast.
When he was little, Steve says he would spend his free time observing and caring for livestock. At that point, in the mid-1960’s, Steve lived in a neighbourhood that included a free-range egg farm. He was also surrounded by retired farmers tending to organic backyard gardens. When he was only 10 years old he and his friend set up their own coops! They would practice raising guinea fowl, peacocks, homing pigeons, ducks and many heritage breeds of chickens. The idea was to copy what these retired farmers were doing. In the process, the two little boys became aviary experts.
That expertise and passion only grew throughout Steve’s life. As an adult, he visited a local organic food distributor and learned that organic eggs were not available in Canada. Following his childhood enthusiasm Steve entered the business, destined to change it.
I can’t imagine the tenacity it took to establish such a revolutionary farm at a time when less than a quarter of 1% of hens were cage-free! And then to have such a strong influence on other farmers? Talk about leadership. In 2001 Rabbit River lobbied the BCSPCA to initiate the SPCA CERTIFIED FARM program in Canada. They became Canada’s first “humane certified” farm.
Hooray! And thanks Steve for paving the way for others to follow suit.
Steve says, “At the core of Rabbit River Farms are our values. They guide our decisions and enable us to stay true to ourselves and consistently produce the highest quality food in accordance with the highest ethical standards in the organic egg farming industry.”
I have nothing but admiration for this trail-blazing Metro Vancouver cage-free organic egg farm. Do yourself a favour: pick up a dozen, and admire the sunny, rich, vibrant colour of compassion.
You can learn more about Rabbit River Farms and their cage-free chickens here.