So we now have a national standard for ‘free range eggs’ Although at first I thought it was an April fools joke, I now realise it isn’t! This debate didn’t even discuss what I believe is the most crucial ingredient – pasture. Anyone that has chickens in their backyard knows how much they crave ‘greens’ and how access to this completely changes the quality and colour of the resulting egg. Recently science has caught up with us and discovered that pasture is actually crucial. Eggs from chickens that aren’t on pasture contain very low levels of a vitamin called K2 (a vitamin only identified by Harvard Medical School in 1975). Study’s by Dr Cees Vermeers team at Maastricht University have discovered significantly lower incidence of cardiovascular mortality amongst people with high levels of K2 in their diet. The problem is almost all of us in the west are deficient. Traditionally eating foods from grass fed animals (or insects) provided us with ample quantities of K2 while the conversion to grain based animal feed has contributed to its eradication in our modern diet. High levels of K2 is now linked with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, osteoporosis and shown to promote straight, cavity free teeth and strong bones. Here’s another example of how we think we’re clever by messing with nature. The resulting ‘cheap’ products may end up costing our health system a lot more! If you believe we don’t have enough pasture to drastically change the way we rear chickens, take a look around you. Orchards, vineyards, cattle farms are all perfect for raising ‘healthy eggs from healthy chickens’. My experience also shows that you save on fertiliser, reduce pests and best of all the microorganisms in soils go crazy – chickens activate soils and boy do our soils desperately need this. I think this just makes so much practical sense and I don’t think it will be long before consumer demand will drive this change. If you want to know more you must read a brilliant book by Kate Rheaume-Bleue called Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox.