Care2: The economy is tough. You say part of Vital Farms’ mission is to put better food into the hands of more people, but often better food is prohibitively expensive. Why should we be willing to spend more for true free-range eggs?
AP: When you buy a cheap egg, you are basically helping to finance an industry that tortures animals to produce mediocre-tasting food produced in wretched conditions. When you buy a pasture-raised egg, you are helping to keep small family farmers on their land, raising happy hens that lay the most delicious, high quality food.
We want to give shoppers a super-high quality egg option all over the country. VF eggs are sold in Whole Foods stores, for example, from California to Maine, and that gives us the opportunity to educate a public that has been misled about eggs for far too long. A dozen Vital Farms eggs cost between $6 and $8 per dozen, depending store and location. The higher price of our eggs ensures that a family farm can make a decent living raising a few thousand birds in a respectful way, instead of raising 80,000 birds in the factory farm model.
Care2: How many farmers are involved with Vital Farms now? What does it take to become a VF egg farmer?
AP: We work with 16 small family farmers to produce our pasture-raised eggs. We only own and operate one of our farms (in South Austin, TX) and many of our other farmers are second and third generation farmers. In order to produce products for Vital Farms, these families must have land that is Certified Organic, not use any herbicides or pesticides on their land or any antibiotics or hormones with their hens. Our farmers rotate pastures weekly, to ensure the freshest, greenest grass for our birds, which maintains their good health and the taste, texture and nutrients in the eggs.
Want to get involved? Today, Vital Farms kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to take an entire farm from conventional to truly pasture-raised eggs in a short amount of time. You can be part of this historic effort to put healthy food within the reach of every family in America. Check out the campaign on ‘When You Wish’ to learn more or contribute.