The Secret to a Good (Organic) Egg at Morning Sun

The drive out to Morning Sun Organic Farm, located near West Alexandria, Ohio, weaves through hilly, quaint towns on a beautiful autumn day. Our mobile directions fail us and we concede to the fact that we’ll be late to joining the lunch invitation extended by the Filbrun family. We get back on track after the technology fail. Soon, we are heading down the long driveway toward the Filbrun family’s farm, where we are then warmly greeted (despite being late) by both the scenic farm and our hosts, the Filbrun family. The kids run to and fro, with the youngest finding solace from the myriad of new faces (a group of us from DLM, including the Dairy managers) in the arms of her grandfather, Dale Filbrun. I quietly reach my hand into my pocket and switch my mobile to silent, not wanting the interruptions that come with it as we spend time with these kind people.

 

PURITY STARTS WITH TRANSPARENCY

DLM has had a relationship with Morning Sun Organic Farm for more than 20 years when Dale walked into DLM Oakwood with a dozen eggs and introduced himself to Larry Fourman, DLM Oakwood’s longtime Dairy manager. The yolk of a longtime friendship with DLM started that day.

Dale and his son Daren explain that the purpose of their invitation, beyond sharing our company over a meal, is transparency in how they do things. There is a purity that shines through as they delve into their belief of their product and practices. With great pride, they walk us through the inner workings of their 160-acre farm, where they have about 8,500 chickens laying approximately 7,250 eggs per day. The chickens are certified organic and cage-free, meaning that the numerous red barns that line the West Alexandria farm each have multiple openings with fans running constantly, allowing for ample ventilation, and open access to green space where the chickens can roam.

The natural feel of chickens clucking contently marries well with some modern advancements that the Filbruns have made over the years, like a conveyer belt that brings the eggs laid in nesting houses to a gathering spot. Young Daniel, age 4, doesn’t hesitate to take a break from playing to jump up and begin carefully placing the eggs in carriers. Nobody asks him to do so; he just saw the eggs and his eyes lit up, happy to help in his own way. As a parent, I can admire the sense of responsibility these children are learning. Although these tasks are carried out on a daily basis by the adults, the lifestyle is a part of them.

“We used to be washing the eggs by hand,” Daren remarks, as he carries Daniel’s sorted eggs to a machine that carefully suctions the top of each egg so that they can be cleaned. They then travel down a line to undergo a process called candling, where a bright light shines through each egg, and they’re sorted for quality and size (hence large vs. jumbo), and then finally packaged. Next step is delivery, with Morning Sun Organic Farm bringing their eggs to pockets of restaurants and retail locations, like ours.

THE SECRET TO A GOOD EGG

Daren points out how nicely the chickens are feathered, noting that they aim to not overcrowd the individual areas. In addition, each of the red barns where the chickens lay eggs has its own designated pasture, rather than a shared one.

Dale is quick to add that a good (organic) egg starts with a happy, healthy chicken, which is the result of its environment, even down to the soil. “In addition to scratching in the pasture for bugs and worms, they also get organic (and therefor non-GMO) grain raised by us,” Dale says. “We have been following the organic standards since 1992, before it was popular, because we believe in raising nutrient dense food, whether it’s for my family or our chickens.” By doing so, he says this gives Morning Sun total control over what the chickens are fed—whole grains and no animal by-products. “That’s very important,” Dale says.

After touring the farm and meeting the family and team behind Morning Sun Organic Farm, I notice one more hidden layer to what makes a good egg—the Filbrun family. Together at lunch sit four generations, from Dennis and Doris to Dale and Evelyn, Daren and Holly, and their children, joined in business as well by good friends Shane, Ellen, and Myron. Evelyn’s contagious laugh lights up any room and the kids contentedly play all the while while we enjoy conversation. As Dale says of the chickens, “birds of a feather flock together,” and so does this close-knit family.

