I had to break down and buy a dozen organic store eggs recently. I really do not like to do this as I consistently find them to be incredibly lacking in the quality department. I have two wonderful local farmers that I buy pastured chicken or duck eggs from, but both of these farmers have incredible demand for their product, and I had simply not ordered enough and ran out well before the next delivery. Soooo, I had to break down and buy the really expensive organic store eggs.
The eggs I buy from my local farmers are not organically certified, but who cares? The chickens run free outside on unsprayed conservation at one farm and a horse pasture at the other farm. These lucky chickens and ducks get plenty of bugs pecking around which is the best and most natural food for them.
Chickens that produce the organic store eggs get the “all vegetarian feed” which is code for “lots of hormone disrupting soy isoflavones in your egg yolks“.
The store eggs that proudly display the “USDA Organic” label don’t stack up at all with the quality of these local, pastured eggs. In fact, they are downright laughable in comparison. Let me tell you what happened with these store eggs once I got them home.
First of all, when I started unpacking my shopping in the kitchen, I quickly noticed that two of the organic eggs were already cracked! At $4.29 per dozen which is quite a bit more than I pay for my superior quality pastured eggs, I was obviously not happy that two had already bit the dust. They were not cracked at the store, mind you. I opened the lid of the egg carton and checked them before I put them in my shopping cart.
Good Quality Eggs Have Very Hard Shells
The fact that two of these eggs cracked before I could even get them in the refrigerator is a prime example of how soft an organic egg shell is.
Pastured eggs do not have shells that crack easily. Wild birds eating their native diet produce hard shells too like goose eggs.
Chickens that eat lots of bugs produce eggs with nice, hard shells – indicating lots of calcium and other minerals present in the egg itself. My family likes to joke that the eggs from my local farmers are so hard you can practically play basketball with them on the kitchen tile! Beware of eggs that have soft shells. The nutrition in them is comparably lacking.
My kids love scrambled eggs for dinner on occasion, so I decided I would use some of these organic eggs for supper that night. Once again, when I cracked them into the bowl, I noticed the softness of the shells and then got the double whammy of how light colored the yolks were! It had been awhile since I had bought any eggs from the store, and you know how we all tend to easily forget poor quality when we are spoiled with superior quality for an extended period of time. Of course, I KNOW that organic store eggs have light colored yolks in comparison with the deep yellow, even orange yolks of pastured eggs, but it still did not lessen the shock when I saw it for the first time in many months.
Sighing, I whipped these pale yellow store eggs with some whole milk and scrambled them up.
Strike three for the organic store eggs happened shortly after I served dinner up to the hungry mob. One by one, the kids all commented that these eggs didn’t taste good. “Yeah, Mom, they don’t really have any taste at all,” said my oldest.
Right then and there, I decided not to ever buy the organic store eggs again. If I run out, I will just go without, I thought to myself. Of course, the memory of the poor quality eggs will fade over time. I will probably buy them again sometime in the coming months and go through this whole painful rediscovery one more time! Perhaps this occasional experience is valuable because it gives me a fresh appreciation for what my local farmers offer in terms of quality and value for my food dollar.
If you haven’t ever tried local eggs before, you need to. You will be shocked .. with delight!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist