Heritage Eggs

The local grocery store now sells eggs from “heritage-breed hens” with orange yolks like you see in foodie magazines. They are $8 a dozen. You need to have an inheritance to afford these heritage eggs.

Am I silly to be stunned by this price?

7 thoughts on “Heritage Eggs

  1. Yes. You can buy backyard-raised eggs with beautiful yolks at our farmers’ market for $4/dozen. “heritage-breed” has no legal meaning, AFAIK, so anyone can say that? Backyard and free-ranging operations get the bright yolks by letting the hens eat bugs and green plants. Commercial ops big enough to sell to grocery stores get that effect by keeping hens in the same commercial houses as everyone else, and adding things like marigold petals to the feed. It’s cheating, IMO.

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  2. Find someone local who raises hens on some land. Any hen eating a natural diet (mostly bugs and only a little grain) produces spectacularly orange (and wonderfully flavorful) yolks. We get ours from the same local farmer we get our grass-fed, unpasteurized milk from and pay $3.50/dozen. They are worth every penny (so’s the milk, which is quite pricey as it isn’t subsidized).

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  3. Tip: when you find eggs from local folks, one way you can tell they’re not feeding beta-carotene (or keeping them locked up in a shed eating only pellet feed like a mini-industrial chicken house) is that the yolk color will vary somewhat from egg to egg: different hens have different preferences, and some are better foragers than others. In an industrial chicken-house, they don’t have any choice. In a backyard run, or a pasture operation, the one that’s a really good bug-hunter won’t have the same eggs as the one that really likes to eat the chickweed, or the top-of-the-pecking-order hen who gets to all the good kitchen scraps first. (Momentarily overcome with nostalgia for my old flock of hens– someday I’ll have chickens again…)

    You can also look at how much the yolk “stands up” from the egg white. It’s an indicator of freshness. In general, the more watery the egg’s insides are, the longer it’s been since the egg was laid. Eggs on the “older” side are better for boiled eggs, because when you boil a really fresh egg, it’s hard to get the shell off. Local eggs tend to be more fresh, and if you do weird things like poach them, you want a really fresh egg.

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  4. Ever since I looked at what happens to the male chicks, and the conditions of even so called “pasture raised” hens, I haven’t had the appetite for eggs at all – I cut them out entirely.

    Like

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