Friday, January 10, 2014

Yes, it has been a long time since I have posted to the blog.  One of my New Year's Resolutions (there are not many) is too get a new, thought-provoking post out there on a weekly basis in 2014. 

So, I just finished reading a fantastic book by Jo Robinson, Eating on the Wild Side - The Missing Link to Optimum Health.  Ms. Robinson is a nutritionist, food activist, and health writer best known for her book Pasture Perfect, when published in 2004 was one of the first popular works to highlight the nutritional advantages of eating beef, pork, eggs, and dairy from animals raised on pasture.

For her new book, she has researched thousands of nutritional studies conducted worldwide over the last decade and has compiled all that information into an easy-to-read manual about selecting the healthiest fruit and vegetable cultivars available.  It probably won't surprise you to learn that most of the modern versions of tomatoes, apples, onions, potatoes, etc. that we find in the stores are the least nutritious varieties, having been developed over the last half century to grow fast, harvest easily, transport well, and look good on store shelves.  Over the next several weeks I will highlight some of the surprising things I have learned about eating healthier from her book.


Americans consume six times more orange juice by weight than we do whole oranges.  But which brand/type of OJ do you select from the store, with such a huge variety available? Researchers at Texas A & M University analyzed 26 different brands of orange juice they purchased from local stores.  To everyone's surprise, the juice that was made from concentrate had, on average, 45 percent more flavonoids than juice that had never been concentrated! 

Many people buy "not from concentrate" juice because they prefer its flavor.  According to Ms. Robinson, that flavor is more likely to come from a chemical flavor packet, however, than the juice itself.  Juice that is never frozen or concentrated is stored for weeks or months in million-gallon containers in order to spread the seasonal supply over the calendar year.  Oxygen is removed from the juice to keep it from spoiling or turning rancid, but the process alters and diminishes its flavor. Before bottling the juice, the producers add back a mixture of chemicals in an effort to restore the natural flavor.

Of course, fresh squeezed juice will always have the most nutrients, but if you buy orange juice at the store, purchase those brands made from concentrate, and go for the varieties with the most pulp.  The pulp contains a number of phytonutrients such as naringenin and hesperetin, that have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic properties. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pastured Eggs are the new SuperFood

I came across a great article today which detailed the nutritional differences between "supermarket" eggs from factory farms (even organic) and the eggs from chickens raised on green rotated pastures where they can forage.

That’s the conclusion reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Their testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
  • 1⁄3 less 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
These amazing results come from 14 flocks around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators.*

It's important to note that "free range" supermarket eggs are nutritionally similar to conventional eggs. The reason pastured eggs are so nutritious is that the chickens get to supplement their diets with abundant fresh plants and insects. (Having little doors on the side of a giant smelly barn just doesn't replicate that.)

Read the entire article sure to view the embedded video from Cornucopia Institute which details some disturbing information about "factor organic" eggs plus 10 great egg recipes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great new documentary on the dangers of Genetically Modified Foods (GMO's)

Earlier this week I was sent a link to a very well made documentary, Genetic Roulette, that explore the growing body of evidence that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), found in 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in the US, are having adverse health impacts on livestock and humans. 

I would encourage every one that cares about their health to take 75 minutes and watch this documentary, it is free to view online until Saturday, at which time it will be release on DVD.  

Here is the link: 

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives has audiences rushing home to clear out their cupboards of dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods. The evidence presented in the film makes the best case yet for why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are linked to disorders such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, autism, and cancer, to name a few. One health practitioner, Mary Tobin, L.Ac., said the film “provides abundant evidence that eating a GMO-free diet is the single most important change Americans can make for their health.

That evidence not only includes doctors and patients testimonials, but also veterinarians and famers who describe dramatic health improvements in animals that switched to non-GMO feed. The categories of diseases that improve in humans and animals are the ones found in lab animals fed GMOs.  And these are many of the same categories, e.g. immune, reproductive, and gastrointestinal disorders that have been on the rise in the US population since GMOs were introduced.

Exposing the Dark Side

This 85 minute documentary reveals, what Author John Robbins calls, “the bullying and deceit of the biotech industry,”— including manipulation of research, attacks on independent scientists and their findings, and infiltration and control of government regulators.

The film also reveals for the first time to horrific impact among workers on a South Africa farm, who were consuming a higher amount of GMO corn than probably any other group in the world.

Upbeat, Empowering and World Changing

Although this film’s eye-opening evidence is sometimes shocking, it is by no means a downer. According to Robbins, it “shines a bright light of hope that we can reclaim our health and our food systems.” Smith explains that as little as 5% of the US population switching to non-GMO foods should deliver a tipping point, inspiring food companies to kick out GM ingredients. It was such a consumer rejection that already kicked GMOs out of Europe.

The film is being released right in the throes of the California campaign for Prop 37. If it passes in November, food companies will have to label products made with GM ingredients (like they do in nearly 50 other countries). Not only will this make it far easier for people to buy healthier non-GMO choices, the expected migration away from labeled GM products will probably accelerate the tipping point.

