Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When to buy local: Store eggs vs. Farm eggs

So a few days ago, I bought some eggs from my coworker. Her Aunt has a farm in Sacred Heart, Minnesota, and I have been dying for some farm fresh eggs! Most people I know have never even tasted REAL farm fresh eggs. Their definition of farm fresh eggs mean buying "organic" "local" "cage free" eggs from the grocery store for $4.99 a dozen. Not only are they overpaying for the value, but most likely, the eggs aren't even FRESH! Let's get some real facts:

Most people now a days say Eggs are bad for you! They are high in Cholesterol! They are high in fat! False. Eggs are incredibly healthy for you. Did you know that the protein found in eggs is the best protein found in any food? They also have other important vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, Beta Carotene, and Omega 3.

Ramblings of a Northern Belle
via CraftyFarmGirl.net

So why should you pay extra for farm fresh eggs, then? For starters, on a study done by Mother Earth News**, after testing the nutritional levels of eggs from 14 different flocks around the country, a lab in Portland, OR tested the results and compared the findings with official USDA nutrition data for commercial eggs. This is what they found:

SURPRISE SURPRISE! Eggs from a free range farm may in fact be healthier than conventional commercial eggs.

  • 1/3 less Cholesterol 
  • 1/4 less Saturated fat
  • 2/3 more Vitamin A
  • 2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for you!)
  • 3 times more Vitamin E
  • 7 times more Beta Carotene

Now for the nitty gritty: Did you know that commercial eggs are normally more than 30 days old by the time they get to the grocery store?? And then you have to think about the fridge life for the eggs too, which is like 3 weeks. Now, eggs don't get old fast, but still. That's pretty nasty if you think about it. That makes me want to change my milk purchases too... But that's a post for another time! Raw milk is a WHOLE different situation!

From Mother Earth News:

In the summer of 2010 over 550 million eggs were recalled due to salmonella. 550 million. How can you produce and ship out over 550 million eggs before you realize they are tainted? Because with the practice of industrial farming days can pass before the farmer even realizes a hen is even dead in its cage. Because an industrial farmer cannot evaluate the health conditions of 100,000 hens each and every day. Because the level of fecal dust within the 'warehouse' is so high the farmer wears a mask when he enters and if a case of salmonella does arise its spread is rampant. Rodents are often a main suspect in the lineup when a salmonella outbreak surfaces, with such a large farm it is nearly impossible to keep rodent feces out of the hens feed and cages.
The outside of a commercial egg is sanitized to remove any dirt or fecal matter that may be present. This generally removes any salmonella on the shell of the egg. However, salmonella bacteria can be inside the egg if the chicken is infected. It is always important to fully cook eggs to kill any of this bacteria and wash your hands after handling any eggs, commercial or free range. 

via Google

Now, in my humble opinion, I'd rather have 1 chicken out of 10 die because of Salmonella and catch it quickly, than 10 out of 10,000. Who's going to notice that?? 

Some common objections to buying farm fresh eggs, and some differences you will find:

The yolk is orange, not yellow.
Orange yolk is a sign of a healthy pasture fed hen. Hens that are fed a grass and insect diet, and are allowed to roam produce healthier eggs. But! Feed additives can also be added to change the color of a caged hens eggs; don't be fooled by eggs in the supermarket that are orange but are not labeled as pasture raised or certified free range.

See how much more Orange the fresh farm egg is?
The eggs are smaller.
not only are they going to be smaller (that's what happens when you omit growth hormones) but the shell will be harder (healthier as well)
Jumbo egg (white) VS Farm Fresh Egg! 

White eggs are bleached.
I actually almost laughed when I heard someone say this. No, commercial eggs aren't bleached. The egg's colour is decided based on the breed of the chicken.

Farm eggs are more expensive.
Just remember you are getting what you pay for. Don't be fooled by the grocery store's over priced eggs. Find someone you know who has a farm. Chances are they are looking to get rid of their eggs!
(Pictures of prices)

What to look for in the Grocery store:

Pasture Raised
Certified Free Range

Anything else you buy will just be a marketing ploy. Don't be fooled. 

for more reading on the farm fresh eggs:

**study found via:http://simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com/2012/02/common-misconceptions-about-farm-fresh.html

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