#898 Buy Farm Fresh Eggs

6 May

farm fresh eggs sign“Growing up in Croatia, I always wanted perfect, white eggs like on American TV,” a friend told me once. She was eating brown farm eggs. The truth is that the dream of having perfect, white eggs is a lot less tasty and nutritious than those brown farm eggs. And if you have access to a local farm or a neighbor with a chicken coop, the cost of a dozen fresh eggs can rival that of the store brands that use claims like “free range,” “cage free” and “humane” to lure the more conscientious shoppers. At the store, the lowest price for eggs with happy chicken claims stamped on the carton is $3.99 a dozen and goes up from there. Around where I live the price for a local carton of eggs from chickens I can see for myself are happy ranges from $2 to $3.50 a dozen. Not only are the eggs cheaper, but I can be assured they are far fresher than anything that has endured transport and storage at the grocery store.

farm fresh eggs

Farm eggs come in a rainbow of colors.

Studies have shown that eggs from free range chickens are lower in cholesterol, have less saturated fat, have more Omega-3s and more vitamin A and E. Buying farm fresh eggs, almost ensures that the chickens are free range. The beauty of buying directly from the person who raises the chickens is that you can see the chickens for yourself. Usually they’re running around under your feet or pecking away in an enclosure around their coop. Small scale farmers and neighborhood hobbyists aren’t ones for cramming chickens into cages so they can lay away without moving.

Then there’s the taste. After you experience the deep orange yolks and richer taste of farm fresh eggs, the insipid yellow yolks of store eggs, no matter how much you paid for them, are unappealing and disappointing.

Not only are farm eggs more nutritious, flavorful and less expensive, but supporting the local economy means your dollars spent will help your community thrive and aren’t going far away to a faceless entity. If you live in anĀ  area where you have farm stands, there will be someone selling his or her extra eggs as well. Maybe even at the same farm stand.

Here are a few more things that I love about farm fresh eggs:

  • The colors.
    double yolk egg

    Free range eggs are tastier, more nutritious and seem to have double yolks quite often.

    I can appreciate a romantic vision of America where eggs are white and perfect, but I love the colors of farm eggs. They range from all shades of brown to speckled to colorful depending on the type of chicken that laid the egg.

  • The freshness. It’s rare that I buy eggs from someone who’s got a sign out that are more than a day or two old. Most times, they tell me the eggs are fresh from that morning. The biggest challenge is finding someone who isn’t sold out during times of the year when hens lay less.
  • The bits of straw and feathers. Most egg cartons I buy have a stray feather or piece of straw in them. It’s a relaxing reminder that I know where my food came from. Sometimes the eggs have a speck of poop, but they’re usually well scrubbed.
  • Duck eggs. Duck eggs taste pretty much like chicken eggs only they’re enormous and the yolks are a little richer with a little different, but pleasing consistency. Duck eggs pack a lot more nutrition than chicken eggs, but have more cholesterol and calories. A lot of locals who have chickens also have ducks and will give you a duck egg or two on occasion. Or have them available to buy. If I were to raise fowl to provide my own source of eggs, I’d go for ducks over chickens any day. They’re friendlier and cuter.

Next time you’re driving around and see a sign for eggs for sale, stop in. You may have to knock on the door. Or buy them at the farmer’s market. If you’re really adventurous, you can take on backyard chickens or ducks and be selling your own eggs before you know it.

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