Farm EggsJust what you were expecting from a blog that focuses on travel gear, software, and productivity:  a post about eggs.  Give me a minute or two, please;  I think this is worth your time…

Consider the supermarket egg.  Where does it come from?  Like nearly everything available at retail, it comes from a factory.  Large egg producers.  Thousands and thousands of chickens, in cages, and in some cases, in deplorable conditions.

I’m no raving PETA member, but in researching this post I Googled “egg industry exposed” and “battery cages” and found a number of horrific “undercover” videos exposing the conditions at some egg producers.  I don’t know if this is representative of the industry, but I hope it’s not.

There’s an alternativethe farm fresh egg, or farm egg.  Farm eggs differ significantly from the factory type:  they vary in color and, depending upon the farmer’s chickens’ ages, in size.  They taste better. (More on this in a moment.)

Farm eggs are the product of “free range” chickens which are free to roam the pasture or yard, eating a varied  diet including grass, grains, greens, and an occasional grasshopper or bug.  They aren’t fed antibiotics.  They aren’t kept in cramped cages.  The product of this approach varies dramatically from the factory egg.  Farm eggs have firmer, generally larger yolks that are a deeper hue than factory eggs – almost deep orange in color.  In the image below, a factory egg is at top, a farm egg at the bottom:

Farm egg vs "regular" egg

Although the white of a farm egg doesn’t taste much different than that from conventional factory eggs, the yolks are creamier in texture, with a richer, more nuanced flavor.  Hardly a model of food photography, the image below nevertheless makes it easy to pick out one from the other:

Farm egg yolk vs factory egg yolk

Some argue that farm eggs are contain greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and are lower in cholesterol than factory eggs.   Some studies have been conducted, and there are numerous articles on this subject on the web; here’s a link to one:  Are Free Range Eggs a Healthier Alternative to Eggs?

Health benefits or not, they taste better and certainly seem like a healthier, more ethical alternative to battery cage-produced eggs.

But where do you get them?

First, I’ve noticed that most supermarkets, in addition to regular eggs, offer eggs that are labeled “cage free”, “farm eggs”, “free range” and the like.  I can’t vouch for the authenticity of those claims. If the Super Wal-Mart is selling “farm fresh” eggs, I’m skeptical.   In any event, it’s moot, as I’d suggest a more direct approach:  if there’s a farmers market in your area, go to it and ask around.  One of the vendors will have farm eggs available, or will know someone who does, almost guaranteed.

I asked a couple of vendors at our farmers market, and within minutes was chatting with a woman selling produce who also sells farm eggs; asking around at work, I discovered a coworker who does as well.   Another option would be to check with the cooperative extension at a local university; simply Google “cooperative extension” and the name of your town or city.

A word or two about cost:  Our local mega supermarket sells standard issue factory eggs for $1.12 a dozen.  They also offer eggs labeled “farm fresh” for $1.42 a dozen.  My coworker sells me a dozen farm eggs for $2 a dozen.   For me, it’s a no brainer.  I know the farmer.  I have the eggs within a couple of days of their being laid.  I have no concerns about how the chickens were treated, or their diet. It enables me to exert a bit more control over what I eat.  Oh yeah:  the eggs are delicious.

If you’ve never tried farm eggs, see if you can find a source.  Try them once, and you very well may never opt for “factory” eggs again.

…and if you’ve tried them or otherwise have had experiences with free range eggs (or chickens), please comment.

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6 Comments on Farm fresh eggs – better tasting, healthier alternative to “factory eggs”

  1. Scott says:

    PracticalHacks is about practical, so this isn’t such a departure. Let the church say amen on this one. Locally grown food (as in I-know-the-farmer) that doesn’t travel thousands of miles and the buying of which contributes to the local tax base and the eating of which tastes better… well that is a reasonable definition of good food. What are the chances that your local food producer will work harder to provide a safe and tasty product than, say, a multinational corporation with a legion of lawyers to protect it from liability claims?

    The guy who gets his hands dirty in the soil and the abbatoir and who also takes your money earned it. When his name is on the farm and his family is most of the labor, even better. Tyson was once a family farm. Now Tyson stock trades at $12/share.

    Studies show that most of your mega-mart food travels on average 1500 miles from field to your plate. If you can get better food that’s produced closer to home, well duh.

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  2. Billy says:

    I never knew! I’ve been eating “factory” eggs for all my life. I spent 13 years in Japan and found their store-bought eggs to seem healthier, tastier, and to have thick, dark yolks compared to the thin, runny things we buy here. I don’t know why, but they were.

    Recently, my boss–who lives on a farm–came in with a dozen farm-fresh eggs for each of us in the office. I also found out one other person in the building sells farm fresh eggs from his farm, but his customer list is such that he doesn’t have much room for anyone else. He did sell me one dozen just because one of his other customers wasn’t here that day.

    My life was changed. The first thing I did was go out and find a nearby farm that sells them. I’ll be paying three times what I do at the super market, and traveling farther to get them, but I’ll be smiling the whole time.

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  3. Sharon says:

    I have a neighbor that has chicken and we trade different items like for instance, I let his chicken roam on my 2 acres or maybe it’s corn season. I’ll trade eggs for corn or other produce I have in my garden, or jellies etc. No not everyone can do that but I find it’s soo worth the best eggs ever lol! I rarely buy eggs. Free roam eggs are do worth that little extra money if you have to pay for them!

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    Sharon Reply:

    Chickens* not just one chicken! Lmao

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  4. Nydia Munoz says:

    We live on a farm and raise our own chickens. They feed on our pasture and give us some beautiful tasty eggs. We truly prefer these eggs over factory eggs.. I agree with everything you mentioned. Thanks!

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  5. tina hengen says:

    I just recently started purchasing farm fresh eggs and I am so happy to report that I now eat eggs again, before I only used the store bought ones for baking, but now I eat them almost daily, I feel good feeding them to my mom as well. After everything I had read about the store eggs and how they take them off of the shelves when they get close to expiration, only to be sent back to be soaked in a lye mixture for a year and then repackaged and put back in our stores. Well that did it for me and I no longer purchase store eggs. Also I love the colors of the eggs I get from my local farmer, all of the greens, and browns, an occassional white (off white), it’s like Easter everyday, lol. And yes the taste is so much better.

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