America has its first hemp egg, reports the Pennsylvania-based York Daily Record.
The eggs are laid at Kreider Farms in Lancaster County, Penn. — about 1.5 hours west of Philadelphia — by hens fed a specially-formulated diet including 20% hemp seed meal. They're also cage free, naturally.
Dave Andrews, vice president of sales and marketing at Kreider Farms, told the Record the first inklings of the idea could be traced back to 2016. And it fits with the storied hemp heritage of Lancaster County, reportedly a top hemp producer in Pennsylvania’s early days.
"As a whole, Lancaster County hemp farming dates back to the early 1700s," Andrews said. "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.”
“The Lancaster area was a key hemp production and processing center dating back to Colonial times.”
The first European settlers in the area planted hemp fields, and in 1729 a town in Lancaster County was named in the plant's honor: Hempfield Township.
More than 200 years later, in 1937, the U.S. government made hemp and all cannabis illegal.
Eighty-one years later, the 2018 federal Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp across the nation. Among the plethora of hemp products that followed, Kreider Farms debuted a line of refrigerated hemp teas in 2019.
It was a success, Andrews said, and the team then hatched the idea for the hemp egg.
"Our thought was then to feed hemp material to chickens and put nutritional fortification into the chickens and eggs," he said.
The farm needed to meet all regulations for feeding livestock, and did their own research on formulating the feed to the best eggs.
"The result of feeding hemp to chickens not only provides vitamins and nutrients to the chickens, but results in a healthier egg for consumption."
— Dave Andrews, vice president of sales and marketing at Kreider Farms
"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 farm earned the OK from the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture in 2021, and the sales launched in mid December.
The eggs are free of THC eating them will impart no psychotropic effect, reporter Lena Tzivekis assured readers of the Daily Record.
They are, however, packed with three times the omega-3 fatty acids of a typical egg, four times the vitamin D, and twice as much B12. They contain about a third more lutein, giving the yolk a rich color. They also contain vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5, E, B7 (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 told the Daily Record.
The eggs are sold under the brand name Chiques Creek, a nod to the creek running through Kreider Farms and Lancaster County’s role as a leading hemp producer in the United States from 1720 to 1870. Additionally, the flocks are American Humane certified, indicating that the birds are raised humanely, without antibiotics.
For now, hemp eggs are only available at grocery stores in the Central Pennsylvania area. Unless the idea catches on — fingers crossed.