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives is a production of The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). Those who view the film during the free showing week are encouraged to support IRT’s efforts, through donations, by subscribing to the Spilling the Beans free e-newsletter, and by joining with other citizen advocates through the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network—to help get the word out in California and beyond.

“GENETIC ROULETTE unveils a world most of us have never seen. It raises alarming questions about GMOs, and we deserve answers. For all that you love, hear this message and act now.”  — Frances Moore LappĂ©, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives, from September 15-22. The film lays bare the serious health impacts of genetically modified foods (GM) as reported by scientists, doctors, veterinarians, as well as other experts. We are launching this free viewing week now because the movie can better equip voters in California with additional information on GMOs that they need to make sensible choices for Prop 37, which would require labels on GE foods. Otherwise they might fall prey to Monsanto’s multi-million dollar disinformation campaign.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We get a lot of calls about our eggs - what is the difference between our free range eggs vs. conventional, grocery store, and organic eggs.  What kind of hens do we use, what do we feed them, are they in cages, etc.  So here are the facts:

Conventional eggs - produced by hens confined in battery cages inside huge "factory" chicken houses containing up to 250,000 hens each, account for more than 90% of U.S. egg production.   Unfortunately these poor hens live a short, unhealthy, unhappy life crammed into a 3 foot long cage with 4-5 other hens, not even able to spread their wings.  More often than not one of their cell mates is dead or dying, diseases are prevalent (hence the frequent use of antibiotics), and the SMELL is horrifying.  This is clearly not a humane or healthy situation for the chickens, does not promote the creation of healthy eggs for customers, but you can sure crank out a lot of eggs at very low cost.  If you want to see what these places are really like, visit the site

Some factory farms have upgraded their facilities to "Cage-Free" - which is certainly a step up...but not by much. Thousands of hens are still crammed into a large smelly building without ever seeing the light of day, fresh air, or a blade of grass.  And because of this high concentration of birds, feed, and poop, it is still very difficult to keep the hens healthy, hence the high use of antibiotics.

Free-Range is not a regulated term, so any factory farmer that does not cage their hens can also claim they are "free-range", even if the hens are free ranging on a slab of concrete. 

Organic eggs are better than conventional, in that these hens are fed only certified organic feed - grown without herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, and routine use of antibiotics.  HOWEVER, the vast majority of organic egg producers are now factory farms, raising the hens in huge cage-free confinement facilities where the required "access" to the outdoors is a small door leading to a barren yard.  These farms might meet the technical requirements specified to label their eggs "organic", but they certainly are not meeting the spirit of the guidelines.

Your healthiest and most humane choice is to eat PASTURED EGGs - laid by hens that have daily access to fresh pasture where they can forage for grasses, legumes, weeds, forbs, seeds, worms, bugs, and mineral-rich soil.  Hens with access to fresh pasture will ingest up to 50% of their diet from the pasture, providing them with a very healthy, natural diet and plenty of greens.   With this superior diet they are healthier, happier, and of course lay the healthiest eggs for us to eat.  In fact there are a number of scientific studies that demonstrate eggs from pasture-raised hens are much higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids than eggs from conventional factory farms.  Of course all these nutrients are in the bright orange yolks, so don't settle for the egg whites only.  Learn more about the health advantages of pastured eggs HERE.

Here at Barrington Natural Farms, our hens spend the spring, summer, and fall free-ranging out of the FreeBird II, their mobile egg house that we move every few days, typically following the cows pasture rotations.  We encircle the FreeBird II with a portable electric fence that gives them plenty of space to forage, but protects them from the coyotes and foxes.  We supplement their pasture forage with certified organic feed from Cashton Farm Supply.   In the winter when the grass is not growing and the ground is too cold to move the portable fencing, our hens live in a large "greenhouse" where they have plenty of room to roam and an open door to go outside when the weather is not too bad.  We feed the organic grass and alfalfa hay in the winter to get them enough roughage and vegetation in their diets.

Please feel free to post any questions or comments about eggs or different egg production systems.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We are receiving many questions via email from customers and prospective customers about our farm and what products we offer, our farming practices, etc. so we decided to start a blog that we could share the questions and answers with everyone that is interested in what we are doing.  This is my first attempt at "Blogging" so bear with me! 

Once question that I have received many times in the last few weeks is whether we offer raw milk.  We do not currently offer raw milk or dairy products, but based on the large demand we are looking into the possibility of acquiring several dairy cows so we could make it available.  The "food police" have done an excellent job of making it very difficult to provide this very nutritious product to our families.  Right now we are compiling a list of interested buyers of raw milk and butter.   Illinois law allows us to provide raw milk to our customers if they pick it up from the farm in their own container, and we don't advertise the availability.  

If we can get 20 - 25 families together that would regularly purchase raw milk and could pick it up from our farm, we can probably make that work.  Please email me or reply to this blog post if you are interested.