pending investigation
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Brand Name Handsome Brook
Rating (4)    
Company by Handsome Brook
Location Franklin, NY
Market Area New York State
Web Site http://handsomebrookfarm.com/
HBF
 

Four-egg brands have an excellent rating in terms of our 28 scoring criteria. In addition, brands highlighted in green, such as this one, provide "Enhanced Outdoor Access" to their birds. Their hens live in housing surrounded by a generous amount of outdoor space, which they have access to. We've invited all four-egg brands, including Handsome Brook, to write a bit about their farm and operation.


A number of serious allegations have been made by creditable independent sources challenging the truthfulness and accuracy of some of the marketing statements and labeling used by Handsome Brook. Some of these allegations we have confirmed through our own research, others we are continuing to investigate.
One of Cornucopia's codirectors had a discussion with the two owners of Handsome Brook in May 2016. He asked for some information that would enable us to either confirm the allegations or exonerate them. After some delay it now appears they have been entirely transparent and have cooperated with our investigation.
This situation is unfortunate because Handsome Brook has been one of the highest-rated egg brands.
Since allegations of improprieties surfaced and Cornucopia had begun an investigation, new majority ownership has taken a hands-on management role and is fully cooperating in resolving outstanding questions. Handsome Brook’s new management has committed to a program enabling Cornucopia staff to verify their commitment to fully meet the marketing claims associated with their brand. If they comply they will be going well beyond the minimum requirements for transparency to participate in our rating program.
With the help of their current management we hope to file a final report on this episode (if you are a Handsome Brook customer please look for an update in the space).
NOTE: For an extended period of time, Handsome Brook packaging continued to display a five-egg rating from Cornucopia (observed as recently as May 2016). Their rating was lowered to a four-egg rating (excellent/enhanced outdoor access) in December 2015 upon the release of our updated Scrambled Eggs scorecard. This was due to a stricter definition, by The Cornucopia Institute, of what truly constitutes "pastured" egg production and did not reflect any material changes at Handsome Brook. The company failed, on a number of occasions during the first five months of 2016, to fulfill their commitments to change their packaging after a grace period.
Their new management has renewed a commitment for accuracy and we have experienced no recent problems with the unauthorized use of Cornucopia’s rating. If any shoppers observe Handsome Brook packaging with a five-egg rating, we would ask you to inform us of the date and store, and supply a photograph if possible (a dated receipt would be helpful as well). Hopefully this element in the controversy has been put to bed.
Stay tuned….


HandsomeBrook Farm is a Certified Organic, geothermal farm located in the beautiful New York Catskills. We are committed to sustainable farming and to providing all of our farm animals with a healthy and happy environment. Our Pasture Raised eggs are superior in quality, due to our hens’ ability to forage year-round and the humane environment in which they live. Our Certified Organic blueberries are sold at grocery stores throughout New York. In addition, we operate a Farmstay Bed and Breakfast, an extension of our commitment to educating the public about sustainable farming.


Criteria Points Comments
Ownership Structure 70 family owned business with contracts with other farmers
Average Flock Size 60 5,000 bird flocks
Single or Double Henhouses 100 single
Other Certifications (bonus points) 10
1 of 2 farmers now Certified Humane, other in progress
Organic Certifier 100 NOFA-NY
Commitment to Organics 80 markets both organic and conventional cage-free eggs
Indoor Space per Bird 100 minimum of 2 sq ft/hen 
Indoor Enrichments 100 perches, dust baths, scratching areas, year-round pasture access
Litter Management 80 litter freshened as needed, removed after each flock
Natural Light 80 some natural light via windows
Outdoor Space per Bird 100 between 43-110 sq ft/hen
Popholes/Exit to the Outdoors 80 one door per 251-500 birds
Outdoor Enrichments 100 feed, water, shade
Outdoor Space Exemptions 100 year-round outdoor access
Outdoor Management System 70 fixed housing with rotated pasture managed for at least 75% pasture cover
Manure Handling System 50 some use, some sell
Forced Molting 100 no forced molting
Beak Trimming 70 beak trimming within first 10 days of life
Laying Hen Lifespan 40 72 weeks average
Use of Spent Hens 100 sold live for food, eggs
Death Loss Rate 80 average 5% death loss
Pullets 40 purchases ready-to-lay pullets from outside source
Pullet Access to Outdoors 60 10-16 weeks old
Feed Produced on Farm 50 one farm produces all grain, other farm produces none
US Grown Feed 100 all domestically grown
Soy in Feed Yes soy in feed ration
Synthetic Amino Acids 70 No more than 2 lbs per ton
Disclosure Rate 100 full disclosure
TOTAL (possible score is 2700) 2090
FOUR EGGS (Excellent)