This post reveals everything you’ve ever wondered about farm fresh eggs! Everything.
We’ll go over sourcing, freshness, storage, and recipes. I’ve also thrown in details about size, egg color, and information on why their feed matters.
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Sourcing Farm Fresh Eggs
The fresher the egg, the better the flavor and nutritional content. Farm fresh eggs are tastier, healthier, and safer. Here are the 3 best ways to source them for your meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Keeping Pet Chickens
The very best way to source farm fresh eggs is to have a couple of chickens yourself!
As pet chickens become the norm in households urban, suburban and rural, keeping them becomes a cinch!
My favorite resource for pet chicken selection and care is My Pet Chicken. The website is encyclopedic, their selection of day-old baby chicks astounding, and their customer service over the top excellent!
The best online resource for the chicken life is Fresh Eggs Daily, an in-depth resource on all things chicken and egg.
We started our flock with 6 Welsummer chicks 10 years ago. We loved their traditional look and their speckled brown eggs. Check out the bantam Welsummer breed in the video below!
At the height of our chicken adventure, we had 200. Now, as life shifts into a new chapter, we’re looking to have 6 Polish hens and a rooster in the spring of 2020. It is very fun shifting the farm’s purpose to supporting Bob and me after so many years of growing for others!
You can have as few as 2 chickens in your backyard flock.
All you need is a little coop or chicken tractor. You’ll get 1-2 eggs/day from them except for when they are molting in the fall. They make great pets and I highly recommend considering chickens, especially if you love farm fresh eggs!
The Local Farmers Market
The next best way to source your farm fresh eggs is the local farmers market.
Egg vendors at the farmers market in my area sell out every week. This means the eggs we purchase are very fresh.
Knowing your farmer means knowing how the chickens are cared for and fed (see below). Keeping your egg dollar local builds the local foodshed and economy. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Ask your local egg farmer questions. They love giving advice and information about their products. We should know, we’ve sold eggs for a decade! We always love our egg-selling neighbors at local markets.
Chicken people are the best!
If you live in a rural area, you may have a neighbor who sells their fresh eggs as a side gig. If so, you definitely want to get on their list!
Skip the Conventional Eggs | Source Cage Free and Humane Certified
By law, a conventional supermarket egg can be up to 2 months old. The Farmers Almanac explains how you can verify the age of those commercial eggs:
On each egg carton, there’s a number printed, from 1 to 365. That number represents the day of the year the carton was filled: 1 being January 1st and 365 being December 31st. Using the code, you can at least tell when the eggs were put in the carton. ~ The Farmers Almanac
Here’s a sampling from our local supermarket:
This photo of 2 dozen conventional eggs was taken at my local supermarket on November 12, 2019. I’m glad to say, the eggs are relatively fresh! Here’s how I know:
- In the top dozen, the ‘312’ refers to the 312th day of 2019. That’s November 8.
- In the bottom dozen, 302 references October 29.
Perhaps the recent surge in demand for farm fresh eggs has conventional producers conscious of how the age of their product impacts consumer perception of quality. If so, yay for change!
If you need to source your eggs from the local supermarket, you are in luck! Farm fresh eggs have never been easier to find in large supermarkets! When making your selection, be sure to look for designations like certified organic, cage-free, and certified humanely raised. Click the image below to learn more about the certification.
Chickens, for both egg production and meat, are treated cruelly at large, commercial facilities. You don’t want to be a part of animal cruelty, and you do want the best tasting and nutritious eggs available. Shop smart!
Storing Farm Fresh Eggs
This is really simple, but hard for most US households to understand.
If the eggs you purchase have been refrigerated, then keep them refrigerated. The reason for this is simple. As the egg warms, condensation will collect on the shell. This moisture becomes a growth media for bacteria. Once refrigerated, always refrigerated to keep condensation and bacterial growth on the shell in check.
If the eggs you purchased have never been washed or refrigerated, they can be kept on the kitchen counter.
You see, as the hen lays the egg, she leaves an antimicrobial layer over the shell. This layer protects the egg so well that it does not need refrigeration. In fact, in Europe, it is illegal to wash or refrigerate eggs as a safety precaution. Europeans keep their eggs on the counter, and you can keep your farm fresh eggs on the counter, too.
Testing for Freshness
Now that we have the mystery of egg storage solved, let’s explore ways to test for freshness.
The Floating Method
This method is good for households purchasing eggs at the supermarket to test the freshness of the product.
It is also a great tool for testing the freshness of eggs in your own flock. You see, chickens can hide their eggs. Sometimes we find a hidden clutch, other times they roll them back into an uncollected clutch of eggs.
If you are suspicious of the freshness of your eggs, simply float them in water.
Cracked Egg Method
If you watch the video above to the end, you’ll see that you can also tell the freshness of your eggs once they are cracked.
A very fresh egg will have a gorgeous, round yolk that is firm. It will be surrounded by a thick circle of egg white, and a thin area of more watery egg whites.
