Another busy, beautiful week on the farm! Highlights this week include lots of planting, egg candling certification, and a booth at the Tift Park Community Market in Albany. We even accepted our first-ever credit card payment thanks to Square!
Even as we continue to harvest spring crops (see what’s currently available), we’re always planning ahead for the summer season. And so this week we planted okra, cantaloupe, several varieties of tomatoes, a rainbow of peppers, two types of eggplant, basil, and parsley. We have room left for cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and cut flowers, and then the quarter acre will be planted end to end. Whew!
I took an egg candling certification class this week through the Georgia Department of Agriculture. You can look forward to seeing your egg cartons include both grade and size in the near future. The class involved a 20-question written exam and a 100-egg hands-on candling exercise, which included rotten eggs so we could see what they looked like when candled. The process of candling an egg involves holding it up to a bright light while gently rotating it. There are four basic things to look for when candling an egg to assign it a grade: the shell, the air space, the yolk, and the white.
- The shell should be clean, a normal shape, and of course, uncracked.
- Air space is something that develops inside the egg after it is laid. A chicken’s internal temperature is 106 degrees F, but typically the outside environment is much cooler (not always though…this is SW GA after all!), and that cooler environment causes the contents of the egg to shrink, forming an air space between the inner and outer shell membranes. The air space enlarges over time due to the permeability of the shell, thus an egg with a large air space is likely much older than an egg with a very small air space. Each of the different egg grades (AA, the best; A; and B, the lowest quality) is permitted a certain depth of the air space, which can be found at the wide end of the egg.
- The yolk and the white are judged together, though not much can be learned about the egg white by candling. The yolk should be centered in the egg, should not spin freely as the egg is rotated, and should be free of blood spots.
We were pleased with the support we had at the Albany market from both new and familiar faces. If you were among that group, thanks for stopping by the booth, and we hope to see you again soon! In the meantime, we’re really excited about being at the Bainbridge Farmers Market on Saturday.
“It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn” – B. C. Forbes