How do you like your eggs? Scrambled, fried, or over easy, I prefer mine from well-treated hens who feast on bugs and greens. I want eggs with perky yolks and thick, luscious whites. My compost heap is full of heavy shells that are calcium-dense. With an impressive nutritional profile, eggs from farm-raised chickens are the darlings of the farmers market right now, and have little in common with the supermarket variety.
For the longest time I felt good about my supermarket purchases, but then I began to read. Beware the misleading labels: “cage-free,” “free-range,” even “organic” on those bins of Styrofoam cartons adorned with smiling, intact hens. You as a buyer should not be fooled as I was. The manufacturing of commercial eggs shares the dark underbelly of the poultry business with industrially processed chicken.
How did something as simple as an egg get so incredibly complicated? It is a familiar story — consumers get addicted to large quantities of artificially cheap food that is subsidized and produced in a very unsustainable way. Then labeling is employed to create an illusion, and there is very little regulation of that terminology by the U.S. government. Yes,those “certified organic” eggs may come fromde-beaked chickens, and their organic vegetarian feed can be withheld to promote molting. And that’s the hard-boiled truth…
Let’s get to the good news. Remember eating raw eggs as a kid? With farm fresh eggs the threat of salmonella is not an issue. Hello real Caesar salad, aioli and raw cookie dough. And Rocky Balboa can tout his iconic post-workout beverages again.
Locally raised eggs are not hard to find. They are popping out everywhere – farmers markets, health food stores, and in many backyards across the nation. Backyard chickens are hip and easy to care for as long as your neighbors don’t mind. And there is no more waiting for Easter to have an excuse to hunt for eggs.
One last thing- if you are living in the dark ages of nutrition, you may still believe that egg yolks are bad for your heart health. In moderation whole eggs are nutritional rock stars. The lecithin, choline, and inositol together make them worth the daily effort that chickens make to provide you breakfast.
Fresh eggs are indeed all they’re cracked up to be.