The Benefits of Eating Farm Fresh Eggs
If you are in the grocery store shopping for eggs, odds are you are going to come across a bunch of different labels. Cage free, all-natural, and Farm Fresh eggs are just a few names that these eggs are going to have. However, while they all say that they are better for you, what are the actual benefits. More importantly, what makes these eggs so special?
What Are Farm Fresh Eggs?
When people see the term farm fresh eggs, odds are they will think that these are organic eggs, taken from a local farm. However, the term doesn't actually mean anything, in an organic sense. When used correctly, it does imply that these eggs are taken from local, organic farms, and that very well might be true. However, there are no regulations around the classification of farm fresh eggs. But for the sake of this article, we will be using the term in the way it was originally intended for, to differentiate regular eggs from locally sourced, organic ones.
Farm fresh eggs, when buying from a local market and such, means that the eggs come from a local chicken farm. Now in terms of the other labels like cage free, no hormone, and the like, the situation is pretty much the same as with the term farm fresh. It is illegal to give chicken hormones, so no hormone is null and void. Cage free means exactly what it states, but there is much more to it. Cage free simply means that the hens are not kept in cages. What it does not mean is that they are free to walk around wherever they want. Odds are, they are still raised in a factory farm but not in a cage. Standards for cage free are only that the hen gets 1 square foot space to roam. There are many other terms that are used for marketing purposes but there are little regulations around them. The only way you know for sure is if you buy from a local farm or you buy certified organic eggs.
Difference Between Farm Fresh Eggs and Store Bought Eggs
When comparing farm fresh eggs to those that are store bought, there are many differences between them. You can probably tell the difference just by looking at the egg itself. Store bought eggs will typically just be white, while farm fresh eggs can be anywhere from white to even a shade of green.
The differences can be incredible as well. Farm fresh eggs tend to be much more flavorful than store bought because of the quality of life the hen has. A hen that is stressed and kept in a rather small area along side hundreds of other hens is not going to produce very flavorful eggs. Whereas a hen that is free to roam around the farm, eat fresh grass and other food, and just live a stress free life will give you eggs that are not only more flavorful, but look better too. Brighter, richer, more vibrant yolks, and firm, clear whites. Color and consistency of the yolk and egg are largely due to the chicken's feed.
Speaking about the quality of farm fresh eggs, because the hens are allowed to roam freely and eat fresh grass and better feed, the eggs reflect that diet. After all, you are what you eat. In terms of farm fresh eggs, they tend to have lower levels of cholesterol, less saturated fat, increased vitamins A, E, and D, more omega-3 fatty acids, and more beta carotene. Not to mention that store bought eggs from chickens kept in cages have a higher risk of containing salmonella. Salmonella occurs in chicken eggs laid by an infected hen. Scientists agree that the living conditions of caged hens greatly increases their risk of contracting the illness.
Benefits of Farm Fresh Eggs
Farm fresh eggs, organic, locally sourced, cage free, whatever you want to call them. There are so many great benefits to buying these type of eggs over the regular store bought ones. It all starts with what they eat. Like I stated before, the quality of the chicken egg is directly related to what they eat. If they eat low quality food without many nutrients, the eggs are going to reflect that. One benefit of farm fresh eggs from a local chicken farm is that their chickens are going to be able to get high quality feed and are able to eat fresh grass, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids. The eggs will reflect that and be better taste, better nutritional value, and better overall quality.
Another great thing about farm fresh eggs is that they require less processing before the end up in your home. These eggs can actually be taken straight from the hen house and to your home. However, many local eggs you buy in a market have been washed. But if you buy directly from the farm, odds are they have not and they still have a protective layer called the bloom, which protects the egg from any outside bacteria. This also allows them to be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months. I would love to see store bought eggs try that.
The food you make from farm fresh eggs is so delicious. Not saying that store bought eggs are not yummy. But the taste of local organic eggs is just better. Not to mention that they cook so much better and easier. You probably not get that air bubble effect of the egg whites that you may get with store bought. The yolk, again, will look better. More yellow or even orange. And that look comes with an incredible taste as well.
Oh, and you'll also be helping your local farm stay in business. Farm fresh eggs can often times be the cheaper option because these local farms are trying to stay ahead of the competition. Plus it helps you develop a great relationship with the farmers and local people as well. And who doesn't love mixing it up with the locals?
Where Can You Buy Farm Fresh Eggs?
From a farm...duh! But in all seriousness, there are many places where you can buy farm fresh, local chicken eggs. Of course, the best place it to just go to your local chicken farm and buy some eggs. Most farms sell their eggs right out of their house. If you live in a region where Amish are a thing, they often times sell their food and eggs from their houses as well. Other great and trustworthy places are road side shops. These are usually run by locals or Amish looking to sell their fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. At nearly all of these places you can find fresh, organic eggs as well. If you aren't close to any of those places, but you live in a city, hit up your local farmer's market! This is a great place to buy great quality foods, however the price may be a bit higher than local shops. But the food is still great and the quality is unmatched.
If you are unsure about which farms around you sell farm fresh eggs, you can do a quick Google search and find out who you can go to. Or just drive around your farm area. You will probably pass tons of signs advertising what they are selling. It is a lot easier than you may think.
Farm fresh eggs are a great choice, as long as you are buying them locally. I advise not buying them from a big grocery store, as they are probably not the real thing, unfortunately. But if you want great tasting, looking, and nutritious eggs, hit up your local farms and shops! For any other information on how to stay green and healthy, check out the rest of Green and Growing.