A Day for Chicks to Shine! Mom Bloggers Flock to Hickman’s Family Farms
By Jody Serey, Contributor to Arizona Farm Bureau
In early March, the Hickman family opened their egg farming operation to nine popular mom bloggers from across the nation. The women were part of the Farm to Table Mom Blog Tour created by the Good Egg Project, a national combined effort supported by American egg farmers.
Each of the mom blogger honored guests maintains a Web site blog that features myriad topics of particular interest to women with families, and attracts an enthusiastic following from all corners of the United States, and around the world. A shared interest among all the bloggers and their followers is food ─ and all facets of its procurement, production, and preparation.
This critical effort highlights the importance of social media today and means that agriculture must continue to engage. Just how significance was this effort? Some online blogs (web logs) have higher circulations than some metropolitan newspapers.
The Arizona tour officially began with a reception where the mom bloggers were welcomed by members of the Hickman family, and given the opportunity to became acquainted with other “food dignitaries,” including Chef Jeffrey Saad, from the Food Network, and Howard Helmer, the world’s fastest omelet maker. Breakfast the following morning highlighted recipes available from the American Egg Board, accompanied by food for thought offered by the Hickman’s about the family’s long-running business (66 years), and the challenges faced by today’s egg farmers.
After breakfast, the moms loaded onto a bus for the trip to the Arlington ranch, near Buckeye, Arizona. Upon arriving, they were issued protective booties, coats, and hats, to protect the chickens from any contamination that might be carried in from the outside. The moms then embarked on a comprehensive, behind the scenes tour of the farm, including the hen house, washing room, processing plant, and packing operation.
After the eye-opening tour, registered dietician, Mary Lee Chin, detailed the nutrition benefits of a single egg, and Jeffrey Saad and Howard Helmer gave a cooking demonstration featuring Hickman eggs and easy-to-prepare recipes. Even the most novice omelet cook among the moms was able to produce an almost perfect omelet after learning a couple secrets from the experts.
One mom remarked, “There was an incredible amount of information to digest, and it was an incredible experience to get a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to get fresh eggs to our table…I have a new respect for out farmers, because they are feeding our country. As part of the Good Egg Project, egg farmers are donating up to 12 million eggs per year to food banks and charities.”
Several of the moms were impressed with Hickman’s Family Farms’ efforts to utilize the most stringent methods of conservation and recycling to remain as environmentally-friendly (“green”) as possible. When she returned home, Laurie of doublebugs.com noted in her blog, “By the time they (Hickman’s Family Farms) are through at the end of the day at even their largest facility, they discard into dumpsters less waste than the average apartment building does in a day…Everything is put to good use at Hickman’s, right down to the egg shells that are used for compost.”
Another blogger from Colorado said, “The trip really changed my mind about what kind of eggs I use. I’ve decided to buy my eggs …through my local dairy’s milk delivery service. After meeting and talking with the Hickmans, I now know that conventionally made eggs are the way to go.”
Note: This post originally appeared in Arizona Agriculture
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The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, programs and services. For membership information contact 480.635.3616.