Do you ever wonder who buys the organic brown eggs that cost three times as much as the plain white store-brand eggs? Well, that would be me.
I grew up on what my parents referred to as a "gentleman's farm," with cats, dogs, horses, peacocks and chickens. When the last of the elderly chickens finally died off, we were forced to begin buying eggs at the grocery store. It was then that I discovered that most grocery store eggs taste awful.
On the farm, you feed chickens corn so the yolks will be a rich, dark yellow. Most store eggs have pallid, flavorless yolks. Also, there's something much more aesthetically appealing about an egg with a brown shell. Even more fun are araucana eggs, which have blue or green shells. My aunt raises araucanas and is always willing to send me home with several dozen eggs whenever I visit. Here's hoping she brings some with her when we celebrate her birthday this weekend...
As long as I've been doing my own grocery shopping, I've bought brown eggs. Until recently, our local store offered a couple different brands of supposedly free-range chicken eggs. One brand looked like it was an offshoot of a larger poultry operation; the other was so down-home that cartons often included little slips of paper with notes about how the flock was doing. (I always thought that if I were an investigative reporter, I would do a story on the "cage free" egg industry to see if the chickens are really as well-treated as all that. How do we know? Are there really a bunch of conscientious chicken-whisperers out there, or is it all a big marketing ploy?)
Anyway, we've lately been limited to only one choice of brown egg at my usual store, and there's nothing about them that says "small farm." They come in clear plastic cartons (now that's environmentally friendly!). The insides are pale and flavorless. They've been handled so throughly that each egg has a logo rubber-stamped on its tip. The labeling says they're lower in cholesterol and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than other eggs. Whatever. All I know is that they make an inferior omelet.
Now that the weather is getting nicer, I think it's time I made more of a point of going to farmers' markets for my eggs and veggies. It's an extra stop, but I think it will be well worth it.