The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oprah's Eggs? Or Local Eggs? Organic Overpricing

When I heard the farm where I purchase my organic eggs was going to be part of a story on animal confinement and conscious choices on Oprah, I was elated. I blogged about it back then. But the past few weeks have me thinking a bit differently -- on cost of those famous eggs AND the costs of organic products - mainly meat. I guess I should say, MY HUSBAND, is quick to remind me of costs every time I purchase organic. He won the battle over the holiday turkey (much to my dismay, but its really not about me at Christmas now is it?! I don't even eat the turkey) Natural Acres charges $3.50 a dozen for their famous organic eggs. My dear old dad turned me on to our local Amish hardware store, who has a chicken coop in the backyard and HIS eggs are $1.25 a dozen! No, they aren't certified organic, but the birds are running free and having a good time pecking and scratching - how bad could their feed be (non organic?). Curious thought, but for now I think I'll stick to those $1.25 cage-free eggs. Trying to stay in-tune to the local thing and sticking to grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, my research uncovered some astounding price differences in grassfed vs organic meat. Our local organic meat producer fetches $1,325.00 for a half of a certified organic black angus beef. Yup, that's almost $9.00 a lb for 160-165 lbs. Their grass fed "natural" beef is also salty -- $925 a half. In comparison, my mom's friend butchers their grass-fed beef each spring and sells to my mom for $1.90 a pound! Yes, I'm on that bandwagon. I'm not sure why organic producers are overpricing their products -- it can't be helping their business. Grass Fed Farms in Indiana gets nearly $25.00 a chicken for organic whole chickens. I'm sure its some of the tastiest chicken around, but is it really worth $25.00 a bird? I told my husband I'll stick to vegetarianism before I pay some of the prices organic producers are fetching. Why are they charging so much? All in all, I like Cindy Burke's idea in To Buy or Not Buy Organic of sticking to local and sustainable. Talk to your local farmers -- you might be surprised that they too have organic, they just don't advertise it.


fullfreezer said...

We are purchasing a side of grass fed beef from a local Amish farmer. With processing costs, it will cost us $3.41/lb. It's not certified organic as such, but I can't imagine how bad it could be from an Amish farmer...kind of like your eggs.

thomas said...


Thanks for your nice mention of our whole free range chickens from Grass Fed Farms™. You did, however, forget to mention that our shipping is free. While that doesn't discount the total cost of obtaining our products outside of our local markets, leaving that notable fact out makes it appear "overpriced," and doesn't provide a full account of the facts.

Pricing is, overall, relative to a marketplace and subjective to costs involved. The growing decline in food quality is directly associated with pressing economic demands as far down the "food chain" as possible. Sustainable farming will always have a higher priced product, all things being equal, simply because its principles of growing a better quality of food resists pressing the economic demands where quality is sacrificed.

That being said, we are very sensitive to delivery costs and are always willing to work with our customers attempting to obtain the lowest delivered prices we can. Of course, buying locally grown products eliminates expensive delivery services like Federal Express and UPS - but not everyone has access to locally grown pastured food. Our free range eggs, for example, seem expensive, but then again shipping is free and our quality is unsurpassed. Plainly, raising laying chickens from non-commercialized breeds produces a product tremendously superior to what is available even in local organic markets, but they don't lay the quantity of eggs a commercialized breed does. This, of course, affects the prices of the product. One customer recently wrote saying: "Your eggs are the best I've had since childhood. They are very much different than even the organic eggs in supermarkets....the eggs are great, I'll be ordering from you forever." Sometimes, then, pricing is relative to quality and a persons willingness and desire to enjoy the very best.

Buying in bulk, though, is one way consumers can enjoy our products and distribute the economic burden of delivery across a greater quantity of chickens. If your readers are interested in our meats and want to join with one another in placing bulk orders, we are more than happy to adjust our prices accordingly.


Thomas Weddle
Grass Fed Farms™

Pasture Birds said...

I find prices fairly in line when I buy on the internet from places like Grass Fed Farms. If a company offers free shipping, and I am buying a large enough order, the cost of shipping is usually less than I would spend driving into the city from my isolated, rural location. The cost of gas is varying so much these days, but I would be spending more if I spent time buying things I don't really need when I go to 'town'. The upside of ordering from my desk rather than prowling the shops!

Chili said...

thomas - I can't thank you enough for your comments. I never thought about shipping and yes, that's a HUGE factor - thank you. I now understand costs much more clearly and am very happy you posted. Thank you!