Once we had moved to our farm my very first purchase was chicks. I had this very romanticized idea of animal husbandry at the time. We enjoyed watching the chicks grow at an astounding rate and within months we began to harvest our very own eggs. What I was unaware of before having chickens was that I had been missing out for years on what eggs were actually supposed to taste like.
Our hens were free ranging hens that were quite entertaining to watch. What I learned, among many other things, is that when chickens are kept in this manner, the eggs they produce are far superior to anything offered at the grocery store. A simple test was to crack one of our homegrown eggs in a frying pan along side a commercially produced egg purchased at a grocery. The eggs from our hens had a very deep, almost orange yolk. The whites were larger and heartier and they had so much more flavor then the bland counterpart. I hate that I never took a picture of this drastic difference but a quick google search showed that I am not the only one who has noticed such a profound difference. Here is a google image
The other interesting thing is that farm fresh eggs contain the following
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol• 1⁄4 less saturated fat• 2⁄3 more vitamin A• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids• 3 times more vitamin E• 7 times more beta carotene
-mother earth news
Oh and as far as freshness goes, by the time you get your store bought eggs home they are usually close to 3 weeks old. Farm fresh ones? They may still be warm!
So you don't have a farm... depending on your location take a peek at your local city codes, many cities will allow families in suburbia to house up to 5 hens (no roosters) for personal consumption.
Not ready for animal husbandry? You can still get farm fresh. The best way is to get in touch with local farmers. A good way to do this if you don't already have a source is Craig's list, Farmer's Markets, or even word of mouth. You can buy your eggs several dozen at a time (we are currently purchasing our eggs from a German Baptist lady as our flock was parted out when we demolished our barn a few months back, we hope to be back up and running with hens this spring). I purchase 4 dozen eggs at a time as they are so fresh I know that I have at least 2-3 months to use them up (though our family uses 4 dozen a week so that is not a problem).
The most amazing thing is that you can likely get very fresh, often free range eggs for less then you would pay at the grocery, and they will be much fresher!
Want to be sure you don't miss a single post in this series? Be sure to subscribe to my email notifications to get emails about new posts...top right corner of the screen, just add your email and you will also be entered to win a natural freebie at the end of this series!