Orange Yolks

In putting together this week's recipe I had to pause and admire the beautiful deep orange of our chickens' egg yolks. Pastured chickens eating a diet high in greens and bugs produce eggs rich in carotenoids, which are responsible for the orange hue. While the orange colour itself doesn't mean a more nutrient-rich egg it's a sign of a more varied and complete diet for the chicken, and thus an indirect indicator of a more nutrient dense egg. Ethically it also means chickens who are free to roam rather than being cooped up, and who get to eat what they like best - their enthusiasm for a fresh patch of grass is unequaled. 

Egg producers have caught on to consumers' preference for more vividly coloured eggs and are able to tinker with yolk colour via additives in chicken feed, so don't automatically assume that orange yolks mean a happy chicken. As always, it's best to have a relationship with the farmer producing your food so you can ask directly what the conditions are like. I think this is especially true if you consume animal products, where the ethical stakes are higher and consequently the moral responsibility to eat well that much greater.