Gallery: Behind the Scenes at Lake Meadow Naturals Egg Farm in Ocoee, FL

  • Rhode Island Reds

    Handsome Rhode Island Reds, a breed prized for their brown eggs and high production levels, form the bulk of the flocks at Lake Meadow Naturals.

    Poached Duck Egg

    A slow-cooked duck egg served on top of duck confit hash makes for an awesome breakfast.

    View From The Lot

    Fields, trees, fences—all the pretty things.

    Ready To Hatch

    Not all the egg-layers on the farm are hatched there, but there is a small hatchery program. Here Dale candles an egg from the incubator to examine the developing chick inside.

    Hey, lil' guy!

    Freshly hatched chicks are kept in sheds until large enough to be moved to the barns.

    Americauna

    A few Americauna chickens live in their own coop. The breed lays eggs with pale green shells. (The insides just look like standard eggs.)

    The Fields

    The chickens get access to an outdoor field that I roughly calculated to be around 75 times larger than my New York apartment. That's a heck of a lot of space. To deal with ground predators, Dale keeps a pair of donkeys in the enclosure.

    Morning Run

    The chickens out on an early morning. The only real danger to them from predators is other birds. They'll bolt back to their barn the moment the shadow of a chicken hawk passes overhead.

    Guinea Fowl

    Guinea fowl peck around alongside the chickens.

    Turkeys

    Have you ever had a turkey egg? They taste pretty much identical to chicken eggs, through their white-with-brown-speckles shells are gorgeous.

    I Did That

    Hens have free access to laying boxes in their barns.

    Americauna Eggs

    Pale green eggs freshly laid by Americauna chickens.

    Candling for Defects

    After being collected, eggs are candled for defects like cracks or blood spots.

    Into the Washer

    They're then sent into a long tunnel where they get scrubbed clean, carwash style.

    All Clean!

    They come out the other side dirt-free.

    Sorting Machine

    Each egg is electronically weighed, then gets passed on to a sorting machine. The rubber "fingers" push the eggs off their tracks into different bins according to their size.

    Packing

    Packing

    They're boxed up by hand to be shipped to restaurants or sold in their farm store.

    Runny Yolk

    Check out that yolk run!