PHOTO: Sunshine Mesa Farm
Sunshine Mesa Farm in Colorado’s North Fork Valley is fast gaining a reputation for its fantastic eye-catching rainbow eggs. Forget about simply producing white and brown eggs—this farm specializes in a color palette that includes shining golden eggs, mint chocolate chip eggs and verdant green eggs.
Taking a moment from curating the farm’s rainbow egg boxes, founder Michelle Livingston told me about how she produces such a vivid range of colors, reimagining retro video game characters through egg art, and why backyard chickens are such happy creatures.
Sunshine Mesa’s Shining Moment
Michelle had the idea to start Sunshine Mesa Farm four years ago on Memorial Day weekend. “We’d had some backyard chickens for about a year at that point,” she recalls. “I’d come to discover that they were way more intelligent than people imagine, and there’s a lot going on with those birds.” As a counter to the “absolute horrors” of big agricultural chicken farming, Michelle started an environmentally sustainable and farm where chickens are humanely raised.
Producing Rainbow Eggs
At the moment, Sunshine Mesa Farm produces 30 dozen boxes of rainbow eggs a week. “We have to make sure we have the right balance of chicken breeds to get the colored eggs,” says Michelle. She adds that living close to poultry geneticist Dr. Tom Whiting allowed them to start out with “a really good mix of chicken breeds that came directly from his hatcheries,” including some Whiting True Blues.
Laying Golden Eggs
“I think Olive Eggers are absolutely gorgeous,” says Michelle, talking about the chicken breed that’s a cross between a Maran and an Ameraucana. “We have a lot of green layers but only one Olive Egger, and they lay these eggs that look like golden eggs when you take pictures of them.” She adds that the farm’s 20 Black Copper Maran chickens are responsible for producing “those deep chocolate brown eggs that are almost like a brick red—they’re incredible.”
Introducing Egg Art!
While sorting and washing eggs for orders and delivery, Michelle had the idea to create egg art. Using egg pallets as a canvas, Michelle depicts hearts, rainbows and peace signs out of rainbow eggs. “You get your creative juices flowing when you have these gorgeous colored things to work with, and I just started to have fun with it,” she says. “You can hardly resist it ’cause they’re beautiful.”
Super Mario Egg Bros.
Michelle’s egg art also includes a series of retro video game re-creations. She started with an iconic character from Space Invaders, before upping the stakes to portray Luigi from the Super Mario Bros. franchise out of eggs. “They really do look like pixels when they’re in those pallets,” she says. “I was a game nerd of the ’80s and early ’90s.”
Happiness Is a Backyard Chicken
If you’re considering adding some backyard chickens to your homestead, Michelle says go for it: “Backyard chickens are by far the happiest chickens. The more people who keep them, the better off the animals are. You’re doing a really good service to the animal, a really good service to the environment, and you’re going to enjoy them—chickens are surprisingly relaxing to watch and hang out with.”
Keep up to date with Sunshine Mesa Farm’s rainbow eggs and egg art on Instagram.