A modestly fresh egg will have a more lackluster yolk, and more watery whites, where the line between the thick white and thin is almost nonexistent.
A stale, or old egg will have a flat yolk sitting in a very watery white.
This egg was purchased at our local farmers market 3 days ago. You can see the firm, plump yolk and the thick white with a small rim of watery white. This is a typical farm fresh egg. Using them will make all the differences in your favorite recipes and egg-centered meals.
Sizes of Farm Fresh Eggs
Egg size doesn’t mean much of you are simply scrambling them up for breakfast. But, it means everything when they are the main ingredient in a recipe, especially baking!
Here’s the official size chart for the United States:
It’s important to use the size egg called for in recipes. Changes in egg size create changes in total volume of egg added to the recipe. This will affect the texture and rise of your final product.
All the Colors
With the rise of pet chickens and heritage breed chickens at local small farms, we’ve seen a return of the various egg colors natural to chickens.
No more standard white eggs from the supermarket!
These days we have the full spectrum of egg colors from greens and blues to browns. Some of my brown eggs even appear to be pink!
The color of the shell of a chicken egg is due to genetics and not what the chicken eats.
Here’s a quick reference for breeds and egg color.
What the Chicken Eats Matters
Chickens are ravenous creatures who spend their days scratching and pecking, continually on the lookout for food. they are omnivores who love their feed as much as a good worm of bug captured while free-ranging.
The more well-rounded and wholesome their diet, the better their eggs. You can actually see the change in a chicken’s diet when the seasons turn from winter to spring. As the chickens have access to the outdoors, and more fresh greens and bugs, the color of the yolk will change from a bright yellow to a deep orange.
Let’s see what our friends down under have to say about this topic…
Farm Fresh Eggs 4 Ways
When you have backyard chickens there’s no shortage of farm fresh eggs! This abundance makes you an expert at egg-based meals pretty quickly!
Here are 4 recipes to get you started!
You will need one dozen local eggs, fresh water, and an ice bath. If you can, buy a dozen fresh, local eggs and set them in the fridge for a week before following this method. Fresh eggs have a strong membrane under the shell that makes them hard to peel. This little bit of preparation will remedy that problem.
Place your eggs in a stainless steel or enamel pot, cover them with cold water, place on the cooktop and bring to a rapid boil. This allows the eggs to rise to the same temperature as the water, at the same time. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let steam for 9 minutes for a hard yolk. Remove the eggs from the pot and place them directly into an ice bath. Let rest for another 10 minutes. Peel and enjoy!
I’ll leave you with Gorddan Ramsey and not your mom’s scrambled eggs…
Fried eggs are all about the yolk!
I only cook in cast iron, so here’s my cast-iron method for sunny side up eggs…
Place your cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add a pat of butter or your preferred healthy fat.
Break your farm fresh egg into the pan and let cook for one minute in the hot pan.
Place a lid on the pan and let the eggs cook for 4 minutes for a soft yolk. If you prefer, 5 minutes will give you a medium yolk, and 6 minutes will give you a hard yolk.
As an added touch for flavor, add a small sprinkling of thyme into the egg whites after cracking the egg into the pan.
Plate up the egg and add salt and pepper to taste. I love mine over a fresh salad, but the traditional toast is always a tasty way to get the best flavor from the yolk in your fried farm fresh egg!
Here are some tasty fried eggs served with foraged nettle and violets.
Poached eggs are my favorite these days! I simply love being able to taste the egg without the flavoring fat. Poached eggs are also perfect for sauces like Hollandaise, another favorite egg recipe here at the farm!
Here are the easy steps to a perfect, soft yolk poached egg.
- Fill a heavy-bottomed pan with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Adjust heat so the boil is at a medium rolling bubble.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the water.
- Crack your egg into a dish, then pour the raw egg into the boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to gently coax the egg into a small round.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let rest for 5 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to remove the egg and dish it up!
- Alternatively, you can keep the water boiling and cook for 3 minutes for a soft yolked poached egg.
For Those Who Love Cooking with Fresh and Local Ingredients
Farm fresh eggs are the gateway drug to seasonal eating. Once you grow to tolerate nothing but the freshest eggs, you’ll quickly find yourself equally discerning with your selection of salad greens, cooking greens, and protein sources.
Here at the farm, we’ve perfected an affordable way to grow and preserve foods for easy seasonal eating every month of the year!
We’ve got a few wellness practices for your seasonal life at this link!
It’s all part of the Seasonal Living Framework. I’ve created a workbook and email sequence to help you think through the basics as you create your seasonal life. Click here or the image below to check it out!
There’s a party happening and we’re waiting for you to arrive!
We also gather over email once a week to focus on one specific garden, kitchen, or wellness topic in-depth, with lots of step-by-step how-to’s. The best way to jump into the email conversation is with the Seasonal Living Workbook, you can download it here and explore the seasonal living framework with an email course!
So much love and free information in one place, but it’s not the same without YOU!