It’s been weighing on me for some time. Where do my eggs come from? There is a limited selection in the grocery store, but I always buy the best I can. Cage free, organic, free range. But those terms can be deceiving as they aren’t regulated and can mean different things. The only true way to guarantee a happy chicken and happy egg is to get them right from the farm.
I wanted to really see the difference between farm fresh and conventional eggs. So I headed to a farm. Well, a farmer’s market. Austin is rich in farmer’s markets, by the way.
I stood in line to buy a dozen eggs from Flint Rock Hill Farm. Oh no, the lady in front of me is buying four dozen eggs because her sons eat a lot! What?! There aren’t going to be any left for me. Whew. Okay. They have plenty. This farm must have lots of chickens.
They show me the eggs and they look lovely.
They are $4.00 for the dozen, and I am fine with that. The cage free eggs I buy from the grocery store are about $3.65. They come in a recycled egg carton. The label reads: One dozen ungraded eggs. Fertile eggs from free roaming hens. No use of feed additives, antibiotics or medications. Hens roam the farm for grass and bugs.
When hens eat grass and bugs in addition to feed, the quality and nutrition of the eggs skyrocket. Plus, the chicken is happier with more variety and is getting plenty of exercise. This is a win-win.
I also bought some conventional eggs so that I could compare.
The conventional egg is white, rounder and larger. The farm egg is light brown and was a little harder to crack. Once cracked, the conventional egg was no longer larger. Yolks and whites were the same size, which raises the question, why was the white shell so much larger? Was there just extra air in there? Let this be a lesson to those who buy jumbo eggs.
The yolk of the farm egg (on the right) was much more vibrant and orange. The white was clear, where the conventional egg white was a little milky.
Side by side in the pan, the farm egg (right) cooked better. Notice how the yolk stays bright and clear, while the conventional egg yolk becomes muddled with the white.
There was a difference in taste as well. The farm egg tasted richer and more substantial. I haven’t tasted an egg this good since I was in Paris, and I suspect that Parisian egg was farm fresh as well. The contrast of the yolk and white on the plate stayed sharp and vivid, while the conventional egg just tasted…conventional.
So, I’m officially making the switch and not looking back. I’ll be in line at the farmer’s market every week.