Organic, but are they “free-range”?

It would make sense logically, that our food packaging would tell us what is inside.  Right?  And, you would you think that it would also give you the details behind the food – How did it get there?  Where did it come from?  How old is it?

Well, I used to buy the Kirkland brand Organic Eggs from Costco (before I found a local farmer with eggs and before I had chickens laying 6 eggs a DAY!!).  The Kirkland eggs come in an 18-pack for $4.99 (a good price!) and the carton is standard cardboard and clearly states the eggs are certified ORGANIC – but, there is nothing else.  I had questions.  I wanted to know where the eggs came from (the actual farm’s location), whether or not they were free-range and what their organic diets actually consisted of.  The carton only had a distribution location in Kirkland, Washington by Costco Wholesale and a phone number to call.

So, what’s your trusty, bloggin’ lady going to do?

Call that toll-free number and ask for more info of course!

One-ringy-dingy…  Two-ringy-dingy…

Costco is a HUGE company.  I was calling a 1-800-number and the people who answered were going to live who knows where – maybe Timbuktu.  I was pleasantly surprised to actually talk to a person and I just about fell off my chair when I explained my situation, provided the Costco item number (you are lost without this!) and was quickly given ALL the information about my eggs!  Can you believe it?  I was floored and giddy with excitement.

Tah dah! Here’s what I found out –

All of Costco’s Organic eggs come from two ranches in California.  The chickens are completely free-range and fed a 100% organic diet that consists of blended grain feed.  The eggs are certified organic by the National Organic Program.

In today’s day and age, I really prefer to talk to a farmer directly and touch the cows that are giving you the milk or rub up against the stalks growing your sweet corn.  But, the customer service that Costco provided has surpassed my expectations – both with the quality of their product and the information behind it.  It never hurts to make a phone call and ask.

Side note: Yes, I got the information.  Yes, I know what the chickens eat and that their living arrangements are classified as “free-range”.  But, I can’t meet them.  I can’t hear them.  And, I don’t know how long it’s been since those eggs left the chickens and made it to the cooler in my local store.  And, because the legal, government definition of “free-range” is lose at best, it’s just not the same as these two trusty eyes and what I can see for myself in my own backyard or the farm down the road.

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This entry was posted in home & hearth, nice & natural, oh! it's organic!, supper & sustenance, where the locals go!. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Organic, but are they “free-range”?

  1. Eileen Martin says:

    On Dr Oz show, a free range chicken can be classifed free range, if spends as little as 5 minutes outside.

    • CompassionateSoul says:

      Thank you for this information. According to the article, they give specific names of each farm and the region they provide to. For example; I live in San Diego, CA and the farm is Chino Valley Ranchers http://www.chinovalleyranchers.com/contact_us.asp
      You can check out the website (look at the videos!). I’m hoping to go visit the farm and get a tour too:) I’m also planning on giving my Costco a call to make sure. It would be awesome to get some sort of proof that Chino is the actual provider. I’m so glad there are blogs like these. The more we share information the more we learn and can make wise decisions about the products we buy! Thanks Again!

  2. Pingback: the story behind costco kirkland organic eggs | The Sacred Bee's Blog

  3. Brandy says:

    I WANT chickens! When we move to that smaller house I mentioned in a comment to another post, I get chickens! (small victories–we live in suburbia) Costco, huge, but good. They do good things. I learn that every day, and in a world of automated telephones where you speak to people in India, it’s refreshing to hear you got a live, knowledgeable person.

    Love your blog. I’m working on Soren upgrades to mine. I’d like to add you to the future blog roll.

    • sacredbee says:

      So happy to hear you found the blog and are enjoying it. I’ve let it go by the wayside a bit this summer, but find this to be a bit of a second home. 🙂 Hope to see you around here some more!

