NORWICH, NY – Today’s Food and Farm Showcase introduces us to chickens who lay eggs that have deemed among the best in the country.
SOVA Farms in Norwich raises roughly 400 egg-laying hens on its 217 acre certified organic farm.
Unlike most egg-layers, these hens are kept in pasture from mid-April to mid-November with their 3 acre fenced-in pen moving every 2 to 3 days.
That allows the chickens to feed on bugs and grass, enriching their eggs with Omega 3 and vitamins A, B and C.
The Cornucopia Institute ranks the eggs as third in the Northeast and tenth in the nation.
“The structure of the egg, the yolk stands very high and it’s a compact egg. People tell me they complain because the yolks don’t break because they’re so strong, it’s hard to crack the egg because the shells are so strong. And I say, ‘That’s what eggs are supposed to be like coming from chickens that are healthy and out in sunshine doing what they were meant to do,” says McNamara.
Ed and Rose McNamara also raise and process 1 thousand meat chickens each year which are also kept in pasture inside tractors that are moved each day.
The white Cornish Cross birds are sold cut into breasts, wings and thighs while the brown Heritage chickens are marketed whole.
And SOVA has between 60 and 100 grass-fed organic Saint Croix sheep which are parasite resistant.
Ed says they produce a sweeter-tasting lamb because they have hair instead of wool.
The McNamaras bought the farm 4 years ago after having spent over 30 years working in banking and medicine in Manhattan.
“Food that is so tainted and all the diseases that we have. It’s just absolutely horrific. And knowing that we can actually offer something good for people, is very rewarding,” says McNamara.
Among the challenges are predators, with coyotes, owls and hawks looking to help themselves to the grazing hens.
That’s where guard dogs Bella and Lucy come in, spending the night with the sheep in the field.
SOVA, which stands for Stewards Of Vast Abundance, sells its eggs and meats at the Broome County
Regional Farmers market on Saturdays and another market in Rye, New York on Sundays.
Plus, they offer some direct to consumer sales, literally driving orders down to New York City almost weekly.
For more information, go to SOVAFarm.com.