Bundt, Bundt Baby

The beauty of the bundt cake goes beyond its sleek curves. This is a cake, after all, that has to stand alone. Although it may be finished with a chocolate coating or shower of powdered sugar, depending on the flavor, the rich, moist cake must be so good that the memory of a thick coating of icing is washed away.

It’s with this challenge in mind, that the masterminds and DLM pastry chefs Amy Brown and Lindsey Lucas, have crafted an exquisite new line of DLM Bundt Cakes. True to the bravo of bundt cakes, we bake these rich, dense, moist cakes in aluminum pans.

Not only are they a sight to behold, but each unlocks a whole new flavor profile. Approximately 6-inches and one pound each, mainstay flavors will be Hummingbird and Cinnamon Walnut.

We’ll also feature a third seasonal flavor as well (like this month’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake). The size makes them perfect for a hostess gift, small get-together, or an addition to your brunch or party spread.

Cinnamon Walnut Bundt Cake

Rich coffee cake layered with brown sugar and walnut streusel.

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

This delicious cake is filled with bananas, pecans, and pineapple then dusted with donut sugar!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake

Chocolate bundt cake with peanut butter chips encased in a peanut butter chocolate shell.

Meet the Coffee Roasters Who Will Be at Our Coffee Crawl

As we gear up for our Coffee Crawl, happening January 18 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (coffee roasters will be on site at DLM WSQ only; tastings will be at all locations), we invite you to meet some of our participating coffee crawl friends!

ERIE ISLAND COMPANY

“Founded by a crew of four coffee enthusiasts (a TV producer, a photographer, a ferry boat captain, and, thank goodness, a Starbuck’s manager) … with the opening of their first shop on Kelleys Island.”

CRIMSON CUP COFFEE

“Roasting coffee is both art and science, and our master roasters use decades of experience and enhanced technology to identify the perfect roasting curve for each coffee.”

ZINGERMAN’S COFFEE COMPANY

“Minerals in the soil influence the body and acidity of coffee; higher altitude makes for a sweeter, higher-quality coffee (on account of lower temperatures, rather than the elevation itself).”

SILVER BRIDGE COFFEE

“Our flavored coffees are free of solvents and chemicals often used to flavor coffee. They are gluten free, vegan friendly, and Kosher certified.”

REZA’S ROAST

“I worked at the student-run coffee shop on UD’s campus when I was a business student and fell in love with coffee. Reza is my middle son’s middle name and when I started this business, I had 3 little boys under five who I would drag along to the roastery with me while I roasted and bagged coffee. They had their own little play room there. The boys have traveled all over the world with me to visit coffee farms we buy from. … I am proud to provide Dayton with high quality, ethically sourced coffee that I roast fresh each week.”

BOSTON STOKER COFFEE CO.

“Harnessing coffee at its peak flavor starts with finding the best quality beans through direct sourcing and supporting the farmers who grow them. Better care for the farmers means better conditions for the crops, means better coffee for you. We roast more than 150,000 lbs of coffee annually in small batches ranging from 25 to 150 lbs. All orders are roasted fresh daily and cupped by our quality control team. Each roast is designed to capture each varietal of coffee at its peak flavor. From start to finish, a better bean.”

EQUAL EXCHANGE FAIRLY TRADED COFFEE

“We were founded with an unusual mission—to create a new model of bringing the best coffee from farmers to consumers in a manner that’s direct, fair, and sustainable to all involved: the environment, the farmers, our employees, and customers.”

TWISTED RIVER COFFEE ROASTER

“Roasting coffee in small batches gives us more control in the roast profile of the beans. More control means that we are able to pull out the natural flavors of each coffee.”

ROOTED GROUNDS COFFEE

“Over the years we’ve supported amazing causes, such as The Marvin Lewis Community Fund, The Flying Pig Charities, Bogg Ministries, UC Foundation, Kettering Foundation, Feed the Children and The Second & Seven Foundation. Giving back is at the very core of who we are. When you purchase Rooted Grounds Coffee, you are helping us help others.”