The Lowcountry of South Carolina has an amazing culture of farm fresh and organic foods available throughout the seasons. There are many wonderful places to purchase these superb and healthy products, from the summer vegetable stands that line highway 17 in beautiful Mount Pleasant, to the yearly fall and winter farmers market in downtown historic Charleston. However, if you are looking for free range, corn-fed eggs, there is no better place than Island Oaks Farm on Johns Island.
Island Oaks Farm – Johns Island, SC
Located just a short drive from downtown Charleston, Island Oaks Farm is nestled back into a tree line of magnificent old oak trees and cradled in a smooth bend of the Ashley River. Owner Ray Tanner lives and manages this beautiful property and animals that blissfully reside along with him. Amongst the happy animals lives a variety of free range, corn-fed chickens
Why Sell Fresh Eggs?
When you first meet Ray, you immediately fall in love with his charming cowboy personality, and you may wonder why, this horseman would take on the venture of raising and roosting chickens, and then selling the eggs. “It was something that I did for my grandsons. They love the chickens and are always excited to help with the collecting.”
Ray presents the newest basket of collected eggs, and you would think it was Easter. The egg colors range from classic white, to brown, pink, and even blue. “Each kind of chicken lays different eggs, and this is why I collects such a rainbow of colors,” he explains, “The different colors have been a big hit, especially with the kids” A big hit indeed, the eggs are quickly gaining a following in the Lowcountry area.
What is the difference in eggs direct from the farm and ones we buy in the store?
Ray explains most of the time when we purchase eggs from our local grocery story, we never know anything about the chickens that laid them. Many times, as sad as it is, the chickens are kept almost as prisoners in their farms and never see the outside of a cage. These chickens can have a shorter life span and many times will stop laying eggs at an early age as a result of stress. “I know they are happy here” Ray tanner proudly says, “I collect anywhere from two to three dozen eggs every morning. If the chickens aren’t happy, they wouldn’t lay, so I must be doing something right.” Rays chickens are fat and their feathers have beautiful colors that shine in the country sunlight.
How about taste, is there a difference there? After cooking and sampling these eggs, I am happy to report that there is a difference. When you first crack open the shells and place the eggs in the pan, the first thing you notice is the darker, richer orange color of the yolks. Then there is the taste, perhaps it is only in the mind, but they taste fresher than those from the grocer with a slightly thicker texture.
A dozen eggs can be yours for $3.00 per dozen. While that may seem like a lofty price for eggs, Ray says there is a reason behind that: “I just want to sell them to cover the cost of the chicken feed. I’m not in it for the money, or to make a profit, I simply want to keep the chickens happy and healthy and producing as a fun way to spend time with my grandkids.” So in a word, family, I can’t think of a better reason to spend three dollars. Well, there is always the reason that these eggs are healthier and are raised humanely, but you can pick your motivation.