I’ve always considered eggs to be a healthy food, never buying in to the whole anti-cholesterol argument against them. The more I learned about hormones and antibiotics in industrial animal processing, the more consistently I bought organic eggs. But then in the last few months I’ve been reading all sorts of articles and blogposts about the benefits of pastured eggs versus standard eggs or even organic “cage-free” eggs.
Unfortunately, the only pastured eggs I had seen around were at the farmer’s markets, and they were $5-$6 a dozen. We eat a lot of eggs (1-2 dozen a week) and when we can get local hormone-free eggs for $2 a dozen (sometimes cheaper if we get some that are almost past their sell date), spending $10 a week on eggs didn’t seem quite feasible. Then my brilliant husband got on craigslist and we started looking around to see if there were any small farms or local families with chickens running around that wanted to share some eggs. Well, we found a couple in Snohomish that was offering pastured eggs for only $2.50 a dozen. Excited at the possibility, I drove out to their place tonight.
The drive from Mill Creek to Snohomish is gorgeous. It takes me past a couple of produce stands and a farmer’s market, winding through the valley with the beautiful mountains in the distance. It takes about twenty minutes going the back way through the farms, but the drive is actually a great stress reliever-I found myself smiling as I passed llamas and signs enticing me to check out the antique stores. I used to detest family drives in the country when I was young (they bored me to tears), but now that I am older and have lived the city life for awhile, I enjoy the occasional trip out to the farmlands.
I arrived at my destination and met Brian and Jill, who brought out two dozen gorgeous brown eggs for me. The eggs were extra large and looked good enough to crack open right then and there. I chatted with them a little about their flock, and experienced for myself the truth that their chickens are truly free range: while we were talking one of their chickens came up and said hello, and then proceeded to scratch and peck at the grass and bugs around us. But the real test came when I got home.
I had heard about the color difference of pastured eggs, of the deep orange color that reveals the higher nutrient content in the yolk. But even so I was surprised when I cracked the eggs. Rich pumpkin-hued centers, larger than standard eggs, smiled up at me from the frying pan. I took it simple for my first try: just a couple of eggs in a pan with butter and some salt and pepper. The flavor was wonderful, and two eggs was incredibly filling, even to my super hungry stomach.
Now I understand. Now I know. I have seen and tasted, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. The Snohomish chickens can provide me with 2 dozen eggs a week for $5, so it works for my budget as well as my focus on highly nutritious, super flavorful, quality food for myself and my husband.
But don’t take my word for it. Get on craigslist or Eat Wild and go find yourself some good eggs. You’ll see the difference.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop