Friday, October 30, 2009

Grocery Store Eggs vs. Locally produced Eggs

I read The Omnivore's Dilemma last year for book club. It was a great book and thought-provoking.  I think it is important to think about where we get our food, and the impact that our food has on the environment.

Our local farmer's market sells eggs.  Typically, the eggs sell out before we get there (10:30 in the morning or so). 

One of the assertions in the book was that the quality of the eggs raised at a local farm might be different.  They would have a darker yellow yolk and taste differently. There was a particular farm that Pollan visited that raised/sold these types of eggs.

I haven't tried a taste test yet between the two versions: the eggs I bought in the grocery store and the eggs I bought at the farmer's market. 

For me, I perceive that the eggs from the farmer's market (with their brown eggshells) taste better. When I use the eggs in food that I prepare, I feel it tastes better.  But is that my perception?  Would I be able to tell the difference if I didn't know which egg was which?

I don't have a better photo than this one.  The egg on the left is from the locally owned free range farm. The egg on the right was bought from the grocery store - presumably some form of caged chicken egg producing operation.  The color of the yolk (again, it's not a great photo) is almost identical.  Also, the yolk on the right seems to be a bit larger (I didn't actually measure the diameter).

I may try the blind taste test, I might not.  I was just interested in trying this experiment.  After reading Pollan's book, I was assuming that the difference would be obvious in almost all eggs.  It's more nuanced than that.

I will still buy eggs from the farmer's market - I am still conscious of the food I eat and prepare and where it comes from.  This post isn't meant to change that. I

t does reinforce my need to continue to investigate and be skeptical of what I read.  To research for myself - from all different types of sources.  I don't think anyone in the local food movement has suggested otherwise.  I encourage my readers to research these types of things for themselves as well. I believe blindly accepting any point of view, however logical or valid the point of view may be - is not always the best way to go. 


Freckle Face Girl said...

Perhaps the eggs at your local farmer's market come from a farm that also sells to stores. One of my grandmothers used to buy eggs from a farmer's market and the other one raised chickens. I didn't notice any difference in taste, but I was a kid. I do remember a few things though. Some times the eggs had blood spots in them and sometimes they were fertilized & a developing baby chicken came out. YUCK! I am sure that farmer's markets have come a long way though. They probably have the lamps to check them before selling them. :)

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG - it's possible.

The eggs have always been typical eggs - no bloodspots or accidental fertilization (but it's only been a few years...) -

I get the feeling they wouldn't get as many return customers if they didn't use the lamp first....

northnode said...

What I thought was so interesting in Pollan's discussion of eggs was that there is so much variety. He mentioned, for instance, that there are old school recipes that even call for specifically spring eggs or winter eggs because the chickens eat different things at different times of year, and it makes a difference in the egg. That's logical, of course, but it had never occurred to me. Fascinating!