In Lancaster County, Kreider Farms is launching the nation's first-ever Hemp-fed Cage Free Egg.
Produced on the company's 3,000-acre farm, the cage-free eggs are a product of chickens hand-fed a specially formulated and laboratory-tested all-vegetarian diet consisting of 20% hemp seed meal.
The Chiques Creek brand, pays homage to a creek in Lancaster County, which played as one of the leading producers of hemp in the United States.
It is a 31.6-mile-long waterway of the Susquehanna River, that runs through the company headquarters at Kreider Farms in Lancaster County, PA.
Dave Andrews, VP of sales and marketing at Kreider Farms, said the company began brainstorming the concept back in 2016.
According to Andrews, Hemp agriculture runs deep in the Lancaster County heritage.
Hemp History in Lancaster County
In 1683, one of the first laws passed by the Pennsylvania General assembly encouraged farmers to grow hemp.
"As a whole, Lancaster County hemp farming dates back to the early 1700s," Andrews said.
The first permanent settlers of what became known as Lancaster County began planting hemp, and by 1729 the mass production of hemp led to the establishment of Hempfield Township in Lancaster County.
"Our ancestors used to grow hemp on our farms, and the Lancaster area was a key hemp production and processing center dating back to Colonial times," he said.
In 1937, however, the hemp industry in Pennsylvania came to an abrupt end with the passage of a law made growing hemp illegal in the United States.
But in 2016, Andrews and his team at Kreider Farms said they heard rumors that agricultural hemp was heading for a "renaissance."
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture acknowledged to Kreider Farms that the passage of a farm bill to legalize agricultural hemp was on the horizon, and the farm bill legalizing hemp agriculture again in the United States passed in a bipartisan vote in November 2018.
Hemp began showing up in products such as shampoo, hand soaps and food.
In 2019, Kreider Farms began creating its own hemp products when it released a line of specialty refrigerated hemp teas with flavors such as Passionfruit Mint, and Apricot Orange Blossom.
But Andrews said the concept of a hemp egg took much longer to develop.
The hemp egg
After the success of the hemp tea, Andrews said the team brainstormed the idea of a hemp egg.
"Our thought was then to feed hemp material to chickens and put nutritional fortification into the chickens and eggs," he said.
Feeding livestock involves a variety of regulations that the farm needed to obey. Additionally, there needed to be research conducted, and a blend of recipes and formulations of feed to produce the eggs, followed by having them lab tested.
"The testing and trials took several years, papers had to be written by accredited scientists and everything had to be submitted to the state and auditing authorities," Andrews said.
The process was further slowed down by COVID, but in 2021 Kreider Farms received approval by the Pennsylvania State Department of Agricultural, to produce and sell the Hemp eggs.
While they do contain hemp, these eggs are THC-free, and consuming them will not get you high.
These cage-free brown eggs are filled with nutrients including Omega-3, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and are a source of vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin E, Biotin, Choline and Selenium.
"The result of feeding hemp to chickens not only provides vitamins and nutrients to the chickens, but results in a healthier egg for consumption," Andrews said.
The hemp eggs will be available at select Giant grocery stores, as well as numerous independent grocery stores in Central Pennsylvania such as Shady Maple Markets and Oregon Dairy in Lititz.
see original article here: Lancaster farm launches nation's first-ever Hemp-fed cage free egg (ydr.com)