  4. MJ Anderson says:

    Thanks for your info. on Costco’s free range eggs! I was just about to start searching myself. I must wonder about how long they’ve taken to get to my Costco, though, as I live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia!! Thanks very much. MJ

    • sacredbee says:

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed the blog posting. I hope it was informative. There is nothing as tasty as farm fresh eggs with bright yellow yolks, but Costco’s organic version is at least a reasonable option. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  5. Hoy says:

    Do you have the names of the two California ranches?

    • sacredbee says:

      Thanks for checking in and asking this question. No, I don’t have the name of the ranches. Costco wouldn’t provide the names… 😦 Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  6. Utah Mom says:

    Hi Kate

    Thank you for your post on Kirkland’s Organic Eggs. We have been buying them for a while. I’ve noticed that the shells on these eggs are a little harder to crack than others, and there are often brownish red specks in them that bug me, so I pick them out. Do you or anyone else here know why these specks are in them or why the shells are harder?

    Also, Would you comment on the effect of GMO foods on the honey bee?

    I have been very concerned about this ever since I read that when the honey bee pollinates a genetically modified crop, it damages their brains and causes them to die. I was wondering if you have any experience with this and how to prevent it in raising your own bees. Do your bees stay close by, so if you’re not near a GM field they’re aren’t in danger?

    Thanks!

    • sacredbee says:

      Shell hardness depends on the calcium level in the chicken’s diet. Softer or “easier to crack” eggshells aren’t a problem, they are just more fragile. The spots in the eggs are a natural occurrence, as are blood spots. If the blood spot is particularly large, I will remove it, but if it’s small, I just mix it on up with the scrambled eggs. 🙂

      GMO effects on bees… I don’t know of any direct effects other than creating homogenous crops that are reliant on chemicals and/or other intensive methods that can have adverse effects on the bees. Let me know if that answers your questions or you have other thoughts.

      Have a wonderful holiday season!

      • Utah Mom says:

        Thanks for the info sacredbee! It sounds like Costco’s organic eggs, which I buy regularly, and are in a clear carton now and cost $6.99/24 count, probably receive calcium supplementation, which I’ve heard is a good thing for chickens. I’ve read eggs shells that are washed and dried in the sun, can be crumbled in your hand and fed back the chickens for “free” calcium supplementation, which helps the shells resist cracking. Finely ground egg shells can be mixed in their feed to increase calcium too. Although, sometimes chickens can acquire a taste for shells and start eating their eggs, which I guessing is why they should be washed. I think it’d be best to use a glass jar blender if you grind them though, as they’d probably really scratch a plastic blender jar. Does anyone have any experience with feeding back chickens crumbled/ground eggshells? Does anyone know what variety of chickens Costco’s are?

  7. Cheryl says:

    My question is are they humanly slaughter?

  8. corey says:

    Sounds like that episode of Portlandia.

  9. curious in FL says:

    Thanks so much for all this info. I live in Florida and was just wondering about the source of the Costco organic eggs. You have given me a good start. Now i will pursue the source of our eggs in this area. I appreciate all you do and give. And as a former beekeeper with my husband in NH, I really can appreciate all you do to keep bees. It’s a wonder and a wonder-full occupation.

  10. Erinn says:

    Do you know if the grain feed contains soy? Are these pastured eggs?

  11. Mary says:

    They are fed corn and soy, however. i applaud Costco for its forward thinking. However, soy is poison.

    • Utah Mom says:

      Thanks Mary! How did you find out the chickens that lay Costco’s organic eggs are fed corn and soy? I assume the feed is non-GMO, or they couldn’t say the eggs are organic correct? Why is “non-GMO soy” poison?

  12. Olive says:

    I really appreciate you going out to seek this information! I really believe in making sure the animals you eat weren’t killed horribly and I don’t mean you have to turn vegan, but it is morally correct to make sure animals are treated respectfully.

  13. Jackie says:

    check out cornucopia egg scorecard, they do a good job checking this out for you. Kirkland brand doesn’t score well. http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/

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